Legal Separation in the UK
A Judicial Separation is similar to divorce in respect of the arrangements for finances and children but the couple remain legally married. A decree of Judicial Separation does not bring a marriage to an end.
Reasons for Judicial Separation
Judicial Separation is an option where people wish to separate their finances and live as if they were divorced but cannot divorce for religious reasons. Judicial Separation may also be appropriate where the couple are retired and a divorce would result in one party losing a potential widowers’/widows’ pension.
A decree of Judicial Separation can also be used where a couple have been married for less than a year, as they are precluded from divorcing until they have been married for 12 months.
The main reason for Judicial Separation is to record the financial arrangements and children issues not to ratify the Separation. However, a decree of Judicial Separation ends the legal duty to cohabit within marriage and means that neither party can be in desertion of the other once a decree of Judicial Separation has been granted.
Procedure for Judicial Separation
The procedure for obtaining a Decree of Judicial Separation is the same as that for obtaining a divorce. However, the proceedings end at the same stage as Decree Nisi because the couple remain legally married. A Decree of Judicial Separation will be pronounced.
As with a divorce, the procedure begins with filing a Petition with court. The grounds are the same as the five facts used to support a Divorce Petition. However, there is no need to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
The court has the same range of powers to determine financial matters in Judicial Separation as it does in Divorce Proceedings apart from pension splitting. A Judicial Separation confirms that the parties are independent financially.
It is still possible to proceed with a Divorce Petition after a decree of Judicial Separation has been pronounced.
Individual Advice to Suit Your Needs
Each relationship breakdown or divorce is individual. We provide tailored advice to suit your situation. We can supply specialist help on all matters relating to a marriage Separation; these include financial payments, property division and custody and access matters relating to children as well as pension needs.