In certain limited circumstances a couple may not wish to divorce but do want to be legally separated. This is possible with judicial separation.
What is the difference between judicial separation and divorce?
- Judicial separation proceedings can be issued at any time, unlike divorce where you have to have been married for one year before starting the proceedings.
- A judicial separation does not bring the marriage to an end, whereas a divorce does
- There is no requirement to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably for a judicial separation; there is for a divorce
- The court cannot make any orders in relation to pensions.
You can ask for a judicial separation on the same grounds that you could file for a divorce e.g. adultery or unreasonable behavior.
Why would someone seek a judicial separation rather than a divorce?
- One partner wishes to separate legally before the first year of marriage so a divorce is not yet available to them
- Religious reasons - some parties may not want to get divorced but they do want to be legally separated from their spouse
- To allow time to make a decision on obtaining a divorce
- To still be able to claim a widow’s pension on death.
What are the legal effects of a judicial separation?
- The parties have no obligation to live together
- If one partner dies without leaving a Will, their spouse will not benefit from their estate
- A court can make financial orders but not pension sharing orders
If you would like to discuss an issue with one of our family law solicitors, please contact us and one of our specialist team will be happy to advise you.