What is Judicial Separation?
When a couple want to be legally separated but do not want to be completely divorced this can be done through a process called judicial separation.
What are the main differences between divorce and judicial separation?
- There is no requirement to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down for a judicial separation; there is for a divorce.
- Judicial separation proceedings can be made at any time, unlike divorce where you have to have been married for one year before starting any proceedings.
- The court cannot make any orders in relation to pensions.
- A judicial separation does not bring the marriage to an end, whereas a divorce does
You can ask for a judicial separation on the same grounds that you can file for a divorce e.g. adultery or unreasonable behaviour.
What are the legal effects of a judicial separation?
- If one partner dies without leaving a Will, their spouse will not benefit from their estate
- A court can make financial orders but not any orders relating to pensions e.g. pension sharing order
- The parties have no obligation to live together
Why would someone ask for a judicial separation and not a divorce?
- To still be able to claim a widow’s pension on death.
- To allow time to make a decision on obtaining a divorce
- Religious reasons - some couples may not want to get divorced but they do want to be legally separated from their partner
- One partner desires to separate legally before the first year of marriage so a divorce is not yet available to them
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.