What is Judicial Separation?
In some circumstances a couple may not want to be divorced but so want to be legally separated. This is known as judicial separation.
Why would someone seek a judicial separation as opposed to 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
- To still be able to claim a widow’s pension on death.
- To allow time to make a decision on obtaining a divorce
What is the difference between divorce and judicial separation?
- 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.
- There is no requirement to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down for a judicial separation; there is for a divorce
- A judicial separation does not bring the marriage to an end, whereas a divorce does
- 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 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
- The parties have no obligation to live together
- 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.