Sometimes divorce is not an option when married couples separate. This is often as a result of religious reasons where, culturally, divorce is not accepted.
At Slater Heelis, we are attuned to the complexities of such situations, and experts at obtaining practical solutions which allow our clients to access the wide range of financial orders in the Family Court.
Judicial separation is the term used for the formal court process that is very similar to a divorce, but avoids the religious and cultural connotations to which the latter relates: critically, the marriage itself remains intact.
Judicial Separation or Divorce?
There are a number of key differences between judicial separation and divorce.
Arguably the most significant difference is that pension sharing orders cannot be made within judicial separation proceedings. This is a very serious drawback, given that pensions can often be the most valuable asset in a case.
The other major difference is an obvious one: unlike with a divorce, where the parties are then free to remarry, this is not the case with a judicial separation: as above, the marriage itself will continue.
Other key differences include:
- Before starting proceedings for a divorce, the parties must have been married for at least one year. There is no such time bar in respect of proceedings for a judicial separation.
- Unlike divorce proceedings which involve two ‘decrees’ (an interim order known as ‘decree nisi’ and a final order known as ‘decree absolute’), a judicial separation only has only one: a decree of judicial separation.
- Although a decree of judicial separation does not actually end a marriage, its effect is to relieve the obligation of the person who has applied for the separation to live with his or her spouse.
- There is no requirement to prove the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’ as there is with a divorce.
Divorce Further Down The Line
Notwithstanding a judicial separation, if a couple later decides to divorce, they are able to do so. This has the advantage that pension sharing orders can be obtained in those subsequent divorce proceedings.
Advice from the Family Law Experts
If you are considering a judicial separation and would like to know more, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly and dedicated experts on 0161 969 3131, or contact one of the team members below via email.
members on 0161 969 3131
- Mark Heptinstall Partner & Head of Family
- Phillip Rhodes Partner
- Patricia Robinson Partner
- Charlotte Beck Partner
- Rebecca Lang Associate Solicitor
- Rebecca Muirhead Associate Solicitor
- David Wilkinson Solicitor
- Eluned Roberts Solicitor
- Joanne Taylor Associate Chartered Legal Executive
- Claire Higham Solicitor