Understanding legal separation and divorce


If you are thinking of legal separation or divorce and would like to know more about the differences between the two or the processes involved then you should consider obtaining the services of a divorce solicitor.

Legal separation and divorce are in fact two different things. Unlike divorce, legal separation, better referred to as ‘judicial separation’, does not put at end to a marriage. In this instance neither partner is free to re-marry or enter into a civil partnership. It is a choice to remain legally married but a couple’s marital obligations cease and the parties are free to live separate lives. It is not a common occurrence but is often used by couples who object to divorce on moral or religious grounds. Couples may formalise their separation by obtaining a court order known as a decree of separation, usually from a divorce county court.

A decree of separation can be granted on any of the same grounds that need to be shown in order to obtain a divorce, such as unreasonable behaviour, desertion or adultery. The difference is that you do not need to prove irretrievable breakdown of marriage. Additionally, you will only need to obtain one decree or separation, whereas in divorce you need to obtain two decrees (a decree nisi and then a decree absolute) for the divorce to be complete. In both legal separation and divorce the court will have the same range of powers to deal with marital property, financial assets and provide orders that deal with child or spousal maintenance.   

If you would like to obtain more advice on legal separation and divorce, then Caven can put you in touch with a local family law / divorce firm free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local family law / divorce specialists please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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