Your Guide To Divorce & Separation

Wedding rings and wooden gavel, divorce law

In the UK, judicial separation is beyond two spouses living apart. Should you seek a divorce or separate; you must know what it entails. A lot of people in the UK talk about legal separation without knowing the precise definition of what they want. Usually, it means they want some formality to the separation so they pursue their own live and live apart from their spouse. There is a remedy that you can get from family courts which is known as a decree of judicial separation. This is not a divorce and the parties remain married but in effect, there is marital separation and all the normal marital obligations come to an end.

A decree of judicial separation can be granted for any of the grounds which would justify a divorce – adultery, unreasonable behaviour etc – but there is no need to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Also, this does not involve two decrees as regards what you get in a divorce – decree absolute and decree nisi. In legal separation, you simply get one decree that pronounces the judicial separation once the court is satisfied that the requirements are met.

A decree of judicial separation has three major effects:

  1. The decree operates like a divorce in terms of its effect on any will – the spouse will no longer take any benefit unless a new will is put together which states that is to be the case.
  2. The spouses are no longer obliged to live together
  3. The court can exercise its powers to divide the matrimonial property just as it would in the case of a divorce

Judicial separation is often put forward by a spouse but it is very rarely the best course of action to agree to. For most individuals, divorce would be a much better choice because judicial separation doe not really allow you to move on. If your spouse proposes judicial separation to you, it would be ideal to seek legal advice before you agree to it. This is because it is not always the best solution based on the dynamics of what makes up a marriage.

Also, for a married couple to simply separate without getting a judicial separation or a divorce is usually not the best thing to do. You can find out more about marital separation from our team of experts and why it is rarely a good idea.

divorce and separation Explained

Whether you and your spouse have decided to divorce because you have simply grown apart or you have experienced the effects of unreasonable behaviour or even infidelity; we know that making this decision is an extremely difficult and challenging one in your life. We will offer all the support you need. We also understand that this can be a confusing season for you so we will explain how the divorce process works as well as breakdown some terminology that may seem a bit difficult to understand.

Am I eligible for a divorce? Let’s have a quick look at the facts

No matter the reason that warrants your asking for a divorce, there are some factors that determine if you are eligible for divorce at this time.

To be qualified for a divorce in the UK, you must have been married for at least a year and you must be able to prove that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. Irretrievable breakdown is the only ground for a divorce in the UK and must be proven by one of the following listed facts:

  • Where one has deserted the other for two years
  • Adultery
  • Five years separation (where no consent is required)
  • Continuous separation for two years where both parties agree to divorce
  • Unreasonable behaviour

I am eligible for a divorce…How do I file for divorce?

Once you have established that you are eligible to divorce, a divorce petition will be prepared and submitted to the court with the appropriate court fee. This petition will be sent to your spouse by the court. When the spouse has received this petition, they are required to return the ‘acknowledgment of service.’ This confirms that they have received the petition and they will indicate if they intend to challenge the basis upon which the petition has been brought.

Once the petition is uncontested, you will be able to make the application for the Decree Nisi once the acknowledgment of service has been received.

At the point, the Judge will look at the contents of the divorce petition and confirm whether she or he is satisfied that you are entitled to the divorce. If satisfied, the Judge will pronounce the Decree Nisi. After a period of six week and one day, you are entitled to apply for a Decree Absolute. At this stage, your marriage will be brought to an end.

Life after divorce

Once the divorce has been finalised, there are other areas that may need to be addressed. This includes making plans for your children, making financial arrangements in terms of splitting assets or addressing issues surrounding your pension sharing orders. If these decisions cannot be reached amicably, it is ideal to go for family mediation to discuss how to make these decisions with the best interests of all concerned.

We know that this can be a very traumatic and challenging time for you so we are here to help. Our divorce lawyers have many years experience in handling divorce proceedings so we understand that every relationship is not exactly the same. People go through different emotional journeys to get to where they are.

We will like to discuss with you about any questions that you may have as it relates to family mediation, separation and divorce. In order to make the process a seamless one, we have developed different divorce packages that allow you handle your divorce the way you want it.

For more details about family law, please contact us today or fill our only family enquiry form. Our commitment is that we will represent your interests through the best possible legal means.  

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