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Separation

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About separation

Some couples want to separate, but not divorce or dissolve their civil partnership straightaway.

You may not have been married or have had a civil partnership for a year or you may have just drifted apart and don’t want to blame the other by referring to behaviour that you find unreasonable.

See also: Clean Break Agreements

You have three choices when you separate:

  • Separate physically and take no legal steps.

If you do so, your financial position both at the time of separation, and when divorcing, will be taken into account by a Court if you cannot agree about money. If you get a better job, inherit or win money, or buy a new house these things are not protected against any claim for money made by your husband/wife within a divorce.

  • Have a legally binding written agreement about children and / or money.

Many people who decide they want to separate will protect themselves financially against claims for more money being made by their husband/wife within a later divorce by entering into a legally binding agreement called a deed of separation.

An agreement written between a husband and wife, even if witnessed, is not legally binding. A deed of separation can also record agreements made about children.

  • To judicially separate.

This is a legal process involving the Court which is similar to the divorce process. You remain married, but have a decree of judicial separation. Few people judicially separate as many would then go on to divorce at a later stage, and so incur the cost of two different legal procedures.

There are some older couples, who do not want to remarry, and cannot come to an agreement about money who judicially separate.