Legal Seperation

This is also called a judicial separation. This procedure is very similar to the divorce but does not end the marriage. To obtain a legal separation it is not necessary to show the court that the marriage has broken down ‘irretrievably’ but you will need to show that one of the following facts has occurred:

  • adultery by your spouse

  • unreasonable behaviour by your spouse

  • desertion for a period of at least two years

  • two years’ separation provided your spouse agree to the divorce ie you will need their consent

  • five years’ separation, but you do not need your spouse’s consent to the divorce

You will have to show one of the above facts as found above but you do not need to be married for a minimum of 12 months. Therefore if you have been married for less than a year you will not be able to apply for a divorce but can apply for a legal separation. You can also apply to the court to settle any disputes between you and your spouse surrounding finances ie property.

You may want a legal separation if:

  • you have religious reasons against divorce

  • you’ve been married or in a civil partnership for less than a year

  • you want time and space to work out if you want to end the marriage or civil partnership

A legal separation does not end the marriage and therefore you cannot remarry unless you apply for a divorce. However you are now free to live separately. This procedure is very useful for those people who are unable to obtain a divorce due to their religious beliefs or because they may be worse off financially if they were divorced (for example a party may lose their rights to their spouse’s pension if they were divorced and therefore may prefer to apply for a legal separation).

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