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If you need time and space to decide if you want to end your marriage, if you’ve been married less than a year or if your religious beliefs mean you don’t want to divorce, a legal separation may be the best option for you.
A legal separation (sometimes called a judicial separation) allows you and your spouse or civil partner to live apart without divorcing or ending your civil partnership. To get a legal separation you will need to complete a separation petition and send it to the court and prove grounds such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour, as with a divorce petition. However, unlike a divorce, you do not need to show that your marriage has broken down irretrievably.
A legal separation does not end the marriage or civil partnership, so neither you nor your spouse will be able to remarry or enter another civil partnership.
A separation agreement (also known as a deed of separation) is a formal agreement about financial, property and child arrangements (if applicable) made at the time of your separation. It can save you the cost, time and hassle of court proceedings when your marriage or civil partnership ends.
When a separation agreement is made, both parties must fully disclose and provide documentary evidence of their assets and liabilities. Once you and your spouse have agreed how the finances will be split and any other necessary arrangements, your solicitor will draft a legal agreement. It is important to bear in mind that the agreement is simply a contract between you and your ex-partner and, as it does not involve the court, it is not completely watertight. However, if you do subsequently divorce, the court is likely to take your separation agreement into account, particularly if there has been full financial disclosure, legal advice on both sides and where the terms appear fair.
We can also draw up separation agreements for couples who are not married or in a civil partnership.
Everyone’s situation is different and the costs involved will depend on your particular circumstances. At Gaby Hardwicke it is our policy to discuss the various options and likely costs with each of our clients at the very outset. If you do instruct us, we will endeavour to keep the costs of your matter as transparent as possible and keep you informed of any likely changes to our original estimate, which means you remain in control of the process throughout. Find out more about costs and your First Consultation.
Our policy is to explore all possible avenues when dealing with divorce and relationship breakdown. Dispute resolution (DR) is an amicable alternative that can replace expensive, often hostile court proceedings with open, honest discussion, negotiation and agreement.
At Gaby Hardwicke we offer a type of DR called collaborative law. Our family lawyers can help you decide if this service is right for you.
How our Family Law team works
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