Legal separation or divorce? which one is right for you? Most people have an opinion about divorce, and seem to think they know how it works. This might be because a close friend, family member or colleague has been through this and they spoke to you about their experience. Or you may have read about it in a novel. At JMR solicitors we believe that every single divorce and separation case is different and that is why no two divorces can be dealt with the same.
People come to us for a separation agreement for all types of reasons. One of them being, some individuals don’t feel ready to divorce, but still want an agreement to live apart from his/her spouse. A legal separation allows them time to live apart while also defining the rights and responsibilities for each spouse while living separately.
Reasons someone may want a legal separation instead of a divorce:
Other reasons for legal separation instead of divorce consist of religious beliefs clashing, not meeting the UK residency necessities for divorce, the facility it provides to retain medical or other benefits that a divorce would dismiss, or to spread the marriage past a certain number of years to be suitable for certain governmental benefits.
Since the outcome of legal separation are comparable to a divorce, and you have precise rights and obligations while separated, you should speak to a qualified divorce or family law solicitor who has experience handling legal separations. If you are thinking about getting divorced or dissolving your civil partnership in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, but haven’t yet filed the papers, you can get a separation agreement drawn up. This outlines who will pay the rent or mortgage and bills, until you decide whether to proceed with your divorce or dissolution.
What is a separation agreement?
It’s a written agreement that – characteristically – sets out your financial arrangements while you are separated. It can cover a range of areas:
- Who pays the mortgage/rent, and household bills and at what per centage
- Who continues to live in the family home?
- What happens to any debts, such as loans or overdrafts that are shared
- Arrangements for vehicles
- What happens to savings, investments and other financial assets
- What happens to any items jointly bought
- Whether maintenance is paid to support one of you and/or any children
- Childcare arrangements: who any children live with and parental access
If you are planning to make your separation permanent, the separation agreement should ideally set out the final financial agreement that will be presented to the court when the divorce or dissolution finally goes through.
Disadvantages of Legal Separation in the UK
Legal separation, like divorce, can be a tremendously worrying process. In some cases, couples may be best off simply filing for divorce instantly if avoidable, rather than going through the lengthy, drawn-out legal separation process. Many parting couples who have attained a legal separation, closely followed by a divorce, have defined the method as being like two separate divorce proceedings, as opposed to just one proceeding.
- Separation agreements can be complex and just as detailed as divorce agreements. The separation agreement takes into consideration spousal and child support, custody of minors, distribution of marital property, debts and assets, and much like a divorce, a resolution can be attained in court.
- Some clients say that a separation agreement, if followed closely by a divorce is not worth the stress and should just go for the divorce proceedings.
- Some couples may be better off informally separating than to make a written decision about it. If both can come to an agreement on finances, division of assets and debts, and responsibility of children then you may find you can come to your own arrangement
Benefits of Legal Separation
Some of the benefits associated with legal separation in the UK include the following:
Dodging divorce – For couples who have private, religious, or cultural protests to divorce, legal separation allows the spouses to live separate – and to make provisions for child support, maintenance, and property division/distribution – while still remaining legally married.
Financial benefits – Being legally separated usually allows for some benefits in terms of working out a financial agreement that is ideal for both parties.
Contact JMR Solicitors for your legal separation or divorce in the UK
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