For those looking for alternatives to a divorce

If you would prefer to regularise your separation without actually divorcing then there are two other options available:

  1. Judicial Separation.
  2. By way of entering into a Separation Agreement.

Judicial separation

This involves a court procedure which is virtually identical to that which applies to a divorce. The essential difference is that the court pronounces a decree of judicial separation rather than a divorce and therefore you and your spouse would remain married. The main reason people choose judicial separation over divorce is for religious reasons or if valuable pension benefits are lost on divorce. However, since the court can now share pensions, this is no longer so important.

Separation agreement

Many couples prefer to reach an agreement about financial matters arising out of their separation without involving the court at all. The way this can be achieved is for them to sign a written document which incorporates the agreement they have reached. Commonly, such agreements deal with confirmation that the parties to the marriage are to live separate and apart from one another and the manner in which any maintenance and property issues are to be dealt with. Whilst there are no restrictions on what can or cannot be included in such an agreement, it is important to bear in mind that if either person makes a subsequent financial application to the court, the court is not bound by the financial arrangements in the separation agreement.