What is Judicial Separation?

A Judicial Separation means you will remain married, but will be formally legally separated.

  • You will still need to show that there are difficulties in the marriage using the same facts as a divorce.
  • You do not have to state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
  • Unlike a divorce, you do not have to be married for 12 months or more before starting judicial separation proceedings.

If you cannot obtain a divorce because you have not been married for 12 months or more, you may want to apply for a Judicial Separation. This will allow you to apply for a court order to settle any dispute you and your spouse have about your money or property.

Judicial Separation Procedure

In exactly the same way as a divorce you will need a Judicial Separation Petition to be prepared and hopefully agreed with the other party prior to it being sent to the Court.

The Family Court will seal the documents and post a copy to your spouse.

Your spouse will then have to complete an Acknowledgement of Service form to:-

  1. Confirm that he/she has received the Judicial Separation Petition
  2. Indicate whether they intend to oppose the divorce.
  3. Indicate whether there is any disagreement regarding costs.

Once the Acknowledgement has been returned you complete a statement to confirm the contents of your petition are true.  The effect is much like giving evidence in terms of your petition but without the need for you to attend Court.  This is forwarded to the Court and all of the papers are referred to a District Judge.

He will check the petition is technically correct and that you have made out the basis for your Judicial Separation.  Unlike with a Divorce the Judge will then certify that you are entitled to a Decree of Judicial Separation and a date will be set for that Decree of Judicial Separation to be pronounced.

The Decree of Judicial Separation, like a Decree Nisi in a Divorce is still read out in Court but again there is no need to attend.  The Final Certificate of Judicial Separation will then be sent out in the post and that is the conclusion of the Judicial Separation process.

There is no further waiting period and no Decree Absolute as the marriage is not formally ended.

Talk to us for detailed information and advice on Judicial Separation. Call the Family Law team on 0121 746 3360 to arrange an appointment or contact us online.

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