Legal separation: Divorce may not always be the answer

The cost-of-living crisis could be forcing couples who would otherwise separate and divorce to remain living together.

There are concerns that couples are staying together as they simply cannot afford to live separately.

It comes as inflation has soared to seven per cent and many families are struggling to keep up with rising food, fuel and energy prices.

Single-person households have also been particularly hard hit, which could be pushing couples to remain together in the family home.

Despite the financial struggle, it is for the best for couples to separate in many situations.

But what is the best way to do so?

Couples can divorce, which has now been made easier thanks to the introduction of no-fault proceedings, or they can obtain a legal separation.

It is useful to know the difference between the two, so couples find the best fit for their relationship.

How is legal separation different from divorce?

A legal separation, also known as a judicial separation, allows couples to legally separate without the marriage being ended, which is the case with divorce.

It is an option for couples who have been married for less than a year or want time to work out if they can save their marriage.

A judicial separation allows the court to make orders about rights to property after separation, along with decisions about the wellbeing of any children and the division of debts and assets.

Why choose legal separation?

There a several reasons why couples may opt for legal separation over a divorce.

Legal separation is favoured by people of certain religious beliefs who may not believe in divorce.

Another popular reason is that couples can apply for a legal separation any time after getting married, it does not have to be a year as is the case for filing for a divorce. A legal separation also does not stop the couple from filing for divorce later down the line.

It also has the same effect as divorce on a Will, which means that a spouse can no longer be the beneficiary.

What is a separation agreement?

A separation agreement is something that can be made informally between spouses. This is helpful if a couple plans to get divorced in the future, so they have proof in writing of consent between both partners.

Are you considering divorce or legal separation? Contact our expert family law team today for advice.

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