Family law disputes often arise when couples decide to separate. In the United Kingdom, family law is provided by the Parliament. Essentially, this means that family law disputes are governed by the same rules and principles in all courts. It is possible for a couple to get married and divorced without ever living under the same roof or meeting one another’s parents! Divorce proceedings can be expensive; however, separating couples who have no children will only need to go through court mediation which costs significantly less.
Marriage separation, on the other hand, is a more complicated procedure. It is necessary to have a decree of separation in order for courts to deal with property, assets and liabilities. The decree of separation is always applied for by a petitioner who can be either the husband or wife. Either party must demonstrate that their marriage has irretrievably broken down in order to obtain this order from courts. Furthermore, there will need to have been at least one year since the parties started living separately as well as formal consent on behalf of both spouses if they wish to go ahead with any proceedings relating to divorce.
If you are considering separating from your spouse but would like some advice first then take a look inside our “Resources” page which offers helpful information about court mediation and other legal advice related to separation or divorce. You can also contact us for a free initial consultation before taking any further actions.
What is the difference between divorce and separation?
Divorce is the legal process of ending a marriage, while separation is the act of living apart from your spouse without formally ending it.
Divorce in England and Wales can only be obtained by filing for divorce proceedings at court or if both spouses have agreed to a divorce (a legal document called a consent order). There are two main types of divorce: contested and uncontested. A contested one means that there is some opposition on either side so you need someone who has the necessary knowledge and skills to bring an end to this case successfully; however, an uncontested type means that one party agrees with what their former partner wants.
Separation could be one of the most amicable ways to move on from a relationship that is no longer working. It might also help you and your partner come up with solutions for future family arrangements or how finances will work once there are two households instead of one.
Is separation good for a marriage?
Some people believe that separation is the best thing to do for a marriage if both partners have come to the conclusion that they are not good together and would continue fighting with one another. It can also help you understand your needs better, what kind of partner you want in future relationships or how much time you need before moving on from this situation. Whereas others don’t recommend separation as an option because sometimes during this period there might be hope left and separating could make things worse than ever.
It is important to keep in mind that your family is not like any other. You should always be thinking about what the best solution for them would be and never force something that will make things worse. If you have children, it is worth considering if they are old enough to understand what separation means or how difficult this process may be for them. It can help if both parents agree on a way of discussing with their kids, so they know why mommy and daddy don’t live together anymore or who lives in which house now – maybe even create “new” traditions as a new family unit during holidays.
What should I not do during a separation?
Never argue in front of children: Your kids should not be around when there’s tension between their parents as this could affect them more than they realise. It would also be wise not to let your arguments turn into shouting matches – even if one parent feels anger towards the other (if possible).
Do not maintain a spiteful attitude. If you live with your child’s other parent, be kind to them. If they are an ex-partner who has moved out of the family home and there is no contact between them, it may not always be easy but try not to show jealousy towards their partner in front of your kids – even if it is hard for you.
Do not make decisions without thinking about it. It may seem like a good idea to move out or take your spouse’s things, but these are big changes that will have an impact on everyone involved. Discussing the situation with family members and getting input from someone you trust can help if you’re unsure of what decision is best for your family.
Do not delay if you need help. Whether it’s family counselling, dealing with a difficult past or something else, there are many services available that can support the family and children in times of separation.
How long should a civil partnership separation last?
There is no set time limit for a civil partnership separation. The length of the separation will be different from family to family and there are no rules about how long you should stay separated before reconciling. You may find that six months is enough, but some couples have been married 20 years or more yet still only need three months apart to recognise what’s important in life.
Do I need a family lawyer for the separation?
It is important to talk openly and honestly with your partner about what you want, don’t want and can live with in the interests of reaching agreements that are fair to everyone involved. This will not be an easy conversation but it is one which has to take place if there is any chance of success at mediation or settlement negotiations.
If this doesn’t work out then you might want to consider hiring a family lawyer who can provide legal advice on how to proceed with issues such as how much time each should spend with the children; where they can go (school events etc); what rules should apply at each house; whether one or both parents have custody rights and responsibilities as well as financial arrangements that take into account any previous agreements on childcare costs and how this changes when children are now being cared for by both parents.
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Get a FREE 20-minute initial consultation for your case with one of our family lawyers. You will be working with a specialist divorce solicitor who is dedicated to your needs from day one. Let us help you get through this tough time so that you can focus on moving forward with your life as quickly as possible.