When a relationship comes to an end, it is not always the case that couples wish to make everything absolutely final through a divorce or civil partnership dissolution. Sometimes this can be for legal reasons, due to religious beliefs or just down to the way they feel emotionally.
If you have found yourself in this situation, it is very important you take legal advice, because there will be implications, and you will continue to have ongoing obligations and rights as a married couple living apart which it is important you understand.
We will usually advise anyone in this position, of course taking into account individual circumstances, to consider a Separation Deed, otherwise known as judicial separation. This is an official document that sets out the agreement you and your former partner have reached in respect of living apart. It will cover things like financial matters, issues involving children, future divorce proceedings, taxation and indemnities from each other.
A Separation Deed will usually form the basis of a Consent Order in future divorce proceedings and will help to make the process as amicable as possible once it gets underway. At present, Separation Deeds are not legally binding, but they are still the best way of protecting your interests on separation until such times as you are ready for divorce.
It is worth noting that in 2010, the case of Radmacher v Granatino made it a legal authority that, provided certain criteria are met in entering into a Separation Deed, it will have significant weight on any decision a future divorce court may make.
If you’re not quite ready for divorce, a chat with the specialist family lawyers at Pickering & Butters will help you understand why a Separation Deed could be a suitable choice.