Legal Separation Implies and How It Must Be Followed
A legal separation can occur when both partners reach the agreement that they do not want to live together any longer, but they do not want their marriage to legally end, either.
The Difference between Legal Separation and Divorce
As previously mentioned, a legal separation does not imply that your marriage has come to an end. It only means that you now have the legal right – as provided by the court through an order – to lead a separate life from your spouse. However, unlike divorce, a legal separation does not allow any of the spouses to engage in another marriage or partnership, as they are still considered married.
A couple can apply for legal separation at any time, while divorce can only be filed after a whole year of marriage.
The Reasons behind a Legal Separation
There are quite a few reasons a couple might want to just be legally separated instead of ending their marriage completely, in an official manner. One of the most common, though, is the conflict between their religious beliefs and the concept of divorce. However, a legal separation can be chosen as a solution when you are having a hard time gathering proof that your marriage has failed, as well.
The fact that you may need some time apart from your partner to consider whether you want a divorce or you want to rebuild your marriage can be a good reason, too, and the fact that your marriage has not reached the minimum length of one year necessary to get a legal divorce.
Procedures and Costs of a Legal Separation
The first thing you must do when you want to obtain a legal separation is to address the court of justice and inform it of your intentions. The next thing to do is submit a “separation petition” form that you must fill in three copies. The fee for applying for such a legal procedure is around 350 pounds, but if your income is very low you will probably get a reduction.
If you and your spouse manage to agree upon the way in which your finances, debts and goods will be shared, then the court will release a consent order and everything ends there. Should you not be able to meet this agreement, a financial order will take the place of the consent one, and then the court is the one that decides what each of the spouses will keep and what not.
In conclusion, if you have decided that you and your partner can not live together any more, and you need to be apart, but without ending your marriage, it is advised to consider legal separation. It represents a good alternative to divorce, but, these days, there are very few couples that decide to follow this pattern, as legal separation can be quite restrictive in terms of pursuing the happiness in a new relationship.
Nevertheless, if your spouse has informed you that his/her intentions are to start the procedures for a legal separation, it would be wise of you to ask a lawyer for his advice.