There may be religious, or personal reasons why they do not wish to divorce. It may be that to try and get financial matters sorted out, they issued judicial separation proceedings.
This is where the Court recognise that a couple are separated, but they are not free to remarry. In addition, whilst the Court can deal with financial issues upon divorce, it can not deal with issues concerning pensions. Also, subsequent divorce proceedings can be issued, and the financial cases reopened.
Frequently Asked Questions
A judicial separation petition is prepared, and sent to the Court in triplicate, along with the original marriage certificate and the Court fee, which is currently £365. If there are children, a form about the arrangements for the children also has to be completed, and submitted in triplicate.
The Court staff check through the paperwork, and if satisfied that all the documentation is to hand, and is accurate, they will issue the papers, giving a case number, which is how the Court recognise each case. They send a copy to the other person, along with an Acknowledgment of Service form.
The Respondent (the person responding to the Petition) then has to complete the Acknowledgment of Service. Generally, this is on the basis that the case will not be contested, but if the Respondent wishes to contest the case, they must lodge an answer and pay a fee to do so.
The Court will then send to the Petitioner a copy of the acknowledgment of service. The Petitioner must then prepare a statement in support of their application and a request for the Judicial separation decree to be pronounced.
Once received by the Court, the file of papers will be presented to a Judge who must decide whether the Petitioner has the grounds for judicial separation, and who should pay the costs of the application.
If satisfied, the Judge will list the case for pronouncement of decree of judicial separation. Both parties will receive notification of the date and time of the hearing. There is no need to attend, unless there is an issue about costs that needs to be dealt with by the Judge on the day.
The decree of judicial separation is then sent out in the post to the parties.
- The couple have lived separately and apart for 5 years
- The couple have lived separately and apart for 2 years where they both consent to a divorce
- One has deserted the other (the period of separation has to be two years)
- One has behaved in a way that the other finds unreasonable
- One has committed adultery and admits to the adultery
There are no set time limits, but generally it takes between 4 and 6 months to obtain. Some decrees can take less time, depending upon the responses from the Court and the other person involved, and some can take longer. Likely delays are if the Respondent doesn’t complete the paperwork. Arrangements then have to be made to personally serve the papers on the Respondent, to prove that service has taken place. If the application is defended, then the case can take considerably longer, as there will be a court hearing before a Judge who will make a decision as to whether or not to grant the decree, and to decide who should pay the costs of the proceedings.
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