What is Legal Separation? | Practical Divorce and Separation Advice from Cotswold Family Law

Legal separation is a vague term which covers a wide range of possibilities.  Parties can informally separate without making any particular arrangements one way or another.  They may live separately but they remain married.  As such they retain an interest in whatever property the other acquires because they are still married.  They also remain entitled to a share of the others pension as a spouse.

Alternatively the parties may decide to clarify the terms of their legal separation with a formal deed of separation.  This is generally drawn up by lawyers, although if the matter is agreed there only needs to be one lawyer who produces the document, provided the other person does obtain, or is given the opportunity to obtain separate legal advice on the document. 

The deed of separation sets out:

  • what might happen in relation to the children
  • where the parties will live
  • what the parties might decide in relation to property

It cannot affect pensions because it does not involve a divorce, but it may set out the fact that the parties have decided - unless they reconcile - to get divorced after two years using the criteria of two years separation with consent. 

The parties may go on to say in the deed of separation that they would like the terms of this deed to govern the outcome of the divorce in terms of the financial arrangements that will need to be made following their divorce.

Legal separation may also be a casual term for divorce.

To discuss your individual circumstances, please contact us to book a consultation.

Next: Trial Separation - Is it Legal?

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