Separation and divorce -proceedings - Deed of separation or divorce

English law does not, at present, have a 'no fault' divorce proceeding for the first two years of separation.

Therefore, unless either party has committed adultery or the parties have already lived 'separate and apart' for a period of two years, there is only one course open to them-that is, to make an accusation of unreasonable behaviour as reason for the breakdown of the marriage. The unreasonable behaviour petition is not pleasant, as you can imagine.

One party is compelled to make allegations against the other and this rarely makes for amicable agreement on all the other issues between the parties. A couple who are left with this option alone for obtaining a divorce may wish to use a second opinion, a deed of separation pending the filing of divorce proceedings at a later date.

It will detail the financial agreement reached between them, and incorporate details of any maintenance due to be paid to the wife and details of the distribution of the family capital. It is also possible to insert a clause to state that when the parties have been separated for a period of two years, one of them will petition for a divorce on the basis that they have then lived 'separate and apart' for a continuous period of two years, and that the other party consents to divorce proceedings.

If you wish to use a deed of separation in order to confirm and complete the financial arrangements between you both, then you must make a full disclosure to one another of your true financial position.

This is one of the reasons why it is wise to consult a solicitor; he or she will check that you have complied with all necessary steps in order to render your deed of separation valid and enforceable.

If, when you eventually go through divorce proceedings, you intend to ask the court to confirm the financial arrangement reached between you and your spouse when drawing up the deed of separation and make it the final financial arrangement, it is essential that there has been a full disclosure of your respective financial positions.

Without this, the court may well consider the deed of separation to be an interim measure and decide that the financial issue should be looked at and determined afresh.

KIRSTY APP on divorce - Next:

How to handle your own divorce proceedings

/divorce/How-to-handle-your-own-divorce-proceedings.html... see: How to handle your own divorce proceedings