Separation and divorce -proceedings - Judicial separation

The facts on which a decree of judicial separation is based are the same as these required for a divorce but here the similarities end.

In a case of judicial separation, only one decree is granted and the parties remain legally married, although separated, after the decree has been pronounced. The court has the same powers to make financial orders that it has in proceedings for divorce. (search

Judicial separation proceedings are not ordinarily used these days, except where a married couple do not wish to divorce for religious reasons, or where the couple are of an age where widow's pension rights would be lost if the woman were divorced and this is an important material factor which cannot be resolved in any other way.

Deed of separation

A deed of separation is used for couples who wish to separate, or who have separated but either do not have grounds for obtaining a divorce at that time or, for some reason, do not wish to enter into divorce proceedings immediately.

It is often used for couples who wish to use the two-year separation ground for divorce and who want to make definite financial arrangements pending the commencement of divorce proceedings after the two-year separation period has expired.

A deed of separation does not involve a court proceeding and therefore the deed will work only if both parties agree its terms.

If you are arranging the agreement yourselves, you would be well advised each to consult a solicitor who will ensure that everything is in order and formalise the deed of separation. The deed can cover maintenance payments to a spouse and it will also deal with the distribution of family capital.

Maintenance paid to a spouse under a deed of separation will enable the payer to obtain tax relief on those payments. However, maintenance paid to a child under a deed of separation will not be effective for tax relief and it is necessary that children's maintenance is dealt with under a court order.

For a full explanation of the tax implications of a deed of separation.

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Separation and divorce -proceedings - Deed of separation or divorce

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