You may wish to end a marriage without involving the courts. But to get a legally binding separation, you must involve the courts.
If a marriage ends on relatively good terms between partners then it is possible to informally end a marriage without going to court. If partners are still able to cooperate and communicate effectively then it is possible to make personal arrangements regarding the division of any assets, property, children etc. These arrangements must be all encompassing and fair to both parties, if both parties do not agree on a matter it will be necessary to involve the courts to resolve matters.
After reaching an informal separation agreement it is necessary to inform HM Revenue and Customs, the council and potentially the local benefits office as there may be changes to your tax and benefits.
A separation agreement is similar to an informal separation in the way that partners will come to a conclusion independently without involving the courts. However a separation agreement differs as all conditions of the separation are drawn up in writing. This ensures that there is no ambiguity in each partner’s share of assets or in each partner’s responsibilities.
A separation agreement is not legally binding, but it does outline conditions more clearly and firmly than an informal agreement.
If any disagreement arises it will be necessary to involve the courts.
Judicial separation is an alternative to divorce granted to those who have a moral or religious objection to divorce, or for some reason cannot prove the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage.
It gives the courts the same rights to divide up the assets and debts of the parties involved, and the spouses no longer have to cohabit. Furthermore the spouses will no longer automatically benefit if the other spouse were to pass away.
A judicial separation is essentially achieving everything a divorce achieves, while technically partners will remain married.
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