Sometimes divorce is not an option due to moral, ethical or religious reasons or simply because a couple has not been married for a year.

Whether you have gone through counselling or have just realised that you can no longer bear to live with your husband or wife, there is still a way to become legally separated and to be able to live separate lives; this is called judicial separation.

What is a judicial separation decree/order?

Judicial separation confirms that a husband and wife, or individuals within a civil partnership, are legally separated.

You can apply for a judicial separation decree/order at any time after a marriage or civil partnership, as long as you meet the legal requirements.  These include providing a valid reason for wanting to legally separate.

Can I still get divorced after a judicial separation?

Yes, after a year of being married you can apply for a divorce.

The divorce process in a nutshell

Firstly, you must have already been married for a year before you can petition for divorce.  Once you have petitioned for divorce, you will in due course, be issued with a decree nisi, after which there is a 6 week and 1 day ‘cooling-off period’, before you can apply for a decree absolute; this effectively confirms your divorce.