Family Law -
Do you need advice in relation to the
Separation and Judicial Separation process?
At Downing Courtney & Larkin Solicitors LLP, we have many years of navigating clients through their myriad of options once their marital relationship has sadly ended. Parties who may not have met the requirements for Divorce or who simply do not wish to obtain a divorce may enter into a Separation Agreement or apply to the Court for a Decree of Judicial Separation.
People who have been married may of their own volition separate and enter into what is known as a Separation Agreement. This is a binding contract with legal effect that can deal effectively with all aspects of the marriage such as custody of any children of the marriage, access and maintenance in respect of such children or any dependant spouse.
A separation agreement typically covers issues such as:
- Who should live in the family home.
- What should happen to any other property that the couple own.
- Where any dependant children should live, and access arrangements.
- Whether either person should make maintenance payments to the other.
However, the parties are not at liberty to decide any matters relating to pension rights or any entitlement they may have to a separated spouse’s pension on retirement. There has to be agreement between the estranged parties on all the terms before a separation agreement can be finally signed. Parties can also apply to have a Separation Agreement made a rule of court so as to formalise it.
It is important to note that if you subsequently apply for order for Divorce, the Court will consider carefully any pre-existing Deed of Separation, therefore it is extremely important to obtain expert legal advice prior to the signing of any such agreement.
If you and your ex-spouse are unable to agree on such issues as family finances, custody and access to any children of the union, then you can apply for an order of Judicial Separation once you have been living apart for one year. Some exceptions exist to the one year rule but it is generally accepted that a couple must be living apart for a minimum of 12 months prior to applying for a decree of Judicial Separation.
The application for an order of Judicial Separation can be made on a number of grounds, which include adultery on the part of one of the spouses, unreasonable behaviour, and that the parties have been living apart from each other for 1 year prior to the institution of proceedings.
If the parties can come to an agreement themselves, the Judge will review it and if satisfied will grant the decree as sought. If the parties cannot agree, a full hearing of the matter will take place and a Judge will decide on all matters that are contested.
The process of obtaining a decree of Judicial Separation is that it can provide some degree of closure and finality to separating couples and will usually and ultimately form an interim step towards obtaining a decree of Divorce.
Please feel free to contact us now for a complimentary, no -obligation fee quotation and we will revert to you within 24 hours. Or you can telephone us directly on 064 6631061 and speak to a member of our team immediately.
*Please note that the information above is demonstrative only, please contact us directly so that we can discuss your individual case.
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