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Guide: The Difference Between Judical Separations & Divorce

Posted on 3rd March 2014 by Goodwins Family Law Solicitors

Before applying for a judicial separation, it is important that the differences between it and divorce are fully understood. There are a number of variations between the two processes, and this article will examine them in order to help you get a better understanding of the proceedings.

The Legalities

In a Judicial Separation, the result is different from a divorce in that the marriage is not legally deemed to be over. The parties involved may have accepted an end to the relationship, but they are not permitted to remarry unless they obtain a divorce. Similarly, if the marriage has not irrevocably broken down, this will not be referenced in any petition. Proceedings are served in an identical manner to divorce proceedings, although the notice and acknowledgement of service will be referenced as Judicial Separation.

In terms of what a Judicial Separation entails for the petitioner and respondent, there are a number of consequences. The parties are no longer required or obliged to live together, but the court cannot divide all matrimonial possessions and property in the same way it could in the event of a divorce. This is often a key factor in a person deciding that they would rather file for a legal divorce than a judicial separation. Any wills are altered to show that the spouse will not be a beneficiary, unless the party or parties make a new will(s) specifically stating otherwise.

Religious Grounds

Another reason that a party or a couple may petition for Judicial Separation is that they are opposed to divorce, perhaps for religious reasons. In cases where only one party has religious reasons for applying for Judicial Separation, it may be difficult to obtain such an order. In such a case, if the respondent does not have any religious grounds for Judicial Separation, they may be advised to apply for a divorce. It also should be noted that there is a total bar on divorce within the first year of a marriage, so if the parties want to officially separate, a Judicial Separation may be all that is available.


An important point to be aware of when applying or considering applying for Judicial Separation is that it may have a long lasting effect on your ability to get remarried. It is not a quick fix when a divorce is not available; it is an alternative to divorce. As mentioned earlier, you will not be able to get remarried if you obtain a Judicial Separation; remarriage is only a possibility after a formal divorce.

If you are considering a separation from your spouse, it is vital that you are aware of all the options available to you, and the consequences of any course of action you may take. At Goodwins, we have vast experience in all aspects of family law, including Judicial Separations. We handle all cases with the utmost care and sensitivity that they deserve, and we will assist you from start to finish. If you would like more information about our family law services, get in touch with us today.

Contact us by phone, email or via the contact form on our website and we’ll be more than happy to help you.

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Goodwins Family Law Solicitors is a leading London based law firm specialising in divorce and family law for clients in London, the UK and internationally. View more information about our services:


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