An alternative to divorce is Judicial Separation. It does not dissolve the marriage but is useful if you are prohibited from divorcing for religious reasons or you wish to formally separate within the first year of marriage.
You do not have to show an irretrievable breakdown in your marriage, as you would do for divorce, however you will still have to rely on one of the five facts that are relevant to divorce proceedings, namely:
- Your spouse committed adultery and you therefore find it intolerable to live with him/her;
- Your spouse behaved unreasonably to the extent that you cannot be expected to live with him/her;
- Your spouse deserted you and two years have passed since the desertion;
- You have been separated for two years and your spouse consents to the divorce;
- You have been separated for five years.
The procedure is also the same, however it is finalised at the Decree Nisi stage which is the penultimate order in divorce proceedings and you do not apply or obtain a Decree Absolute, which is the final order dissolving the marriage in divorce proceedings.
The advantage of instigating Judicial Separation proceedings is that it allows the court to deal with the issue of finances, which ordinarily cannot be done unless divorce proceedings have been instigated.