If you prefer not to divorce, Separation Agreements are a useful alternative to court proceedings. They’re not absolutely binding in England and Wales but if all the formalities are complied with, the courts will hold the parties to the agreement unless there are exceptional circumstances.
They’re not for everyone one but they’re often the solution to a particular problem, with the slight downside that you have to repeat all the documentation if you decide to divorce later. Nevertheless, separation agreements are still popular and of course, we’ll be happy to advise on their merits and likely cost.
It’s important not to confuse Separation Agreements with Judicial Separation, which does involve formal court proceedings. A Judicial Separation Decree (or JS decree) is useful when for example a couple have been married less than a year but need to take formal steps before the year has expired. Practicing Roman Catholics, for example often choose this option so that they can obtain court orders after separation without having to get divorced.