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What is a Judicial separation?

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Judicial separation order is an alternative to divorce which can be utilised where, for example, religious beliefs forbid divorce.

Reasons to Seek Judicial Separation

A judicial separation order can be sought:

  1. At any time after the marriage:
    • Judicial separations are not subject to the “one year rule”, so this can assist a spouse who seeks to separate within the first year.
  2. By clients who have religious or moral objections to divorce


Judicial separation does not dissolve a marriage but brings marital obligations to an end. It has two main effects:

  1. The court can make the same financial orders as it is entitled to do upon divorce, with the exception of pension sharing or clean break orders.
  • Maintenance pending suit.
  • Periodical payments.
  • Secured periodical payments.
  • Lump sum orders.
  • Property adjustment orders.
  • Pension attachment order.
  • Orders for sale.
  1. The parties’ wills will remain unaffected, unlike on divorce.
  • However, if one party dies intestate, their property devolves as if the other party to the marriage had died.
  • This means that the surviving spouse will not benefit.


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