There may be any number of reasons why you may not wish to go through the formal process of petitioning a court for divorce, even though you may not wish to live together. This may be a decision based on finances, religion, chance of reconciliation or just an unwillingness to terminate the marriage in this way.
An alternative to divorce in this case may be a separation, either formally or through a separation agreement. If you, as husband and wife, are living apart you will be defined as separated.
The period of separation could be a long term arrangement or simply as a short term separation to consider whether to pursue a divorce. There may be a way to rescue the marriage and quite often a period of separation will allow you both to step back and take a more objective view. There may be religious issues where your faith does not allow for divorce, but where you would still wish to live separate lives. A divorce could mean that there would be adverse financial implications with benefits from tax allowances and other schemes being lost.
If you decide on separation as either a long or short term solution, you should consider drawing up some sort of agreement to set out the terms of your separation.
A Deed of Separation will set out the arrangements that you have made together and agreed upon such as:
- Maintenance and other types of payments
- Arrangements for any children you may have
- How you will split property and other assets
- Who will be responsible for shared bills and debts
This isn’t a legally binding agreement, but would help provide you both with an understanding of how things will be structured. It may also help to simplify matters and avoid court proceedings if you decide on a future divorce.
A Judicial Separation is a more formal agreement that is made through the court setting out similar terms and recognising that you are separated.