The problems that arise in a Judicial Separation are many and varied and have the added difficulty of the emotional and social consequences for those involved, particularly the children.
An experienced Family Law solicitor can assist in a resolution of those issues.
Issues that will need attention in a Judicial Separation are to do with the Family Home, the children, other properties, pensions, existing and future debt, financial and tax implications.
If agreement cannot be reached by the parties on the terms of a Legal Separation Agreement, or if one party simply refuses to enter into those discussions, then it may be necessary to have a Family Law Solicitor bring an application for a Court Order of Judicial Separation.
What are the Conditions for Judicial Separation?
The criteria are :-
- One party has committed adultery
- One party has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect the other spouse to continue to live with them
- One party has deserted the other for at least one year at the time of the application
- The parties have lived separate and apart from one another for one year up to the time the application is made and both parties agree to the Court Order of Judicial Separation being made
- The parties have lived apart from one another for at least three years at the time of the application to the Court (whether or not both parties agree to the Court Order being made)
- The Court considers that a normal marital relationship has not existed between the spouses for at least one year before the date of the application
In order to apply for a divorce, the parties must have lived separate and apart from each other (even in the same household) for four out of the previous five years. In many instances parties whose marriage has broken down, do not have that period of separation and yet need to be able to separate properly and get answers to issues to do with the property, finances and children. Therefore, in the absence of the requisite four years of living apart, many people apply for a Judicial Separation first and then come back later for a formal Order of Divorce.
How can We Help with your Judicial Separation?
To start these Judicial Separation Court Proceedings, you need an experienced Family Law Solicitor.
We at Neil J. Butler & Co. have many years of experience in bringing these applications.
We have acted for those who cannot agree terms for a consent Separation agreement and for those who have done so but want the added protection of formal Court Orders. In some cases we have used this method to get better provision for our clients , particularly as to transfer of ownership of property, mostly involving the family home.
Usually the Judicial Separation Proceedings start in the Circuit Family Court. The initial document is a Family Law Civil Bill which sets out what the Applicant Spouse is seeking in the Judicial Separation. This asks the Court to make decisions on issues between the Parties such as :
- Maintenance payments in respect of any children.
- Custody and access for and to those children
- Ownership of the Family Home
- What happens to any other property that might be owned
- What happens to savings or other financial investments
- What happens on the death of either party
- What happens to rights arising under any pension
If the spouse who is not co-operating, does not answer the Court Proceedings within a specified time, then our experienced Family Law Solicitor can make an application to the Court to either force that spouse to give the matter attention or to get an Order of Judicial Separation by reason of the failure of that spouse to answer.
The Judicial Separation process is usually longer and more expensive than dealing with the marriage breakdown by way of a Separation Agreement.