A marriage or civil partnership may come to an end for a whole host of reasons. One party may have had time to think about bringing the relationship to an end whilst for the other it may come as a complete shock. Parties may need time to consider when or even if the legal ties should be undone and if so, how.
Speaking to a solicitor about your options will help give you clarity on how you should proceed. The below is a general guide which may assist you.
Divorce and Dissolution
These court proceedings bring finality to the marriage or civil partnership. The legal ties of marriage are brought to an end. After the pronouncement of the final decree by the court, you are no longer each other’s next of kin. You may go on to re-marry.
v. There is no legal change in your relationship with any child of the family,
Judicial Separation/Separation Order
These are court proceedings but DO NOT bring finality to the marriage or the civil partnership. You will remain married, but the legal obligation to live together is removed. You will remain each other’s next of kin. You may not re-marry.
A separation agreement does not bring any finality to the marriage or your legal ties. It is a document which can include all the agreements which you have reached in respect of the marriage, the children and the finances.
You will remain married.
Doing nothing always has to be an option. Maybe you want to wait and see how the breakdown of the marriage develops and decide at a later date what steps to take. On some rare occasions doing nothing can have its tactical advantages. You will remain married, you will remain each other’s next of kin. You may not take financial proceedings to court. You can still take matters relating to the children to court.
Make a will
If the marriage has come to an end, in whatever circumstances and whatever you chose to do to recognise the breakdown, whether on a formal or informal basis the unequivocal advice is to make a will and consider various steps that you may need to take in respect of any owned property.
Fiona Wilson is a solicitor with some 26 years’ experience as a family specialist dealing with all aspects of family breakdown. Fiona is at our Hinckley office and can be contacted on 01455 610747.