Separated but not Divorced – What is the impact for you?!

It seems obvious; your marriage has unfortunately broken down so you get divorced, right?

Wrong! More and more couples are now ending up separated but for one reason or another do not issue any divorce proceedings and/or do not reach an agreement in relation to their finances. The reasons for not getting divorced are very diverse:  for some its cultural reasons for others it is something they simply have not given any thought to.

The impact of this however is felt much later on, maybe years later when one party having formed a new relationship decides they want to re-marry or when one party dies without a Will. You may find your ex-partner now wants a share of the property you have been paying off for the last 5 years since you separated or worse still your ex-partner will inherit everything you own as you are still legally married.

What then are your options when separating?

Option 1

In the event your marriage has broken down it makes sense to deal with all matters in an amicable way and then move on. See our simple flow chart below for a step by step process on how a Divorce works.

Option 2

If Divorce isn’t something you want to contemplate or deal with immediately following the breakdown of your marriage then reaching an agreement regarding your finances / assets is the next best thing you could do. The agreement, known as a Separation Agreement, will effectively be a contract between you and details for example what is going to happen to your house, who is keeping it, how your pensions are going to be split etc. When you do then decide to Divorce in the future your mind will be at rest knowing there are no nasty surprises with the finances.

Finally, regardless of which of the above options you choose, you must ensure you update or make a Will following any separation. Generally speaking if something was to happen to you, your ex-partner will inherit all your belongings which may include properties, personal belongings, cash etc. Your Will would make clear, should anything happen to you, where you would like your belongings to go.

Divorce Process flowchart

At Watson Ramsbottom we offer a wide range of fixed fee packages to help you with the breakdown of your marriage including issuing your divorce petition through to obtaining your Decree Absolute along with negotiating an agreement for you in relation to your finances / assets. If the matter cannot be resolved through negotiation then we also offer fixed fees to represent you at Court.

If you need further advice in relation to Divorce, Finances or Separation please contact Rachel Horman or any member of our award winning family law team – profiles and contact information at this link. or call us now on 01254 67 22 22.

For advice in relation to making or updating a Will please contact Stuart Maher on 01254 88 44 22 or email