Not everyone who makes an appointment with a family solicitor wants a divorce. We can advise you as to other options available.
If you wish we can refer you to a number of different marriage guidance counselling services or individual counsellors whom our clients have used in the past. Such counsellors will usually be psychologists and will often see clients as couples or individually or both. These people can explore with you whether there is a chance of reconciliation and if there is not offer you support through the separation process.
You may just wish to separate and resolve permanent arrangements for the future at a later stage. If you need help in sorting out temporary arrangements for children and your finances we can provide this.
You may wish to have a more formal agreement called a separation agreement. We can draft this for you. It is a contract which will set out arrangements for your finances (and arrangements for children if you wish) but does not involve the court at this stage. It is sometimes used where couples wish to keep the door open to reconciliation as it can provide a 'breathing space' whilst they decide what to do whilst also providing clarity about who is paying for what. If you later divorce we can ask the court to approve the agreement as a final arrangement and make a court order. However, we cannot guarantee that a court will rubber stamp it as the court will look at the circumstances at the time and may wish to review the arrangements. A separation agreement can lack finality as a result. However, recent case law has indicated that the post-nuptial settlements may be given more weight now than they may have been given in the past.
This does not end your marriage and means that neither of you can remarry. However, you can resolve your finances if you judicially separate as it is approved by the court. It will preserve your right to a widow’s or widower’s pension on the death of the other but means that you cannot share a pension. You can later divorce if either of you wish and the court will decide whether it needs to review the financial arrangements or simply approve them.