If you live in Darlington and are considering getting a divorce, it is advisable to seek legal advice at an early stage. A solicitor can help you consider your options and will go through the divorce process with you. There are many Darlington divorce solicitors but Macks Solicitors have built up a reputation of quality advice and a caring service and are proud to say that many of our clients come to us following personal recommendations. We believe we stand out from other solicitors firms in the area and are proud of the standard of service we offer.

Many people don’t realise that divorce is not the only option when you decide to end your marriage. ‘Judicial separation’ is an option if you want to split from your partner but don’t necessarily want to legally end your marriage or civil partnership. A court will issue a decree or order to say that you are legally separated. You can apply for this at any point after getting married; you don’t need to wait until a year after the marriage, as you do with divorce.

A judicial separation may be preferable to divorce for some people. It can give you the opportunity to take some time away from the marriage to consider its future. Some people may not want to get divorced for religious reasons and so a legal separation may be preferable. For example, under the Catholic faith, a divorced Catholic is not allowed to receive communion in church. A marriage is only recognised as over by the church if it is annulled (which means the marriage was not valid and is different from divorce). Therefore, a Catholic couple may consider a judicial separation as a way of legalising their separation but may not wish to get a divorce because of the implications for their religion.

To apply for a judicial separation, you need to submit an application to the court. You can also get a consent order which is a legally binding agreement regarding various issues including the division of finances. An agreement could also include arrangements for any children as well as any other conditions such as not disturbing each other or restricting access to the family home.

A couple who had been married for 12 years sought a judicial separation. The husband was transferred as part of his job for 6 months. The couple decided that they would not relocate with their 11 year old son because it would disrupt his schooling. At the end of the 6 months, the company requested that the husband spend another 6 months away and he agreed. Again, the couple agreed that they would not permanently relocate. It was at this point that the husband revealed that he had been having an affair. He continued the affair for another 6 months until it out of the ended and he returned to the family home. However, he made it clear that he did not want to reconcile the marriage; he had returned in order to be near his son. The couple slept in separate bedrooms and led separate lives, eating together only when their son was home. They shared bills and maintained a joint bank account. This continued for 3 years until the husband moved family home and the couple sought advice about a judicial separation.

Another couple were married for 10 years, with 2 children, aged 6 and 8. Since the birth of their first child, they had had difficulties in their marriage, including four occasions of domestic violence. Their mortgage payments had fallen into arrears by 3 months. They sought legal advice and were granted a judicial separation as the marriage had broken down. Part of the considerations prior to the finalising of the separation agreement were whether the wife would be able to buy out her husband’s share of the family home and whether she would need to change from part-time to full-time hours in order to be able to do this. The children would stay with their mother as primary care-giver with access arrangements made for them to see their father.

A judicial separation may be used as a step prior to divorce or may be a permanent solution if a couple want to formalise a separation but don’t necessarily want to legally divorce. Going through a divorce or a judicial separation can be a difficult time. Emotions may run high and difficult agreements must be reached about finances and arrangements for children. Macks are one of the best Darlington divorce solicitors and can assist you with the process of either a divorce or a judicial separation. We can also help you draw up the arrangements for a consent order which will act as a formal agreement regarding the division of finances. At this difficult time, it is important to have a firm on your side with the expertise and experience to guide you through the process.

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