For some people, going through divorce proceedings isn’t an option – there may be religious, or emotional reasons for not doing it just yet.

Judicial separation is where the court accepts that people who are married no longer live together, but they are not free to remarry.

Judicial separation allows people to have the court make decisions about financial matters (with the exception of pensions), even though they are not divorced.

The procedure is very similar to that of divorce, but there is only one decree – the decree of judicial separation, rather than decree nisi, and decree absolute of divorce.

What are the grounds for judicial separation?

The grounds are the same for that of divorce. More information can be seen in our divorce and separation FAQ section.

How long does a judicial separation take?

Generally a judicial separation which is straight forward takes between 5 and 6 months. There may be instances when the judicial separation can take longer, for example when the person who is responding to it would prefer to go for divorce rather than judicial separation, or where there are financial matters to resolve, or where a respondent takes a long time in returning the paperwork.

What happens if the respondent does not return the paperwork?

To get your decree of judicial separation you have to satisfy a court that you have served the Respondent with the papers.

This will mean that you may have to either arrange to get an enquiry agent/process server to serve the papers, or alternatively, you will have to make an application to get the Court Bailiffs to serve them. There is a court fee to pay for the bailiffs to serve the papers but it is generally cheaper than arranging for an enquiry agent. However, bailiffs generally do not work outside of court hours – 10 – 4pm, so an enquiry agent may be more likely to be successful.

One you have the report back confirming they have served them after a short period, you can apply for your decree of judicial separation, even though the Respondent hasn’t returned the papers.

Can we obtain a judicial separation even if we live under the same roof?

Yes you can, provided that you can confirm to the Court that even though you are living under the same roof, you are maintaining separate households. This means that you have to confirm to the court that you are not sharing meals, you are not sharing a bed, you do not have sex, you do not cook and clean for each other, and that your finances are, as far as possible, separated. The Judge may ask for a statement from each of you to confirm that is the position.

Free Enquiry

Service options & fixed fees

There is a court fee of £365 to issue a judicial separation petition.

Checking service

Here we send you out the forms to apply for judicial separation with some guidance notes.

We then check to see if your forms are correctly filled in. We will return to you with any amendments necessary.

You will then lodge the paperwork with the Court, and then will ask us to provide the further forms for you to complete and obtain a decree absolute.

The cost of this service is £195 plus VAT of £39 – total £234

Help service

Here we complete the forms necessary for you to apply for a judicial separation, and provide you with information to guide you through the various stages of the judicial separation. You will send the paperwork to the Court, and when you receive that back you will provide us with court correspondence so we can prepare the rest of the documentation to assist you through the process of judicial separation.

The cost of this service is £395 plus VAT of £79 – total of £474

Fixed fee

Here we go on the Court record as acting for you, and we prepare all the paperwork and send it out to the Court for you, so we take away all the administrative responsibility for the judicial separation itself.

The cost of this service is £695 plus VAT total of £834.

Hourly / Bespoke

Here you pay by the hour for the service of a solicitor or legal executive, which means that you will get a service that is tailored to your personal needs and requirements. Because of this, the cost will vary from person to person. This will particularly suit clients who are very anxious about the judicial separation proceedings, who need a lot of reassurance. We ask for £500 on account of our costs at the outset of the case, and we will ask for further money as and when we send you an invoice.

Our hourly rates are £201 plus VAT per hour for Vicky Medd and £175 plus VAT for Johanna Allen