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. These people can explore with you (either separately or together) whether there is a chance of reconciliation. If there is not, they can offer you support during separation.
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. It is sometimes used where couples wish to keep the door open to reconciliation – parties can concentrate on rebuilding their relationship without the stress caused by potential financial disputes.
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 approve it the circumstances at the time of separation may greatly differ to the situation upon the actual divorce. Arrangements may need to be reviewed. A separation agreement can lack finality but recent case law has indicated that such agreements are being given more weight than in the past.
This does not end your marriage and means that neither of you can remarry. However, it allows you to resolve your finances with a final court order but will preserve your right to a widow’s or widower’s pension on the death of the other. You can later divorce if of you wish. The ongoing financial arrangements may need to be review or the Court may simply approve them as a final Order.