In some circumstances you may wish to formally separate but not dissolve your marriage for cultural or religious reasons. In this scenario you are able to formally record your separation with the court but you remain married. You do not need to wait for 12 months from the date of your marriage to enter into a judicial separation, like divorce, and you do not have to confirm that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. You remain married but the obligation to cohabit is terminated; although you cannot remarry until the marriage has been dissolved formally.

As you remain married, your entitlement to your spouse’s pension (for instance) will remain unchanged, which cannot be said if you were to divorce. However, you have the right to apply for the same financial claims as if you were divorcing, thereby dismissing your financial claims in the future.

If you wish to separate on an informal basis you have another option: you can draft a separation agreement setting out the arrangements for the physical separation and dealing with any financial issues. This may be appropriate where there are young children involved or where the parties wish to wait two or five years before divorcing. You remain married so your financial claims remain ‘live’ and will need to be dealt with at the same time as the divorce.

Our Family Law Team can advise you on your options regarding separation and can act for you in the event you wish to separate. For more information, or to book an initial meeting with one of our Solicitors, please contact our Family Law Team on 020 3096 7500 or email

  • “I want to thank you so much Sarah for being so calm, professional, compassionate and expeditious. It really helped me a lot through this tough time and it allowed the pre-nup to be much better drafted than if it had just been drafted by the other side!”

    – Mrs L.M, London

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  • “It was a stressful situation for me and you made it much easier with how you put me at ease from our first meeting, handled everything along the way and kept me updated (and answered all my many, many questions!!) all the way through. Thanks very much!!!”

    Mrs N.G, Essex

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  • Sarah has been very understanding and more importantly very honest throughout this very difficult period. She has been reliable and has always updated me regularly with my options and what the likely consequences will be. I would recommend her services to anyone who wants a honest, clear and no nonsense service.

    Ms R.S, London

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  • “Divorce is an unavoidably stressful situation but from the moment PCM took over my case until it was concluded I always felt it was in safe hands and this made it much easier to deal with.”

    – Mr J.H. Yorkshire

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  • Caroline, a huge thank you to you and your colleagues for the smooth and sensitive way in which you have handled a very difficult situation. I have always found you friendly, polite, professional yet supportive, knowledgeable and your no-nonsense approach has really been appreciated. I have no hesitation in both using and recommending PCM due in no small part to how good both you (and Paul in the past) have handled my issues. My sincere thanks to you and your team”.

    – Ms T.L, Wimbledon

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  • “Caroline has been an extremely amicable solicitor to deal with during a time of immense stress. Suffice to say I have already returned to her for help with other matters.”

    – Mr P.A, London (SE1)

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