When a couple separates they may not wish to have the finality of a divorce or they may not have the required period for a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. When a couple separate by way of a separation agreement or judicial separation they are not free to remarry in the future.
In these circumstances, the parties can agree on a separation agreement between them, with the assistance of mediators or solicitors. This agreement can be made a rule of court. Separation agreements usually will contain clauses regarding maintenance, custody and can outline agreement as regards property. Separation agreements cannot make provisions about pensions and these have to be dealt with by Judicial Separation or Divorce. If parties agree on a separation agreement, they cannot then seek a Judicial Separation; they can however seek a Divorce in the future.
Judicial Separations are granted by the Courts and the Court makes the relevant orders to outline how the parties will deal with property, custody, maintenance and other issues. When parties seek a judicial separation the Court can also deal with pension entitlements. There are various different grounds upon which a judicial separation can be granted.