What happens when you separate without divorcing?

When marriages break down, not all couples choose to divorce straight away. Some couples separate emotionally, physically and practically, but not legally. Occasionally some couples stay like this for many years and either don’t divorce or put it off for a surprisingly long time.

The upside of this is not having to go through the divorce process, but downsides include continuing to be the legal next of kin of someone you are no longer attached to and your situation causing difficulties with new partners.

Why stay married after separating?

Reasons for couples not divorcing after separation are complex and varied. For some, they simply don’t get round to it. If couples own a home together and have children, they may focus purely on sorting out selling the house and settling the children rather than the divorce process.

If couples separate due to adultery, some people feel uneasy about having that reason cited on a legal document. Similarly, some couples will prefer to wait 3 or 5 years to be able to cite separation, instead of engaging in a blame game for the cause of the marriage break down. Some couples are spooked by headline-making celebrity divorces, unfair settlements, uncontrollable divorce fees and other myths surrounding the divorce process. Whatever the reason for not going through the divorce process, it is important to make yourself aware of the legal implications.

Update your will

You probably want to think about death as much as you do divorce. However, if you are legally married and you pop your clogs intestate, your legal spouse will be your next of kin. Do you want this to happen? You may prefer that your worldly goods go to your parents, siblings, new partner, or the local cat rescue centre. When you are certain that the separation is permanent, ensure you update your will.

Consider new partners

You may not consider your legal state to be important, but new partners may feel differently. They may wish to have children with you, to marry or both. You leave them in a precarious situation by staying married to someone else. Laws in England and Wales still lack protection for cohabiting couples and this will be made worse if someone is married to someone else.

Divorce does not have to be a complex or expensive process. If you are both living separate lives and have sorted out financial and familial arrangements between you then the process will be simple.

What happens when you get caught cheating

When you are married, getting caught cheating is one of the worst things that can happen for you and your spouse. People cheat on their spouses for a myriad of different reasons. At one end of the spectrum, the marriage may be on its last legs and someone meets someone with whom they will share… Continue Reading

When your spouse leaves you for a same sex relationship

When someone’s spouse leaves them for someone else, it is always heart breaking. The abandoned spouse is left feeling angry, betrayed and left questioning their entire marriage. Often their self-esteem takes a huge knock. However, when your spouse leaves to embark on a same sex relationship, there is another whole level of emotions. If from… Continue Reading

Coping after a divorce check list

Going through a divorce is an intense process. Often all the paperwork and admin can take up so much time and energy that there is no space left to deal with the emotional impact. All the emotions can then suddenly hit after the divorce, leaving the divorcee feeling lost and empty. If this is you,… Continue Reading

What to do when all your relationships are a disaster

Some people breeze through life floating from one satisfying relationship to another, before settling with a wonderful partner ‘til death do them part. For others it is one disaster after another, often with the same plot line being played out in each relationship. The person often doesn’t have any noticeable character flaws and can have… Continue Reading

How to cope when your kids are with your ex

If you are newly divorced and sharing the care of your children for the first time, you will be introduced to a whole new selection of worries and anxieties. While your children are young and you are in the throws of parenting, the thought of a couple of days away from them can seem like… Continue Reading

How to look after your mental health during divorce

Looking after your mental health during a divorce is incredibly important. Divorce is a very stressful process that can lead to long term depression or other mental health issues if you don’t take care of yourself. It is vital that you see your GP if you need some help, but here are some small things… Continue Reading

How Good Preparation Can Make Divorce Easier

Divorce is never easy and is something that no one thinks they will go through, although many do. For a huge variety of reasons marriages come to an end and it is a difficult time for the couple, their family and their friends. If your marriage is coming to an end there are some things… Continue Reading

What should you do with your rings after you divorce?

After the paperwork is signed and finished and you have embarked on the next stage of your life without your ex spouse, you may still find yourself in possession of a very physical reminder of your marriage – your rings. So much emphasis is placed on the engagement and wedding rings in our society, that… Continue Reading