Judicial Separation, Annulment or Divorce?

a couple talking to a lawyer

When a marriage fails, it may seem like the only option is divorce. However, in the UK there are other options depending on the circumstances. The 3 legal recourses following marital failure are: judicial separation, annulment and divorce.

Figuring out which of these is applicable and what’s involved can be made much easier with the guidance of a divorce solicitor in London, such as Saracens Solicitors.

Below is a quick rundown of the basics of judicial separation, annulment and divorce:

Judicial Separation

This is where the court declares a couple legally separated. They are therefore not divorced, nor are they able to marry anyone else. The couple remains married to each other, but are no longer bound by the duty to live together.

Judicial separation is often sought when couples feel they need time and space to decide whether they really want to go down the route of divorce. It is also chosen for religious reasons or in cases where couples have been married for less than a year and one party needs court-ordered financial support. Unlike divorce, judicial separation can be obtained at any point during a marriage.


This brings a legal end to a marriage by either declaring that the marriage is not now valid or was never valid in the first place. Annulment is possible if the husband and wife are closely related or are of the same gender, or if either party entered into the marriage when they were aged under 16 years or already married or in a civil partnership.

Annulment is often sought due to religious or cultural reasons, where divorce is not an acceptable choice.


Divorce is the legal ending of a marriage due to irreconcilable differences. These differences are based on specific grounds for divorce, which include adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, separation of 2 years when both parties agree to divorce or separation after 5 years when one party does not agree. A London divorce solicitor can advise further on how to prove when one or more of these grounds for divorce have been met.

Whether considering divorce, annulment or judicial separation, a divorce solicitor in London can make going through the process as free from unnecessary stress as possible.