Can I Divorce Without Separation?

Deciding to divorce is not an easy thing to do, whether it is your decision or your spouse’s. This can often be devastating for a family and the longer the divorce takes time the more stressful it becomes for the family members. And this is why most people want a quick divorce.

But, getting a divorce is not that easy and quick, as, in many states, the spouses need to stay separate before the court grant a divorce. Now, you may be wondering, can I divorce without separation?

Well, you will find the answer in this guide. To know in detail, let’s get into it.

Does Divorce Mean Separation?

Does Divorce Mean SeparationNo, divorce doesn’t mean separation. Practically, divorce and separation are two different things. A legal separation is actually a court order that binds couples rights and duties while they are still married but living separately.

Usually, both husband and wife start living separately by moving apart after getting court approval on the legal separation agreement. This agreement includes the terms for property division, ends of the financial connection, arrangement of child custody, and child support between two parties.

On the other side, in divorce, there is no binding between the two parties as it dissolves the marriage entirely. And apart from this major difference, other things of divorce are quite similar to the separation process.

However, in both these processes, the couple will get separated financially and get legal oversight for the child(ren) custody and support.

Can I Divorce Without Separation?

Can I Divorce Without SeparationDepending on the state you live in, you may have no choice but to separate. Again, there are many states that require a spouse to separate for a specific period of time, based on the state’s divorce grounds before a court grant the divorce. In this case, each state has different rules, for example,

  • In Ireland, the spouse must live apart from each other for at least 2 out of the previous 3 years. And then, you can apply for a divorce. Here you can stay in the same house, but you and your spouse can’t live together as a married couple in a committed and intimate relationship.
  • People in North Carolina can file for a divorce after living separately and apart without cohabitation from the spouce4 for a period of one year.
  • A Pennsylvania court will grant a divorce based on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown if the parties have been living separately for at least one year.

But, is there any way to get the divorce done without any separation or can I divorce without separation?

Well, yes, you can.

In many states, especially, no-fault divorce states, there is no need to live desperately before the divorce. For example, Florida, California, Texas, etc., are some states where couples don’t require getting separated.

So, if you are living in such states, you are not bound to live apart, rather you are free to live in the same house with your spouse while the divorce process is pending.

How You Can Get A Divorce Without Separation In Ireland?

How You Can Get A Divorce Without Separation In IrelandIf you and your spouse can’t agree on the terms of living separately, you can apply for a decree of judicial separation to the Circuit Court or the High Court. It is a legal document that ensures that you and your spouse are free from the marital bond or no longer obliged to live together as a married couple.

In this case, when you apply for the decree of divorce, the court will look out for –

  • The grounds for the application exists.
  • The couple has been given adequate advice on counseling and mediation.
  • Appropriate arrangements have been made for the welfare of any dependents.

When the court finds that you have met the above three conditions, it will grant a decree of judicial separation. The court will also order custody and access to your children, maintenance, and payment of a handful, transfer of property, execution of inheritance rights, etc.

However, it will be great if you can get a family law solicitors Dublin free consultation before you take any steps.

Note: Remember, you can’t remarry as the decree of judicial separation does not give the right.  Also, if you are already in a forced separation agreement, you cannot apply for the judicial separation.

What Are The Grounds Of A Judicial Separation?

You can apply for the judicial separation to the court only if you face one of the following grounds. The other party must treat you as one of the following.

  • Adultery
  • You have been treated in such a way by your spouse that you can’t even think about continuing to live with that person.
  • You have been deserted for at least 1 year at the time of the application.
  • Both of you are living separated for at least one year at the time of the application.
  • If there is no marital relationship between the husband and wife for at least one year before.
  • The couple is living apart for 2 out of the previous 3 years.

If you can prove any of these, you can apply for a judicial separation. While applying, you must submit the following documents to the Circuit Court.

  • An application form (family law civil bill).
  • A sworn statement of means (Form 37A).
  • A sworn statement of the welfare of your children (Form 37B).
  • A sworn document by a solicitor certifying that you have been advised of the alternatives to judicial separation (Form 37D).

Is It Better To Be Legally Separated Or Divorced?

This totally depends on the situation and understanding of the couple. There are so many reasons you may have to go for either a separation or divorce. For example-

Reasons To Consider A Separation:

  • When couples are not sure about divorce because divorce can end their marriage completely and there will be no chance to make things up. While a separation, still gives you the chance of protecting yourself financially.
  • For religious reasons.
  • When you are in need of health insurance coverage, from the other spouse’s job.
  • If you and your spouse have to continue filing taxes jointly to utilize the tax benefits.
  • If you want to receive Social Security and military benefits from your spouse’s this case, you need to be married for at least 10 years.

Reasons To Choose A Divorce:

  • When there is no chance of having any financial benefit, from legal separation.
  • You just need to end your marriage
  • If you want to get married again.
  • When both parties don’t want to make medical or financial decisions for one another.


When it comes to getting a divorce, there are so many things that you need to consider. In fact, you will have so many questions in your mind, and one of the most common questions is can I divorce without separation?

Because every state has its own laws regarding divorce, it will be great to hire a family lawyer to sort things and help you to make the best decision. Finally, we hope you have found this guide helpful to get the answer.

Still, if you have any questions in your mind you can leave them in the comment section below. Or, you can feel free to contact us regarding any family law-related issues.

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