(Updated 21/07/2023)

Information and advice on relationship counselling, separation and divorce.

Deciding what to do when you separate:

When you separate from your partner, there are things you’ll need to work out.

The partner you’re separating from could be your husband, wife or civil partner – even if you’re not divorcing or ending your civil partnership straight away. You need to have been married for at least 1 year before you can divorce or end your civil partnership.

It could also be a partner you live with or have children with, but who isn’t your husband, wife or civil partner.

When you separate from your partner, you might need to work out things like:

    where your children will live and how often they’ll see the parent they don’t live with, where you’re going to live, how to divide up any money or belongings you share, whether you’ll be able to afford to pay the bills once you’re living separately

If you’re in the UK as a dependant on your partner’s visa, you’ll also need to check if you can stay –  check if you can stay in the UK on a visa after separation or a divorce.

Don’t feel pressured into a decision that’s not right for you. You’ll have a better chance of reaching an agreement if you wait until you’re ready to talk.

Agreeing your separation arrangements:

You don’t have to go to court to decide what to do when you separate unless you really can’t agree with each other.

It can be cheaper and quicker to figure out the arrangements yourselves, but even if you do agree, it’s a good idea to talk to a solicitor.

Getting a divorce:

The divorce process will end your marriage. You can only get a divorce if you’ve been married for at least one year.

You might be able to get divorced without needing a solicitor or going to court if you and your ex-partner can agree you both want a divorce, and on the reason why.

If you or your partner won’t agree to getting a divorce it’ll take more time and cost more money than if you both agree.

If you agree on your divorce and the reasons why, getting a divorce legally finalised will usually take 4 to 6 months. It might take longer if you need to sort out issues with money, property or children, which will have to be done separately.

Don’t use websites that promise cheap divorce packages. You’ll still have to pay the divorce application fee.

Before you apply:

You should try to agree your reason for your divorce with your ex-partner. Find out more about which of the 5 facts you should use, known as ‘grounds for divorce’ to show your marriage has broken down.

If you’ve decided the fact you want to rely on is 2 years separation with consent, you’ll need to have permission from your ex-partner to divorce. If they don’t give permission, you can’t rely on this fact.

If your partner disagrees with the divorce (sometimes called a ‘defended divorce’) or you can’t agree who should pay the divorce fee or other costs, you might need legal advice or to go to court.

If you’re relying on 5 years without the consent of your partner, it’s very unlikely you’ll need to go to court. However, you should probably get legal advice.

You need your marriage certificate to help you fill in the details on the form correctly – for example, the address of where you got married. If you fill in any of the details wrong, your application will be sent back to you.

For a more detailed explanation on separation & divorce click on the links below:


Ending a marriage


Back to categories
Report Incorrect Information

Quick Exit