Check you can get a divorce

You can get divorced in England or Wales if all of the following are true:

  • you’ve been married for over a year
  • your relationship has permanently broken down
  • your marriage is legally recognised in the UK (including same-sex marriage)

If you are ending a civil relationship, read the guide for ending a civil partnership.

If you do not want a divorce, you can get a legal separation so you can live apart without ending the marriage. You might also be able to annul the marriage. You can apply for separation or annulment during your first year of marriage.

There is a different process if you want to get a divorce in Scotland or get a divorce in Northern Ireland.

  1. Step 1 Get support and advice

    You can get support or counselling to help you through the divorce process.

    1. Get support and advice from Relate
    2. Find a counsellor on Counselling Directory
  2. Step 2 Check if you can get divorced

  3. Step 3 Make arrangements for children, money and property

  4. Step 4 Apply for a divorce

  5. Step 5 Apply for a ‘conditional order’ or ‘decree nisi’

  6. Step 6 Finalise your divorce

  7. Step 7 Report that your circumstances have changed

    You also have to tell other government organisations that you're getting divorced if: