Get a divorce

1. Check you can get a divorce

You can get a divorce in England or Wales if you’ve been married at least a year and your relationship has permanently broken down.

You must have a marriage that’s legally recognised in the UK - this includes same-sex marriage. You must usually also have a permanent home in England or Wales.

If you don’t 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.

Getting a divorce is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

How to get a divorce

You must send paperwork to a court to apply for a divorce.

Separate from the paperwork, you and your ex-partner need to work out:

You also need to divide your money and property. There’s a deadline if you want to make this legally binding.

You can usually avoid going to court hearings if you agree about children, money and property and the reasons for ending your marriage.

Get help agreeing on issues

You can use a mediator. Check if you can get legal aid to help pay for mediation.

You can also get advice on making agreements from: