Get a legal separation

To get a legal separation, you need to fill in a separation application and send it to the court.

A legal separation allows you to separate, without divorcing or ending a civil partnership.

You may want a legal separation if:

  • you have religious reasons against divorce
  • you’ve been married or in a civil partnership for less than a year
  • you want time and space to work out if you want to end the marriage or civil partnership

Before you apply

You must decide whether you want to make a joint application with your husband or wife or whether you want to apply on your own.

Making a joint application with your husband or wife

You can make a joint application if both of the following apply:

  • you both agree that you should get a legal separation
  • you’re not at risk of domestic abuse

If you want to apply for help with fees, both of you must be eligible to qualify.

Make a sole application if either of the following apply:

  • your husband or wife does not agree you should get a legal separation
  • you do not think your husband or wife will cooperate or respond to notifications from the court

Arrangements for children, money and property

You and your husband or wife can choose to work out:

You can also divide your money and property.

You can usually avoid going to court hearings if you agree about children, money and property.

How to apply

Fill in a judicial separation application form.

Send 3 copies of the application to the address on the form and keep your own copy. You need to include a certified copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate when you send the form.

Getting a legal separation costs £365.

You may be able to get help with fees if you’re on benefits or a low income.

Get help or advice

You can get advice about legal paperwork and making arrangements from:

Find a legal adviser if you need legal advice.