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

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

You can ask for a legal separation for the same reasons you could file for a divorce, eg:

  • adultery
  • unreasonable behaviour

However, you don’t need to show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

You may want a legal separation if:

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

Fill in a judicial separation petition - form D8.

Send 2 copies of the petition to your nearest divorce court, 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 court fees if you’re on benefits or a low income.

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