Separating or divorcing: what you need to do

There are certain things you need to do when you separate from your partner in England or Wales.

What you do is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If you have children

You and your ex-partner must share financial support for your children (‘child maintenance’).

You also need to make arrangements for looking after your children.

Agreeing these things is separate from doing legal paperwork to officially end your relationship.

If you’re married or in a civil partnership

You need to divide your money and property. If you want this to be legally binding, you must apply to a court before finalising legal paperwork to divorce or end your civil partnership.

Dividing money and property is different if you’re not married or in a civil partnership.

Ending your marriage

Get a divorce to officially end your marriage.

If you do not want a divorce, you can:

Ending your civil partnership

You can officially end your civil partnership.

Get a legal separation instead if you want to live apart without ending the civil partnership.

Get help or advice

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

Find a legal adviser if you need legal advice.

Get support and advice from Relate.