In the United Kingdom, if you find yourself in a situation where you want to end your marriage or civil partnership permanently, various legal avenues are available to you. It is important to understand the options and requirements associated with each path. Let’s explore the different ways to dissolve your marriage or civil partnership.

Divorce or Dissolution

If you find yourself in a marriage and have decided to permanently end the marriage, applying for a divorce is the appropriate legal step in the United Kingdom. A divorce is a legal process that officially terminates a marriage and provides a formal resolution to the relationship.

The no-fault divorce system in the United Kingdom has brought about a more straightforward and amicable approach to separation. Under this system, couples can now file for divorce or civil partner dissolution without assigning blame to their former partner, alleviating the burden of proving the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

It’s important to note that the changes brought about by the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 primarily pertain to the legal proceedings involved in ending the marriage or civil partnership. These changes do not directly impact matters such as the division of finances or arrangements for children, which are separate considerations that need to be addressed independently.

Separation in Less Than a Year

If your marriage or civil partnership has lasted for less than one year, it is currently not possible to proceed with a divorce or dissolution.

However, you do have the option of obtaining a legal separation. However, waiting until you meet the requirements for a divorce or dissolution is generally advisable, as pursuing those routes is usually more favourable.

During the interim period,you and your partner can establish a separation agreement while you await the eligibility to initiate the divorce or dissolution process. This agreement allows both parties to come to a mutual understanding and define how you wish to separate, providing a framework for the eventual divorce or dissolution proceedings.

Exploring the Option of Legal Separation

In certain circumstances, obtaining a legal separation can provide a means of separating without pursuing a divorce or dissolution. Referred to as a “judicial separation,” it allows you and your partner to make formal decisions regarding financial matters and living arrangements while maintaining your married or civil partnership status.

There are situations where obtaining a legal separation may be preferable, such as when you have religious or cultural reasons for not wanting to pursue a divorce or dissolution. Additionally, if your marriage or civil partnership has lasted less than one year, a legal separation might be suitable.

The cost of obtaining a legal separation is £365, with no further costs once the fee is paid. It is important to note that only one application is required, which can be submitted jointly by you and your partner (a joint application) or individually by either you or your partner (known as a sole application).

It is worth mentioning that a legal separation does not prevent you from pursuing a divorce or dissolution at a later date if you so choose. However, an additional fee will be required if you opt for a divorce or dissolution in the future.

Final Thoughts

If you want to end your marriage or civil partnership in the UK permanently, you have options like divorce, dissolution, or legal separation. Divorce allows for a formal termination, while a legal separation lets you make decisions on finances and living arrangements without ending the marriage.

If you’ve been together for less than a year, waiting for divorce or dissolution is usually better. In the meantime, you can create a separation agreement. Legal separation doesn’t prevent future divorce or dissolution but requires an additional fee. Seek legal advice for guidance.