Formally bringing your marriage or civil partnership to an end requires a divorce or dissolution. This means going through legal processes that involve applications to the court so that you become a single person again. If your partner agrees to the divorce or dissolution, the process is conducted on paper and there will be no need for either of you to attend a court hearing.
Most couples are able to agree that a divorce should go ahead, even if there is a dispute over the financial agreements or the children. If your partner doesn't agree, the process will involve court hearings and you should take the advice of a solicitor (see Useful links).
The divorce or dissolution is separate from the procedures that deal with your financial agreements (see The financial settlement) and, if applicable, the maintenance and care of your children (see If you have children).
There are two stages to the divorce procedure, find out more information on these stages in this section.Find out more about divorce
Civil partnership dissolution is similar to divorce but has a few key differences. Find out more about the steps involved in this process.Find out more about civil partnership dissolution
The cost of divorce or civil partnership dissolution can be quite high if not managed carefully. Find out more information on how to manage these costs.Find out more about managing the cost
You may wish to represent yourself rather than instruct solicitors to present your case for you.Find out more about Representing yourself
You need to think about how to keep your financial position as stable as possible until you have sorted out final agreements.Find out more about Temporary agreements
The settlement you receive depends on a number of factors. Find out more about how a settlement is agreed.Find out more about the financial settlement
As soon as it is clear you are separating, there are a number of immediate steps you should take to protect yourself.Find out more about the immediate action list
At the beginning or during the process, you may find that you need help and advice from a professional such as a mediator or solicitor.Find out more about Professional help and advice
It is possible that in the future , you or your spouse, civil partner or partner's circumstances will change.Find out more about Future considerations