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Separating – What you need to know

The breakdown of your relationship is never easy and we know that you won’t have come to the decision to separate easily.

Our specialist team is on hand to advise, guide and support you through the process and to make it as stress-free as possible.

If you are in a civil partnership or married you can apply to end (‘dissolve’) your union if you have been in the partnership or married for at least a year.

There are three main steps to ending a civil partnership or marriage:

  1. File a dissolution petition – you have to apply to court for permission to end your union , and show reasons why you want to split up
  2. Apply for a conditional order – this is when a court will confirm you are entitled to dissolve the relationship
  3. Apply for a final order – this legally ends your civil partnership or marriage – you need to wait six weeks after you get the conditional order before you can apply

The law prescribes that to be entitled to a dissolution the relationship must have “irretrievably broken down” and that you have good reason for ending the civil partnership or marriage.

There are four grounds for ending a civil partnership/marriage:

  1. Unreasonable behavior – this means that your partner has behaved so badly that you no longer wish to live with them. This could include verbal or physical abuse, being irresponsible with money, being sexually unfaithful, being untrustworthy or disrespectful.
  2. Desertion – your partner has left you for more than two years in the past two and a half years without your agreement or good reason
  3. You have lived apart for more than two years – you can get dissolution if you have lived apart for more than two years, and both agree to end the civil partnership
  4. You have lived apart for more than five years – living apart for more than five years is usually enough to end a civil partnership, even if your civil partner disagrees

Our team’s experience and knowledge can help you with all aspects concerning your separation, including separating your finances and advising you on the necessary arrangements for children that may be involved.

Contact our Family Law specialists

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