Skip to content
Divorce, separation and civil 3C


Who can get a judicial separation?

You can obtain a judicial separation if you are married or in a civil partnership, provided either you or your partner’s permanent home is in England or Wales, or either of you has been a resident here for the whole of the preceding year.

Why choose judicial separation over a divorce or dissolution?

  • If you are opposed to a divorce or dissolution for religious or ethical reasons
  • If you and your partner have not been married or in a civil partnership for a year and wish to formalise your relationship breakdown

How can you get a judicial separation?

You’ll need to establish one of the following facts in order to get a judicial separation:

  • Your partner has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to continue to live together
  • Your partner has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect you to continue to live together
  • Your partner has deserted you for a continuous period of two years or more
  • You and your partner have lived separately for two years or more and your partner agrees to the judicial separation
  • You and your partner have been living separately for five years or more, whether or not your partner consents to the judicial separation

The steps

The steps differ depending on your particular circumstances. It is a good idea to try and obtain your partner’s consent to a petition for judicial separation. Also, if you can agree on its contents, this will make the process much easier.

The petition contains basic details such as your names, addresses and the ages of your children, as well as the fact upon you wish to rely to obtain a judicial separation. This is sent to the court with your marriage certificate and you’ll be required to pay a fee. Once the court has received your petition and is happy that you’ve met the requirements, a Decree of Separation is pronounced. This means that you and your partner remain married or in a civil partnership, but you are not required to live together.

Financial Issues

The court can exercise all the powers it has in the case of a divorce to divide your finances however it cannot make a pension sharing order. Please see our pensions page for more information. Financial issues do not need to be completed by the Decree of Judicial Separation. In fact, it is common for complicated financial issues to still to be in the early stages.

Latest News & Blogs

Civil partnerships update

A welcome change to family law coming in May 2019 will allow mixed-sex couples the option of entering into a civil partnership, instead of a traditional marriage.

National single parent day

One in four children lives with only one parent in the UK. Some parents are single by design, others as a result of relationship breakdown. Whatever your circumstances, here are some important things to think about on National Single Parent Day.

Contact our Family Law specialists

Sign up to our newsletters - receive updates on our latest legal topics and news