Divorce & Relationship Breakdown

We understand that the breakdown of a relationship can be a challenging and stressful time. Our highly professional and experienced team are on-hand to help make the process as straight-forward as it can be for our clients.

Relationships can breakdown for a number of reasons, and typically involve either divorce, judicial separation or the dissolution of a civil partnership. We can help guide you through the most appropriate course of action for your circumstances.

We have provided a summary of each of the three types of formal separation below. For more detailed information, or to find out how we can support you during this difficult time, please contact us directly.


Anyone who has been married for over one year, and is ‘domiciled’ or resident in England or Wales for the preceding year, can commence divorce proceedings where there is an ‘irretrievable breakdown of the marriage’. This must be proved through one of the following facts:

  • Adultery of the spouse (not applicable in civil partnerships)
  • Unreasonable behaviour of the spouse
  • Two years separation with the consent of the spouse (parties have not lived together for two years before filing the petition)
  • Five years separation (parties have not lived together for two years before filing the petition)
  • Desertion by your spouse for a period of at least two years.

From April 2022 it will be become possible to submit a petition based on ‘no fault’, simplifying the process and removing the need to give details of unreasonable behaviour or adultery. We can advise on the advantages and disadvantages of waiting for this new option.

Further details relating to divorce proceedings, timescales and costs can be found by speaking to one of our specialist team as detailed below.

Civil partnership

Some couples secure legal recognition of their relationship through a Civil Partnership. Where the relationship has broken down, the couple may end their partnership through the Courts, with a ‘Dissolution’.

As with divorce, the parties cannot apply for the dissolution of a civil partnership for one year from the date of entering into the partnership, and the parties must prove that the relationship has irretrievably broken down. The facts relied upon are the same as for divorce, with the exception of adultery, which is not applicable in this case.

For further information relating to the process, timescales and costs relating to the dissolution of a civil partnership, please get in touch with a member of the team.

Judicial separation

If you have not been married for a year, or if one party is opposed to the divorce, you may choose to apply for a judicial separation. Whilst in this case, the Court will declare that the parties no longer have a duty to cohabit, it does not dissolve the marriage and as such the parties are not free to remarry.

The procedure is similar to that of divorce, and one of the five facts to show that there is an ‘irretrievable breakdown of the marriage’ must also be proved.

For further information relating to the process, timescales and costs of a judicial separation, please get in touch with the Family department.

Get in touch

Want to know more about Family Law? Get in touch and speak to one of our team.