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3 Divorce and Separation

1. Introduction

This leaflet outlines your legal position if you are married or in a civil partnership and considering separation or divorce.

It explains: 

  • Where to start
  • Separation
  • Divorce
  • If you have children
  • Supporting your children
  • Money and property
  • Making arrangements should you die
  • Dealing with emergencies
  • Terms used in divorce and family law.

This leaflet explains how the law applies to married couples as well as civil partners. Throughout the leaflet, we use the word 'partner' to mean a husband, wife or civil partner, and 'married' to mean either being married or in a civil partnership. However, it does not apply to partners who are not married or in a civil partnership.

The law is mostly the same for marriages and civil partnerships, but where there are differences we explain them. Sometimes just the legal words are different. For example, the equivalent of divorce for civil partners is officially called 'dissolution', but throughout the leaflet we use 'divorce' for both married couples and civil partners.

You may be feeling very upset and bitter as you are reading this leaflet. Family break-ups bring out the worst in most of us. But try to remember that if you do decide to divorce or separate, there are advantages in trying to keep things civil between you and your partner.

  • In the first place, the legal proceedings will cost less. There is no point wasting money over an argument if there is another way of reaching an agreement.
  • If you have children, a bitter fight will only harm them. Try to put them first.
  • A fight will also be more damaging for you. Once the divorce is over you will have to get on with the rest of your life. It is harder to do this if you know that you have behaved badly.
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There is information on:

2. Where to start

3. Separation

4. Divorce

5. If you have children

6. Supporting your children

7. Money and property

8. Making arrangements should you die

9. Dealing with emergencies

10. Terms used in divorce and family law

11. Further Help

12. About this leaflet







This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Imogen Clout, a solicitor specialising in family law.

Leaflet version: May 2007




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