It depends on whether you are married or in a civil partnership or not. If you aren’t married or in a civil partnership, then clearly there is no legal process to go through to ‘officially’ end your relationship. If you are married, then there is, of course, divorce (as well as a number of other less common ways to end your relationship) or dissolution for a civil partnership.
For couples contemplating life apart there are a number of major issues that need to be considered whether you are married or not:
- Children: Where will they live? How will they keep in touch with you and your ex?
- Your home: Do you own or rent? Who will pay the rent or mortgage? Will you have to sell or move out?
- Finances: Do you have joint or separate accounts? How will you split savings accounts? What about joint debts? What about benefit entitlements? What about pensions and life insurance policies?
- Wills: Do you need to change the terms of your will (if for example, you planned to leave all your possessions to your former partner)?
Thanks very much to Punam Denley, a partner at the International Family Law Group LLP for reviewing and to David Hodson, also partner at the International Family Law Group LLP, who reviewed an earlier version which appeared in A Parent’s Guide to the Law by Jon Robins (LawPack , 2009). Stephen Lawson, a litigation partner at Forshaws Davies Ridgway LLP assisted with the section on the CSA.
Jon is editor of the Justice Gap. He is a freelance journalist. Jon's books include The First Miscarriage of Justice (Waterside Press, 2014), The Justice Gap (LAG, 2009) and People Power (Daily Telegraph/LawPack, 2008). Jon is a journalism lecturer at Winchester University and a visiting senior fellow in access to justice at the University of Lincoln. He is twice winner of the Bar Council's journalism award (2015 and 2005) and is shortlisted for this year's Criminal Justice Alliance's journalism award