My relationship has broken down, what steps do I need to take?
If you are married, you cannot begin divorce proceedings unless you have been married for over a year. A Divorce Petition must be issued by the court stating the marriage has "irretrievably broken down" based on one of five facts: adultery (not applicable if you are in a same sex relationship), unreasonable behaviour, two years' separation with consent, five years' separation without consent or desertion.
If you are not married, you don't have to prove that your relationship has broken down or go through any formal procedure to end it. At present, you do not have the same rights to make financial claims against your partner as married couples do, however if you have children together you may be able to make claims for income, capital or property under the Children Act.
Married or not, the court will not make arrangements for the future care of your children unless one of you issues a court application. See our web site page Family Law - Children