Not every breakup has to end in divorce. Explore the options available.


Not every marriage lasts. It’s a sad fact, but that one that is, unfortunately, a part of life. Although divorce is never part of a happy couple’s plan when they tie the knot, sometimes that knot unravels and there is nothing else to do but call it quits. So much so that, since 1964, around one-third of marriages in the UK hasn’t gone the distance. In fact, it’s suggested that 42% of marriages will end in divorce.

There can be numerous reasons for divorce, and not all of them are because of one person. Sometimes marriages just don’t work, and realising that is a part of how relationships evolve. So what happens when your marriage has broken down, but you don’t want to have to go through the costly expense of getting a divorce or drag your kids through the courts? There are ways to end a marriage that don’t include divorce, and whether they work for you is only something you will know.


A healthy way of realising that your marriage has problems, and understanding that you may need an outside influence to help save your marriage, counselling is the option for those who want to try and keep the marriage going. Try counselling as a precursor to separation or divorce. There might be ways that you can reconnect and build a strong relationship together. 

Even if it doesn’t save the marriage, it can help smooth the divorce procedure, putting both sides into a place where the separation becomes a smooth amicable affair, instead of the toxic wrangling that can last years and cost thousands, creating ill-blood and pain for everyone involved. In helping each partner to understand the other’s perspective, it can pave the way for a platonic relationship which can only improve the mental and physical health of each spouse, creating a civil uncoupling. 



Not sure that your marriage is working but don’t want to jump straight into divorce? Separation may be the answer. Combined with counselling, it can help you choose the next step in your relationship. For many couples, a trial separation helps them figure out if they are happier living apart or if trying to save the marriage is worthwhile. 

Under legal separation, a couple lives apart but their marriage stays intact in the eyes of the law and as such a separation doesn’t legally terminate the marriage, nor does it generally impact the family finances, but it can be the answer to prevent the divorce from happening. And if it doesn’t, then at least you know you’ll be happier alone 



Couples that have tried counselling and are happier after separation are usually prime to divorce. But those who wish to keep the legal fees to a minimum can opt for mediation as an alternative to divorce. In mediation, a neutral party helps both partners through the different aspects of divorce, trying to find an amicable agreement. These include property division, custody and financial support. As such it can help save you from years of lawyers fees, court visits and pain. 

However, it is for couples who are only willing to be as transparent as possible, whilst doing their own due diligence. Once an agreement is reached, it’s recommended to bring in a specialist, such as our family law solicitors in Cardiff to go through the agreement and make it legally binding. 



An annulment can be an alternative to divorce in certain circumstances by showing that it was never legally valid. But it is important to look closely to see if you are eligible for an annulment as you have to meet certain criteria to declare that your marriage wasn’t legally valid. These include: You and your spouse are closely related, either you or your spouse was under 16 at the time of the marriage, either you or your spouse was already married at the time. If any of these exist, then your marriage will have never existed in the eyes of the law.

Your marriage can also be considered defective. Reasons for this include you and your partner haven’t consummated the marriage, you were drunk or coerced and therefore didn’t properly consent to the marriage, or your spouse had an STD when you were married. To have a defective marriage annulled you will still have to apply to a divorce court. 

Annulments can be complicated, so we recommend speaking to a Family Law expert to guide you through the processes. 


Conscious Uncoupling

Once a plaything of the rich and famous, conscious uncoupling is gaining traction with those couples who wish to explore alternative lifestyles to divorce. Although not legally binding, conscious uncoupling is there to undo the union with the minimum of stress. A mixture of separation, counselling and mediation, conscious uncoupling is almost a bespoke divorce, where the couple works together to figure out the best way to move forward whilst staying friends and parents. 

It aims to decrease the emotional trauma of divorce and includes the family in the decision-making process. A mature and dignified alternative, it won’t be an option for those marriages where the families are no longer on speaking terms or if the separation is particularly painful. 

Ending a relationship is never easy, but there are options to the painful and expensive divorce proceedings. Speaking to a professional can help go through the options and make the break-up of the marriage as easy as possible. For reputable specialists who are experts in family law in Cardiff, call us now on 029 2039 6087.


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