If you agree

You do not have to do any official paperwork if you agree about child arrangements.

You can write down what you’ve agreed in a Parenting Plan if you want a record.

If you want to make your agreement legally binding, a solicitor can help with the paperwork.

Making your agreement legally binding

You can get a solicitor to draft a ‘consent order’ if you want a legally binding agreement. Find a solicitor.

A consent order is a legal document that confirms your agreement. It can include details about how you’ll look after your children, such as:

  • where they live
  • when they spend time with each parent
  • when and what other types of contact take place (phone calls, for example)

You and your ex-partner both have to sign the draft consent order. You’ll also need to get the consent order approved.

You or your ex-partner need to fill in the C100 court form. Your solicitor can help with the form.

Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), your C100 form will be processed faster if you submit it online than if you send it by post.

Tick the box to show that you’re ‘applying for an order to formalise an agreement (consent order)’. You will not need to show that you’ve tried mediation.

Send all of the following to your nearest court that deals with cases involving children:

  • the original C100 form
  • 3 copies of the form
  • your draft consent order

Keep a copy of both the form and the draft consent order for yourself.

You need to pay the court a £215 fee. You may be able to get help with court fees if you’re on benefits or a low income.

After the court gets your paperwork

There’s usually no court hearing. A judge will approve your consent order to make it legally binding if they think you’ve made decisions in your children’s interest.

If the judge does not think your consent order is in your children’s interest they can:

  • change your consent order
  • make a different court order to decide what’s best for your children
  1. Step 1 Get support and advice

    You can get support or counselling to help you through the divorce process.

    1. Get support and advice from Relate
    2. Find a counsellor on Counselling Directory
  2. Step 2 Check if you can get divorced

  3. Step 3 Make arrangements for children, money and property

  4. Step 4 Apply for a divorce

  5. Step 5 Apply for 'decree nisi'

    You need to apply for a 'decree nisi' and give the court more information about why your marriage has broken down.

    1. Apply for a decree nisi
  6. Step 6 Finalise your divorce

    You need to apply for a 'decree absolute' to finalise your divorce. You'll have to wait 6 weeks and 1 day from the date of your decree nisi.

    1. Apply for a decree absolute

    Once the court approves your decree absolute, they'll send you both a copy of it and your divorce will be complete.

  7. Step 7 Report that your circumstances have changed

    You also have to tell other government organisations that you're getting divorced if: