Making child arrangements if you divorce or separate

2. If you agree

You don’t 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.

Tick the box to show that you’re ‘applying for an order to formalise an agreement (consent order)’. You won’t 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 doesn’t 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

The Sorting Out Separation website has information on working out what’s best for your children.