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 legal advisor can help with the paperwork.

Making your agreement legally binding

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

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 apply for a court order to get your consent order approved. Your legal advisor can help you with your application.

You will not need to show that you’ve tried mediation.

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

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 a ‘conditional order’ or ‘decree nisi’

  6. Step 6 Finalise your divorce

  7. Step 7 Report that your circumstances have changed

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