Get help agreeing

A mediator can help you and your ex-partner agree on child arrangements, without taking sides.

Mediation is not relationship counselling. It can help you agree on the details of 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)
  • child maintenance payments

Find a local mediator.

The price of mediation will vary depending on where you live and how many sessions you go to. You might be able to get legal aid for mediation if you’re on a low income.

At the end of mediation you’ll get a document showing what you agreed. This agreement is not legally binding. You can make it legally binding by getting a solicitor to draft a consent order for a court to approve after mediation.

The mediator can decide mediation is not right for you (for example, if there’s been domestic abuse and you need to go to court instead).

If you need more help agreeing

You can get help with preparing to make arrangements and reaching an agreement.

You can also:

If you do not agree on everything

You can ask a court to decide on anything you have not already agreed.

You must show you’ve attended a meeting to see if mediation is right for you before applying to a court. You will not have to go in certain cases, for example if there’s been domestic abuse or social services are involved.

  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: