Money and property when a relationship ends

Getting a financial agreement

You and your ex-partner can choose how to work out money and property issues if you divorce or end a civil partnership.

The rules are different if you were not married or in a civil partnership. You’ll still have to agree on child maintenance payments for any children.

You can usually avoid going to court hearings if you agree how to split your money and property.

You can use a solicitor to make your agreement legally binding.

You can agree on child maintenance at the same time or separately.

What you can do is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Get help agreeing

You can:

If you cannot agree on everything

You can ask a court to decide anything you cannot agree after mediation or getting other help.

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 in certain cases, for example if there’s been domestic abuse or social services are involved.

You can get legal advice, for example from a solicitor. You cannot get legal aid to help with court costs unless you’re separating from an abusive partner.

The Sorting Out Separation website has information about money and housing when you separate. You can also get information from Citizens Advice.

  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: