If you agree

You do not have to do any official paperwork if you agree about how to divide your money and property. But your agreement will not be legally binding, which means a court cannot enforce it.

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

Making your agreement legally binding

You need to get a solicitor to draft a ‘consent order’ and ask a court to approve it - this makes it legally binding.

A consent order is a legal document that confirms your agreement. It explains how you’re going to divide up assets like:

  • money
  • property
  • savings
  • investments

It can also include arrangements for maintenance payments, including child maintenance.

You can ask the court to approve your consent order if both of the following apply:

  • you’ve started the paperwork to divorce or end your civil partnership
  • you have not yet applied for the final legal document to end the relationship

The final legal document is the:

Asking the court for approval

You and your ex-partner both have to sign:

One of you also needs to fill in a notice of an application for a financial order.

Send the signed forms and copies with the £50 fee to the court dealing with your paperwork to divorce or end your civil partnership. Keep your own copies.

You may be able to get help with court fees if you’re on benefits or a low income.

After you ask the court for approval

There’s usually no court hearing. A judge will approve your consent order to make it legally binding if they think it’s fair.

If they do not think it’s fair, they can:

  • change your consent order
  • make a new court order to tell you how to divide your money and property
  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: