If you agree

It’s usually more straightforward and less expensive if you agree how to divide your money and property. Get help agreeing.

Making your agreement legally binding

To make your agreement legally binding you need to draft a consent order and ask a court to approve it.

If your agreement is not legally binding, a court cannot enforce it if there are any issues later.

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

  • pensions
  • property
  • savings
  • investments

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

You can get legal advice or you can ask a solicitor or divorce specialist to draft a consent order for you.

When to ask the court for approval

You can ask the court to approve your draft consent order when you apply for your divorce or dissolution, or at any time after that.

It’s usually simpler to ask for approval:

  • after you have your conditional order or decree nisi – the court cannot approve a consent order before this
  • before you get your final order or decree absolute – if you ask after this, there may be financial consequences, particularly for pensions

The consent order will only take effect after you get your final order or decree absolute.

How to ask the court for approval

You and your ex-partner have to:

  • draft a consent order
  • sign the draft consent order - you also need 2 photocopies of the signed original
  • fill in a statement of information form

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

If you’re ending a civil partnership or legally separating, send the signed forms and copies with the £53 fee to the court dealing with your paperwork. Keep your own copies.

If you’re divorcing, send the signed forms and copies with the £53 fee to:

HMCTS Financial Remedy
PO Box 12746
CM20 9QZ

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

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 ask you to change it.

How much it costs

The court fee is £53.

Legal adviser fees vary depending on their experience and location.

  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: