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 ask a solicitor to draft a consent order for you.

You can ask the court to approve your consent order if you’ve started the paperwork to divorce or end your civil partnership.

It is usually more straightforward to divide money and property before you apply for the final legal document to end the relationship.

The final legal document is the:

You can divide money and property after your divorce is finalised or civil partnership has ended. This may change what you’re entitled to get and you may have to pay tax on it.

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 £50 fee to the court dealing with your paperwork. Keep your own copies.

If you’re divorcing, send the signed forms and copies with the £50 fee to:

HMCTS Financial Remedy
PO Box 12746
Harlow
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 £50.

Solicitor fees vary depending on their experience and location. They usually charge per hour.

  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: