Maintenance payments

The court sometimes tells the person with the higher income to make regular maintenance payments to help with the other person’s living costs.

This is called a ‘maintenance order’.

A maintenance payment can be set for:

  • a limited period of time
  • until one of you dies, marries or enters into a new civil partnership

The payment can also be changed if one of you loses your job or gets much better paid work.

Child maintenance

The court can also decide on child maintenance, but this is often arranged by the Child Maintenance Service.

Read more about making arrangements to look after children when you divorce or separate.

  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: