Three things to know if you're a parent

We all hope our relationships will last, but sometimes they don't.

Ending a relationship can be hard. And it will be harder if you have children.

Who will look after them? How much contact will you have with them?

When you get divorced

1. You can have contact with your child

As a parent, you can have contact with your child—as long as it's the best thing for them. Try to agree with your partner and child how much contact you have and when you spend time together.

2. You can agree with your partner about where your child is going to live

You could ask your child where they want to live and how much time they want to spend with each of you. You and your partner might agree to your child's wishes. Or you might agree to handle things another way in your child's best interests.

3. You can get help to reach agreement

If you and your partner can't agree where your child is going to live, think about seeing a mediator. A mediator could help you avoid going to court, and save you time and money. Mediation alone is sometimes enough to resolve a dispute. Or mediation can cut down the time you need to spend in court.

Read more about family problems.

To find out who can give you legal advice, see our types of lawyers page.

For free advice on family law or child law, call Corum Children's Legal Centre.

Legal Choices law dictionary

Need help understanding other terms that come up when getting divorced? Try the new Legal Choices law dictionary.

Your Comments

Adenike Owojori says:

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 11:51
Comment
I am looking into getting a divorce. My husband and I have not lived together for 11 years. We have grown up children so there won't be an issue regarding custody. I just want to be free of the marriage. I need information on costs, and time frame. I would appreciate it if you can get back to me regarding my enquiry. I look forward to hearing from you.

Seemaab Naseem says:

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 16:30

In reply to by Adenike Owojori

Comment
If you are having problems in your marriage it's worth knowing who could help you and what support is available. See our Family page for more information, including the type of lawyers who could help you: http://www.legalchoices.org.uk/legal-choices/got-a-legal-issue/families/

For help with legal costs, see our costs page: http://www.legalchoices.org.uk/legal-choices/money-talks/

Sally stride says:

Sat, 02/22/2020 - 17:32

In reply to by Adenike Owojori

Comment
I’ve been separated from my husband for over three years .we have nothing to sort out just to organise and sign divorce papers .hie do we go about this and how much will it cost ?kind regards Sally

Jackie says:

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 13:22

In reply to by Adenike Owojori

Comment
Just go on line and do it yourself really easy and cost was 320.oo best money ever spent I say

Judith Owen says:

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 15:18
Comment
Iv miss layed my absoulute and urgently need it to get remarried my solisitors is now gone what can i do iv only got 3 weeks to get it HELP

Pavitri.Tailor… says:

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 08:36

In reply to by Judith Owen

Comment
Hi Judith

Have you tried to get a copy of your decree absolute or final order? You can order one via the below link.

https://www.gov.uk/copy-decree-absolute-final-order

Many thanks

Legal Choices

Gillian Frazer says:

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 01:33
Comment
Can I apply for a divorce myself or do I have to have a solicitor??
I don’t think my ex-husband will object to it.

Pavitri.Tailor… says:

Mon, 09/23/2019 - 13:34

In reply to by Gillian Frazer

Comment
Hi Gillian,

Essentially you can apply for divorce online, please see some listed links below which may be of use.

https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-divorce
https://www.gov.uk/divorce/file-for-divorce

Thanks

Legal Choices Team

Coli says:

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 21:19
Comment
I'm trying to get divorced. I've told my husband that all I want is the house deposit that I put when we bought the house. He's made me sign a piece of paper saying that he's giving me the sum, but still hasn't made a payment yet. I've been approved a mortgage and been accepted an offer in a house which will be ready for exchange in a few weeks time. When I've asked my husband why he's not paying yet he said that he's sent the letter to his solicitor to legalise. I'd like to know how long does it take for paperwork to be legalised and also if I borrow money to pay for the house deposit and move out can he refuse to pay altogether and get away with it? We've been married 11 years and have a 9 year old.
Thank you

Jennine says:

Sun, 02/23/2020 - 07:27
Comment
I got my divorce through nisi stage with a solicitor 7/8 years ago but for unknown reasons never absolute
.. that solicitor has moved now..how can I get my divorce absoluted

Legal Choices says:

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 10:33

In reply to by Jennine

Hi Jennine,

There is some useful information here:

https://www.gov.uk/divorce/apply-for-a-decree-absolute

Thanks

Legal Choices Team

Gary Benson says:

Mon, 02/24/2020 - 22:30
Comment
I am a step father and have been told I can’t see my step children now that we are getting a divorce. Any advice would be appreciated.

Legal Choices says:

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 10:35

In reply to by Gary Benson

Hi Gary,

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide legal advice on specific situations.

If you want to get some free legal advice about your situation from a solicitor, you might be able to get some support from a Law Works clinic. These are free legal advice surgeries run at different locations across the country, where solicitors provide their time for free. 

Your nearest Citizens Advice service might also be able to help.

If you are interested in talking to a solicitor about your rights and next steps, one place to start from might be using the Law Society’s free ‘Find a solicitor’ website. You can search for law firms that specialise in a particular area and in a certain postcode area.

Many solicitors and law firms will agree to a free initial meeting to discuss some of the key facts about your legal problem, and they can then work out whether they can help you. It is worth asking if they will meet you for free up-front if you contact any law firms.

Thanks Legal Choices 

Julie says:

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 13:43
Comment
I'm divorced now for nearly 16 years . How do I go about changing my name back to my maiden name please

Legal Choices says:

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 10:39

In reply to by Julie

Hi Julie,

You can change your name using Deed Poll:

https://www.deedpoll.org.uk/introduction/

https://www.deedpoll.org.uk/?gclid=CjwKCAjw9dboBRBUEiwA7VrrzW49-p5xP-FVPs6MKYRA806L0VkiDKpXxeGkutPkDrjhQx58YEB_7BoC9mMQAvD_BwE

Thanks 

Legal Choices Team

Maureen grimes says:

Thu, 02/27/2020 - 12:35
Comment
My son has a mortgage he has split up from his wife.he wants t come of the mortgage as he cant afford a place of his own .he is currently payi ng half the mortgage she is not working and they have a 10yr old daughter wat advise can u give please

Legal Choices says:

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 10:51

In reply to by Maureen grimes

Hi Maureen,

Unfortunately we are not able to provide legal advice for certain situations, you may want to seek professional legal advice. Please see other comment responses on this page for more information.

Thanks

Legal Choices Team

Sara says:

Sat, 02/29/2020 - 16:44
Comment
Hi. We want I Divorce but been told to wait 2 years. Can we get a Divorce now with it the courts?

Legal Choices says:

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 10:45

In reply to by Sara

Hi Sara,

Essentially you can apply for divorce online, please see some listed links below which may be of use.

https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-divorce
https://www.gov.uk/divorce/file-for-divorce

Thanks

Legal Choices Team

JoJo says:

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 03:09
Comment
Hi, my husband and I going through divorce now.
He left us two years ago and has very sporadic contact with our son( maximum twice a year- for a week) as he lives in Scotland now.I'm considering moving to another country( my country of birth) with my seven year old son.
What rights do I have if dad opposes this.
My reason for moving is to get family support.
Any legal issues I need to be aware of?
Many thanks.

Legal Choices says:

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 11:00

In reply to by JoJo

Hi JoJo,

There is some helpful information here, that may be of use:

https://www.gov.uk/permission-take-child-abroad

Thanks

Legal Choices Team 

Claire says:

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 08:14
Comment
My husband and children have duel Australian and UK citizenship. 2yrs ago We left the UK 2yrs ago to live in Adelaide. I have a permanent residence visa. I returned to the UK 6 month's ago without the children (aged 11 and 14) predominantly to care for my father (who has since passed), but also to have some space from my very unhappy marriage. I have begged my husband to come back to the UK for us to make a fresh start back in the UK. I was so unhappy in Australia with little job prospects and no friends or family. My husband initially said we could come back to the UK if I wasn't happy in Australia but now he's saying he's will never return the the UK. My father left us his house, financially we are better off in the UK. We have spent almost £40 thousand pounds in rent these past two years. He has just signed a 12month lease in Adelaide which will cost £28 thousand pounds. Our life savings are dwindling due to high rent costs. More importantly what rights do I have regarding my children?? I was so mentally unwell in Adelaide, I am too scared to return, but I'm desperate to be with my boys. I just don't know what to do. Any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you Claire

Legal Choices says:

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 13:12

In reply to by Claire

Hi Claire,

Unfortunately we are not able to provide legal advice, but we can sign-post. 

There will be a whole host of things you will need to think about - it might be worth you getting some legal advice.

If you are interested in talking to a solicitor about your rights and next steps, one place to start from might be using the Law Society’s free ‘Find a solicitor’ website. You can search for law firms that specialise in a particular area and in a certain postcode area.

Many solicitors and law firms will agree to a free initial meeting to discuss some of the key facts about your legal problem, and they can then work out whether they can help you. It is worth asking if they will meet you for free up-front if you contact any law firms.

You could also look at the information provided on gov.uk below:

https://www.gov.uk/permission-take-child-abroad

Thanks

Legal Choices Team

Roland Dare says:

Thu, 03/05/2020 - 09:56
Comment
I have been separated from my wife for 2 years now and want a divorce
Unfortunately l have no idea where she lives now and have no means of contacting her at all
What can l do?

Legal Choices says:

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 14:12

In reply to by Roland Dare

Hi Roland

This might be of use:

https://www.gov.uk/divorce-missing-husband-wife

Thanks

Legal Choices Team

Rizwana Ahmed says:

Sun, 05/03/2020 - 08:36
Comment
Hi,

I'm married for 20 years now with two children 15 and 16. In past three years my husband took one wife divorced her and now he has taken another. I'm unhappy because he did this without my knowledge and has put the children and me in financial duress. Can I use bigamy as a ground for divorce from him and secure my children and myself from this mess? And what is our UK law on polygamy?

Thanks

Legal Choices says:

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 09:22

In reply to by Rizwana Ahmed

Hi Rizwana,

You may need official legal advice on this. See information below that may be useful:

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn05051/

If you are interested in talking to a solicitor about your rights and next steps, one place to start from might be using the Law Society’s free ‘Find a solicitor’ website. You can search for law firms that specialise in a particular area and in a certain postcode area.

Thanks

Legal Choices Team

Shukla khaami says:

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 00:13
Comment
I have been married for over 10years. I've had multiple breakdowns mentally and have been diagnosed with depression. My anxiety and panic attacks became worse when my husband started belittling me, criticising me constantly, accusing me of being unfaithful. He has mentally abused me for many years. However I've had enough as i have younger children who are also being affected by his behaviour and attitude towards me. He has anger problems and tends to smash things and break things around the house when angry. Swearing and shouting around the children.
We are currently living under the same roof, our property is joint however it has always been me who paid the deposit and I pay the mortgage monthly. Now he wants 50% of the property share however he has not invested in the property at all compared to me.
Therefore i would like to know if I have to give him a share and if so what percentage will this be?
Thank You

Legal Choices says:

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 09:07

In reply to by Shukla khaami

Hi Shukla,

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide legal advice on specific situations, but we can sign post. This might be something you need to get legal advice on.

If you want to get some free legal advice about your situation from a solicitor, you might be able to get some support from a Law Works clinic. These are free legal advice surgeries run at different locations across the country, where solicitors provide their time for free. 

Your nearest Citizens Advice service might also be able to help.

If you are interested in talking to a solicitor about your rights and next steps, one place to start from might be using the Law Society’s free ‘Find a solicitor’ website. You can search for law firms that specialise in a particular area – for example, clinical negligence – and in a certain postcode area.

Many solicitors and law firms will agree to a free initial meeting to discuss some of the key facts about your legal problem, and they can then work out whether they can help you. It is worth asking if they will meet you for free up-front if you contact any law firms.

Thanks

Legal Choices Team 

Dee says:

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 18:34
Comment
my husband has filed for divorce online, if i agree and respond within the 7 days, can financial and child access issues be sorted after the decree absolute has been granted ?

Legal Choices says:

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 06:39

In reply to by Dee

Hi Dee,

Please see previous responses above, you may need to seek legal advice.

Thanks

Legal Choices Team

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