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Children after a Divorce or Separation

What happens about childcare when parents get divorced or they separate? How do the legal issues of separation affect child maintenance and child custody? The information in this section covers the common disagreements and disputes that relate to parentage during a divorce or a separation.

Childcare after the Parents Have Separated

Parental separation is rarely a happy experience. But separating from your partner is a difficult time for your children too.

Child maintenance is usually a regular source of financial support. It helps to cover everyday costs of bringing up children.

Find out what happens to child maintenance when parents separate and who takes care of them?

In most cases you will need to use the Child Maintenance Service or Child Support Agency. They will provide help and guidance during any major disagreements on parentage.

You will find detailed information about child custody. In particular, how to deal with authorities if your child gets taken into care by the council.

Further advice deals with situations where you may need to contact a child abroad. You may also need to arrange for their safe return to the United Kingdom.

Childcare and Divorce Guide

Child Arrangements

Reaching agreements on bringing up children can be difficult when a relationship ends. You can get help making child arrangements if you divorce or separate and cannot agree.

Child Maintenance

Advice and Information

Information for parents who live apart and are unable to agree on child support payments. The section explains how to use the Child Maintenance Service or the CSA.

UK CSA Explained

It was first launched in 1993 as part of the Department for Work and Pensions. But, how does the Child Support Agency work and is it still working?

Working Out Child Support

The guide explains how child maintenance is worked out and how much you must pay. Further information also clarifies how the different processes work.

Note: The CMS child maintenance calculator helps you estimate payment rates. Use it for estimates only as some results may not be accurate for complicated circumstances or difficult relationships.

Getting Access to Grandchildren

You may need a court order to get access to your grandchild if their parents have divorced or separated. But, going to court can be expensive and disruptive for the child.

Getting a Divorce

Divorce UK Explained

There are several key steps to follow during the process of getting a divorce. The section explains how to get a divorce, how to apply, and the cost of getting divorced.

Divorcing a Missing Spouse

The process differs if you don’t know where they are (or they are presumed dead). The guide explains how to divorce a missing husband or wife in the United Kingdom.

Responding to a Petition

Your husband or wife will send you a petition if they want to end the marriage. Find out how to respond to a divorce application by stating whether you agree or disagree.

Note: You can register your home rights with HM Land Registry to help stop your spouse or civil partner selling the matrimonial home.

Money and Property if a Relationship Ends

Common Law Relationships

Partners often choose to live in a common law relationship, instead of getting married. So, what is the best way to sort out finances when cohabiting couples separate?

Splitting Up Assets

The process of dividing what you own when a relationship ends is not always a smooth one. The section explains splitting up money and property after divorce or separation.

Spousal Maintenance

This help guide explains the basic steps for arranging financial support after a separation and what to do if you’re unable to agree maintenance payments.

The Matrimonial Home

Information in the help guide explains what happens to your home if you separate and how the process differs if you are renting a property.

Note: Another guide explains the benefits of using mediation to help you separate and sort out the most important issues, such as children, money, and property.

Separating or Divorcing Checklist

Drawing up a separation or divorce checklist of things that need doing can help to calm emotions. Check what couples need to know and do when separating or divorcing.

Note: Any act of domestic abuse or violence is a crime. Even though there are organisations offering help and support, you should report domestic abuse to the police.

Children and Childcare after Parents Divorce or Separate in United Kingdom