Unless specified, this information relates only to England and Wales. If you live in Scotland, go to Parenting across Scotland for information and advice. If you live in Northern Ireland, go to NI direct.

The separation or divorce court process

What happens in the separation or divorce court process will depend on what kind of application you have made.

There are forms available for all the different court processes, for example the divorce court process.

Sometimes when you buy a form you also pay for the application at the same time and this will appear on one copy of the form.

You will usually need three copies of your application. One is the original which you or your solicitor will keep, one is for the respondent and one is for the court file. The court usually keeps the one which has the fee marked on it.

Court staff can tell you where to get court forms, leaflets and guidance on children and the family courts and can explain the court process, but they are not allowed to tell you what you should do about your case.

There may be other costs (for instance, to pay someone else to serve your documents, or to pay a witness who goes to court to give evidence for you) but that depends on your case and what you decide to do.

For more information about fees, see booklet EX50 Civil and Family Court Fees (High Court and County Court). This booklet lists the most common family fees.

If you cannot afford to pay a court fee, you may be eligible for a reduced fee or you may not have to pay. The booklet EX160A Court Fees:Do I have to pay them? gives all the information you need.

Where can I go next?