Divorce advice: where to get it
There are plenty of places to get divorce advice when you're splitting up. But the thing to bear in mind is that most of them cost, and the costs can be high.
So think carefully about what advice you need and when: for example, don't waste your precious money relying on a solicitor for emotional support (at up to £400 an hour, it's an expensive way to get therapy).
Where to get divorce advice
If you and your spouse can't agree on important points, you'll need a solicitor's help - if nothing else, he or she will be able to prevent you giving up any rights you have because you don't understand the law. But remember, lawyers are expensive, and you should use their time wisely.
Mediation is becoming more important in UK divorce. A mediator helps you to resolve disputes with your partner without going to court. Mediation can be face-to-face with your partner, and a mediator, or it can be done without you having to be in the same room with your partner at all. Even if the issues you're up against are complex, mediation often works.
- Counsellor or therapist
Divorce is an extremely painful process to work through, and it can bring up lots of emotional baggage. It's also a time when you'll need to be as strong as you can for your children. All of this means that if you can afford to pay for some extra emotional support, it's an expense well worth considering. Some counsellors specialise in working with people who are going through, or have been through, divorce.
- Citizens Advice
Relationship issues, especially around divorce, are one of the top five topics people call Citizens Advice about, so its staff has plenty of experience. It offers free, independent, confidential, impartial advice, proffered by trained volunteers. Have a look at its website first, as they have information there, too.
- Child Support Agency
The CSA is the government's child maintenance service. It assesses and collects payments for under-16s (under-19s in full-time education). If your marriage has ended, and your children are living with you, you can use the CSA to work out how much child maintenance should be paid, to collect the payments, and to take enforcement action if payments aren't made.
The charity Gingerbread provides advice and practical support for single parents. It has a helpline and an impressive range of factsheets on everything from how to change your child's name to organising holidays, as well as all the bread-and-butter stuff about benefits and contact.
• Divorce process
• Grounds for divorce
• Divorce checklist
• Telling children about the divorce
• Talk: separation and divorce
It goes without saying - but let's say it anyway - that the Mumsnet Talk boards are blessed with a plethora of threads on everything to do with divorce and single parenting. You can save yourself a lot of time on practical issues, and get a hefty helping of empathy and emotional support thrown in.