Legal issues

Date last updated: 21 December 2021

Legal issues during separation

Legal issues can come up when you and your child’s other parent separate and it’s easier to make decisions if you have information about your legal rights and responsibilities, and where to go for help. This is true whether you were married, in a civil partnership or living together.

If you have experienced domestic abuse or are worried about you or your children’s safety please see our ‘staying safe’ section first.

Getting advice

There are many organisations that can provide legal information and support to help you prioritise and work through the issues.

Some organisations can give you advice[, and others provide self-help information.  See our information on getting legal help for full details of organisations that can provide legal information and advice.

Getting a divorce or dissolution

If you were married or in a civil partnership you can find out about what’s involved in getting a divorce or dissolution, when it’s possible and how to do it with this handy guide from AdviceNow.


Find out how to make arrangements and decisions about your children’s living arrangements and when they spend time with each parent in our information on making arrangements for your children.

We also have detailed frequently asked questions  about contact issues that affect families who are separating or have separated.

Finances and the law

Advice Now’s guides to sorting out your finances when you get divorced can help you understand how a court would divide your finances, and to help you reach an agreement without going through the courts. If you’re not married to your child’s other parent they also have a guide for splitting up when you were not married.

Going to court

If you’re already involved in alegal case with your child’s other parent and will be going to court, you can find out how to represent yourself with this Advice Now video. You may also find Rights of Women’s guide to preparing for court hearings useful.

Legal Guide to Separation & FAQ

On 16th September, Gingerbread and the Family Law Company hosted a webinar on legal issues around separation, covering some of the key issues that come up when a couple separates, including finances, housing, contact and general support. 

Our expert Gingerbread advisor was joined by specialist family law solicitors, Imran Khodobacus and Hannah Porter, to answer questions from single parents about their concerns. 

You can watch a recording of the session below:

Legal Advice Webinar for Single Parents: Separation - 16th September 2021

If you would like to find out more about the topics covered during the webinar, please visit our website:

*If you are homeless or at risk of losing your home, we recommend contacting Shelter for immediate advice.

You can also contact our free helpline or webchat service for further advice.

Tips from single parents

Get the information you need

I got legal advice soon after we broke up, which helped me feel in control. If I had to change contact arrangements I felt empowered having that information.

Mum, 1 child aged 6

Try looking at lawyers on LinkedIn

To find legal advice I first just googled solicitors. But I didn’t know what I needed so I spoke to a friend who’s a corporate lawyer. She said look at their LinkedIn pages, to see who’s credible.

Mum, 1 child aged 6

Try CAB for legal advice

If you need legal advice makes sure you get it and don't make any decisions alone. Citizens Advice Bureau were a great help for me.

Single mum


Advicenow is a not-for-profit website, run by the charity Law for Life. They provide free, up-to-date information on your rights and the law - see their information about separation.


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