Practical help and emotional support

This guidance explains where you may be able to get free practical help to deal with your case if you need to take an issue to the family court.

Divorcing or ending a civil partnership?

CourtNav is an online tool that helps you complete the divorce forms correctly and ensures they are checked by a solicitor before you submit your documents to Court, giving you the confidence of knowing that your documents are correct. To use Courtnav, make an appointment at your local Citizens’ Advice.

Support Through Court aims to help you represent yourself more confidently in court, by providing practical advice, information and emotional support in family courts. They have units based in 24 different family courts. Support Through Court volunteers can help you fill in forms, organise your papers and your thoughts, and refer you to organisations who can give you legal advice or representation. They can accompany you to your court hearing, but they cannot represent you and cannot provide legal advice. Find out if there is a Support Through Court service in the court you are using.

If your hearing is in a London county court where there is no PSU office, you can contact them in advance to book a volunteer to come with you. Call 020 7073 4760 or email LondonService@thepsu.org.uk. It is best to give at least two weeks’ notice. PSU’s service depends on volunteer availability, so the more notice you can give, the more likely they are to be able to help.  

You can also get practical help before or after your hearing, at their offices in the the Central Family Court (CFC), the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ), the County Court at Central London (CCCL), or Wandsworth County Court (WCC). To find out more, or to book an appointment at the PSU in the CFC, call 0207 421 8533 or 0207 421 8534. For services in other courts, please check the Support Through Court website.

Citizens Advice Witness Service offer support and practical help to victims of domestic abuse attending family court in a select number of family courts as part of a pilot project funded til March 2020. Trained volunteers will offer practical information and emotional support including explaining how the process will work, arranging a visit to the court before the hearing, and providing information that will help you to participate in proceedings.  They can provide a safe space at court for you to wait before your hearing and support you during that time. They will refer you to other sources of support after the hearing if this would be helpful. See if they are at the court you are using by checking the website or by calling them on 0300 332 1000. If they do, you can refer yourself via the website or by telephone.  They don't provide legal advice but victims of domestic abuse can get support on any area of family law through the RCJ advice project FLOWS.  

Citizens Advice can offer practical advice from over 3,500 locations including high streets, community centres, doctors' surgeries, courts and prisons. Search for your local Citizens Advice service. Or call 03444 111 444 (from England) or 03444 77 20 20 (from Wales). Calls cost the same as calls to 01 and 02 numbers. They will be included as part of a mobile allowance or a landline call package. 

If you have not found a service that can help you see our Help Directory or go back to the Going to the family court section.  

June 2019

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