You don’t have to go to court to arrange financial support. If possible, it's cheaper and easier to come to an agreement between yourselves - this is known as a ‘voluntary arrangement’.
If you’re struggling to work out maintenance payments by yourselves, you might be able to reach an agreement through mediation. Mediation starts with a ‘mediation information and assessment meeting’ (MIAM). At the MIAM you’ll find out what mediation is and how it can help you.
See here to find a mediation service near you: https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/
If you can't agree through mediation, you’ll need to apply to court for a financial order. This asks a judge to decide how much maintenance you should get.
You can apply for a financial remedy order without the help of a solicitor, but some of the forms are quite complicated. You’ll also need to find lots of evidence like bank statements and payslips.
It’s best to talk to a solicitor, just to make sure you’ve got everything you need for the court hearing.
You can search for a solicitor here: https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/
You can apply for a financial order at any time after you’ve you’ve filed a petition to end your marriage or civil partnership - as long as you’ve been to a meditation information and assessment meeting (MIAM) first.
So as you can see, you will have needed to file a divorce petition in order to take this step. You can find more about this here: https://www.gov.uk/divorce/file-for-divorce
Also see here for information about maintenance payments: https://www.gov.uk/money-property-when-relationship-ends/maintenance-payments
I hope that this answers your question?
Thank you for your enquiry. I am happy to answer follow-up questions - please do get in touch with requests for extra information or further queries and I will do my best to help you.