How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in the UK?

Making the decision to get divorced is never an easy one. There are a lot of factors to consider, and one of the first questions you may have is how much a divorce is likely to cost you. This can be a difficult question to answer, as there are many variables involved.

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How much does it cost to get a divorce?

The first thing to realise is that there are potentially three separate processes associated with a divorce, and each one has different costs:

  1. Dissolving the marriage.
  2. Agreeing to the financial settlement.
  3. Dealing with any child arrangements.

You will encounter various types of costs at different stages in the divorce process. Some of these costs are fixed, which means you have no control over them (such as the court fees) and others are flexible, which means there are things you can do to reduce the cost, including shopping around for the right legal support. You can also pick and choose when you have legal representation as you may decide you can deal with the divorce process yourself and instruct a solicitor to assist you with the financial issues and/or the child arrangements.

What are the court costs for applying for a divorce?

The first step in getting divorced is to apply for a divorce online or by post. The court fee to apply for a divorce is £593. Whether you apply for divorce yourself using the online portal, or instruct the help of a solicitor, that £593 fee cannot be avoided, although there is a fee exemption for those on low incomes/in receipt of benefits. The fee is the same if you apply jointly (which is now possible with no-fault divorce) or it is a sole application. The fee should typically be shared with a joint application.

If you reach an agreement regarding the financial issues and only require the Court to approve your consent order, the court fee is £53. The only way to obtain a binding agreement is in the form of an Order, approved by a Judge following the conditional order in the divorce. If you cannot reach an agreement and issue financial proceedings for a Judge to decide the matter, the court fee is £275.

If you cannot agree on the child arrangements and you issue children act proceedings then the court fee is £232.

There are legal fees if you instruct a solicitor and/or a barrister.

What will the legal costs be?

If you are using a solicitor to help with your divorce, they will charge you for their time. The cost can vary considerably depending on the complexity of your case and the seniority of the solicitor. Typically, the legal fees for an uncomplicated and uncontested divorce which is not international and does not involve children or financial issues will start at £999, in addition to the court fees above.

The legal costs associated with dealing with the financial issues or the child arrangements vary considerably depending on how much you and your spouse can agree between you. For example, the fee for preparing a consent order for a financial settlement that you’ve both agreed on could start at £750 (plus VAT and the court fee). Complex divorces – including where there are overseas assets or a family business to share out – could cost £20,000 or more if the negotiations go all the way to a contested final court hearing.

Most solicitors charge an hourly rate but some solicitors charge a fixed fee for certain services, such as the divorce process or assisting you with your Form E (the financial document required in financial proceedings). Fixed fees can be appealing as the total legal cost will stay the same no matter what happens but there may be some additional costs on top of the fixed fee so make sure you know what is included at the outset.

What about the costs of mediation?

Mediation is generally cheaper than litigation (and quicker) and improves communication between the parties allowing for an amicable and stress-free divorce. Our specialist mediators charge from £510+ VAT for a 90-minute session.

If you issue proceedings (financial or child arrangements) then you will first need to attend a family mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAMs). This is a court requirement.

Are there any other costs associated with a divorce?

Potentially, yes – it depends on your situation. Other costs you may have to pay include:

  • Expert reports relating to company valuations, property, pensions and other assets
  • Fees for transferring property from one person to another using a conveyancing solicitor
  • Accountancy fees to calculate tax liabilities when property is moved or sold
  • Barrister’s fees for arguing the case in court
  • Translation fees if your documents are in a different language
  • Legal fees for drawing up a new will

How can I reduce the cost of a divorce?

Agreeing on how you and your spouse will divide your assets, including your home, savings, investments and pension, is the best way to keep costs down. If you have children, you will also need to agree on child arrangements, such as who they will live with and how much contact they will have with the other parent. If you can agree on these things, it will be much cheaper than going to court.

How can Osbornes help?

Our specialist divorce lawyers will always provide advice to you which is in your best interest. Our aim is not for you to incur unnecessary costs, but to help you find a resolution that you are happy with one and one that meets the needs of your family. We will advise you depending on your circumstances and what you want to achieve. The other party’s attitude to the divorce and the advice they are receiving will impact on the cost of your divorce and we will always try and take a conciliatory approach. However, where this is not possible, our lawyers will always defend and represent your best interests.

To speak with a divorce lawyer please call us or fill in the online form below.

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