How much does a divorce cost?
That’s the question that those seeking a divorce often most want to know the answer to.
While you may have decided that you want to get divorced, you might be worried that you can’t afford it.
In most cases, getting divorced should only cost a few thousand pounds.
However, each divorce case is unique.
The cost of a divorce depends on a variety of factors, from how valuable your assets are, to how much you can agree with your ex-partner.
Here’s a look at the costs that are involved in a divorce.
How much does is cost to apply for divorce?
Applying for divorce costs £593.
This is a standard fee that you pay to the court to process your divorce petition.
Importantly, this fee doesn’t include the cost of using a solicitor. Nor does it include the costs of dealing with child arrangements or finances.
What other divorce costs are there?
While it costs £593 to apply for divorce, the costs are unlikely to stop there. Let’s look at the other costs involved in a divorce.
You don’t necessarily need a solicitor to get divorced – you can fill out the divorce forms yourself online.
But the help of a divorce solicitor can be useful to ensure that your divorce petition is handled correctly, reducing any unnecessary delays.
A divorce solicitor may charge by the hour, or they may offer a fixed rate.
On average, a solicitor will charge between £500 and £1000 for a divorce, but this will depend on their experience.
It’s recommended that you use a divorce solicitor if your divorce involves valuable assets or children.
The financial settlement
The financial settlement sets out how you’ll share your assets with your spouse.
Remember that the financial settlement is separate from the act of legally separating. So, you can be legally divorced without reaching a financial settlement with your spouse.
However, while you can get divorced without reaching a financial settlement, it’s best not to. Without legally separating financially, your spouse could claim against your estate.
Resolving the financial settlement is what tends to make a divorce expensive. Even in an uncontested divorce case, where each spouse agrees to the divorce, it can be difficult to decide who gets what.
How much it costs to reach a financial settlement depends on how complicated your assets are, as well as the extent to which you’re able to come to an agreement with your ex-partner.
For example, if your assets are straightforward, and you agree in advance how to split them, you may only need to pay the cost of your solicitor drafting a financial consent order (about £300), and the £53 court fee.
However, more complex assets will increase solicitor fees to around £1500. And if you can’t reach an agreement, you’ll have to attend mediation which costs around £150 per session.
Finally, if you can’t reach an agreement through mediation, your case will be taken to court. At this point, your legal fees could get up into the tens of thousands.
Family mediation costs
If you can’t agree how to split your assets privately, you’ll first be directed to family mediation.
If you end up going to court, you’ll need to prove that you attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This is a meeting to assess whether your case is suitable for mediation. It usually costs about £120.
You should try to make the most of any mediation you have.
At around £150 per session, mediation is much cheaper than going to court to resolve your divorce dispute.
An impartial mediator will try to help you to reach an agreement with your spouse by listening to your concerns and improving your communication.
If you’re able to come to an agreement, you can get your divorce solicitor to draw up a financial consent order to make it legally binding.
Divorce court fees
Mediation isn’t always successful.
If you’re unable to come to an agreement after attending mediation, your case will be taken to court.
You’ll have to apply for a Financial Remedy Order where a judge will decide how your assets should be divided. The court fee for this is £275.
On top of this, you’ll have to pay a solicitor to represent you in court, as well as court fees. This could easily cost £15000 after just a few sessions.
Child maintenance costs
If you have children, you’ll need to sort out their living arrangements and child maintenance payments.
You can come to an agreement privately with your ex-partner. But if you can’t agree, you can ask the Child Maintenance Service to work it out for you.
The Child Maintenance Service will take several factors into account, such as:
- The number of children you have
- The paying parent’s income
- How much time the paying parent spends with the child
- Whether the paying parent is paying child maintenance for any other children
Child maintenance payments are paid monthly by the paying parent, usually until the child turns 16.
Find out more in our guide: How much child maintenance should I pay?
Talk to a divorce solicitor
Divorce doesn’t have to be expensive. But costs can quickly spiral out of control if your ex-partner refuses to play ball.
That’s why it helps to have a divorce solicitor fighting your corner.
The Law Superstore connects you with family solicitors across England and Wales. Just type in a few details to compare prices and connect with professionals who’ll guide you through the divorce process.