Divorce costs can be confusing for new ex-partners. While you may have agreed upon a separation, you might worry about not being able to afford the divorce.
In most cases, getting divorced should only cost a few thousand pounds.
However, each divorce case is unique.
Here’s a look at the costs that are involved in a divorce.
How much does a divorce application cost?
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.
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.
What other divorce costs are there?
You don’t necessarily need a solicitor to get divorced – you can fill out the divorce forms yourself online.
It is important to note, however, that you are eligible for legal aid which can be extremely useful. With a solicitor, you can ensure that your divorce petition is handled correctly. This would help to reduce any unnecessary delays during the divorce process.
A divorce solicitor may charge by the hour, or they may offer a fixed fee.
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 matrimonial 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.
While you can get divorced without reaching a financial settlement, we recommend that you organise one anyway. Without legally separating financially, your spouse could later claim against your estate.
Resolving the financial settlement is what tends to make a divorce expensive. Even in an uncontested divorce case, it can be difficult to decide who gets what.
How much it costs to reach a financial settlement depends on a few factors. These include the complexity of your assets and your ability to reach an agreement with your ex-partner.
If your assets are straightforward and you and your ex-partner agree on how to split them in advance, you may need to pay significantly less. The only costs could be that of your solicitor drafting a financial consent order. This would amount to about £300 and a further £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 services.
If you go to court, you must show that you went to 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 listen to you and your ex-partner and help you agree by 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, legally binding the it.
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 gross weekly 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. This usually continues 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 an expert family law 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.