The cost of getting divorced in the UK can vary greatly depending on various factors such as the complexity of the case, if you use a solicitor, and whether you choose to go to court. The cost of a divorce can quickly escalate when you require legal representation in court. An amicable agreement will mean the cost of the divorce will be much lower.
If you choose to use a solicitor, the cost can range from £500 to £5,000 or more, depending on the nature of your case and the solicitor’s hourly rates. The fees of a divorce solicitor will include the cost of attending court, preparing documents, and negotiating with your spouse. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the costs involved before you start working with a solicitor.
Each lawyer in the UK charges their own rate of divorce costs or solicitors fees. These can be ascertained beforehand before any appointment is made with them or by phoning round and asking what the costs are that are charged by them. Some lawyers based in central London will charge £500 plus VAT or more per hour.
One way to help keep the costs down is to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This is a meeting with a trained mediator, who can provide information about alternative dispute resolution and help you to understand the options available to you. If mediation is not appropriate, your mediator will be able to advise you on the next steps to take.
If you and your spouse are able to reach a settlement agreement without going to court, between yourselves or during mediation, the costs involved will be much lower than if you have to go to court. A consent order can be used to formalise the agreement, and this can be prepared by a solicitor for a fee.
If you are unable to reach a settlement agreement, you may have to go to court. You will have to apply to the court for an adjudication (a Financial Remedy Order other than by consent). The court will charge you £255 for this and then you have the solicitor’s fees on top, which increase to around £10,000 to £15,000 – and that’s assuming it’s all done and dusted after a few court appearances.
In addition to the cost of the divorce, there may be other costs involved in the divorce process. For example, if you and your spouse have children, paying the fee for a child arrangements order evaluation may be necessary. If you and your spouse own property, you may need to pay for a property valuation.
A financial order is another cost that may be involved in the divorce process. This is an agreement between you and your spouse that sets out how your assets will be divided. A financial order can be prepared by a solicitor and is legally binding.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse, you may be able to get legal aid to help with the cost of a divorce. Legal aid is a form of financial assistance that helps people who cannot afford to pay for legal advice. To be eligible for legal aid, you will need to meet certain criteria, such as having a low income.
As you can see, it is difficult to determine how much it is to get divorced in the UK exactly,
because this will very much depend on many considerations. The lawyers approach the case, the parties’ concerns and their approach to the case, and if there is a genuine desire to bring matters to a close will all factor. Here we look at the possible different areas of cost when getting divorced.
Divorce Petition Costs
Every divorce must start with filing a divorce petition in the UK. The court fee is currently £550. Paying the court fees covers the cost of filing the divorce petition and starting the legal process to obtain a divorce. It does not cover any other costs that may be involved in the divorce process, such as solicitor’s fees or other court costs, such as the cost of a hearing, interim maintenance application or the cost of obtaining a financial order.
The costs of the divorce petition are separate from the costs of the divorce lawyer in dealing with the financial or other aspect of the matter which can include dealing with children’s matters. Other costs incurred will be dependent on whether there is an intention to defend, or other difficulties involved or jurisdictional aspects.
But rest assured, the average costs of this must be set out by solicitors in their initial letter to their client under Law Society directives. This ensures that the parties know the parameters of the divorce before they start. If the solicitor is going to exceed the amount set out in the letter giving the average costs, then they have to indicate this to the client before any Court hearings and set out the reasons for this.
This may be the case if circumstances such as injunctions, applications to prevent a party moving assets out of the jurisdiction arise. Emergency hearings can lead to lots of costs being incurred over a short period of time outside of solicitors’ estimates because of the circumstances.
A further consideration is the cost of any third parties like a barrister, who will be arguing the case in the Court or assisting with negotiations if necessary or will simply advise one of the parties as to the parameters of a settlement. Their fees can vary again based on the amount that their Chambers charge or their experience.
If mediation is followed, and the sessions are restricted, and the hourly rate is restricted then this will be a far cheaper method than going to Court. If matters can be agreed readily then again costs can be restricted to between £5,000 to £10,000 plus VAT.
However, it is always recommended that the parties take legal advice either before, during and certainly after mediation in order to draw up the appropriate settlement with the correct wording.
Rarely, an agreement made in mediation can fall apart if the mediator has not considered all of the implications that may then be considered by the lawyers when drafting. If the negotiations between solicitors break down and the matter has to proceed to Court in any event, then costs would have been incurred that cannot be recouped.
Avoiding additional costs
As you can see, legal costs can vary dramatically due to the circumstances, the nature of the applications being made, and the costs of the lawyers concerned. In order to reduce costs as much as possible, it is recommended that you produce a history of all matters relating to finances, children etc, from the earliest possible time.
This will help to minimise the amount of legal fees and to ensure that the factual information that you give to your lawyer is correct. If you give continuous information that is incorrect and needs correcting it will add to your costs.
The more visits you have and phone calls to your lawyer will also put up the costs of your divorce. Please do not feel compelled to send emails five times a day. Send one email a day or if this can be even further restricted do so. Emails, text messages etc, are all matters in which costs can be incurred.
When to contact our Divorce Lawyers in London
The cost in the UK of getting divorced, from initial meeting to final order, can range from a few hundred pounds to several thousand, depending on the nature of your case, the level of legal advice you need, and whether you go to court. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the costs involved and to seek legal advice if necessary to help you make informed decisions throughout the divorce process.
Based in London, we pride ourselves upon our caring approach to all our clients. We cover a range of legal issues including divorce, separation, financial disputes and settlements, arrangements for children, adoption, surrogacy, cohabitation, harassment and domestic abuse and international family law matters.
Our expert divorce solicitors are here to help guide you through your divorce and all the elements that go with that, including childcare arrangements and financial settlements. We will also advise whether your case is appropriate for mediation, where you can receive guidance from our trained mediators and a collaborative lawyer.
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