Getting a divorce is never simple. There are often plenty of emotionally charged decisions to be made. If you’re considering it, you may be wondering, how much does a divorce cost?
A divorce consists of two separate parts: the divorce itself, and financial arrangements. If you have children, you need to think about arrangements for them and their care, too. Most divorcing couples settle these without going to court. Each part comes with different fees, as well as solicitors fees for divorce if you are enlisting legal assistance.
No two cases are the same, so the costs may differ depending on your situation. This article outlines what these costs typically are, so that you can be better informed and feel more confident about your plans and choices.
How much does a divorce cost?
When getting a divorce, there are a few different costs to take into account. We can broadly split these into two categories: court fees and solicitors’ fees. Let’s take a closer look:
Court fees for divorce
When you apply for a divorce, you must pay a court fee of £593. The cost of getting a divorce is the same whether you apply together or by yourself. No-fault divorces, introduced in the UK in April 2022, now allow for joint divorce applications.
For some straightforward cases, this is the only court fee you will pay for your divorce. However, if you require a child arrangements order, financial order, or consent order, other court fees will be applicable:
Court costs for child arrangements orders
The court grants a child arrangements order when divorcing parents cannot agree on arrangements for their child or children. The order will specify the child’s place of residence, when and where they will see each parent, and other terms of contact.
If you require one to be put in place, the court fee for a child arrangements order application is £232.
Court costs for financial orders
A financial order outlines how to split assets in a divorce. Assets can include property, pensions, savings, and investments. It can also detail the payment of maintenance, including child maintenance, and is legally binding. These orders are typically only required when the divorcing parties can’t agree on financial arrangements for after the divorce.
If you require one, the court fee for a financial order is £275.
Court costs for consent orders
Consent orders are used to make financial arrangements in a divorce legally binding. They differ from financial orders as, with consent orders, both parties have come to a voluntary agreement. The purpose is to ensure that neither party can change their mind in the future by making the terms of the agreement bound by law.
If you require one, the court fee for a consent order is £53.
Solicitors’ fees for divorce
If you’re getting divorced, the second set of fees you’ll need to consider is legal fees. There are many reasons why you may want to enlist the services of a solicitor in your divorce, for example:
- They have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through an unfamiliar process and help ensure you are filling out everything correctly and can get the best possible outcome
- They can communicate with your ex-partner so you don’t have to if communication between you has broken down
- They can deal with financial arrangements to ensure that they are fair
- If your divorce case goes to court, they can represent you and your best interests
- Some solicitors also offer mediation services to help divorcing couples resolve disputes without having to go to court
So, how much are solicitors fees for divorce? The truth is that they can vary depending on the complexity of the case, how much time and expertise is required, and level of experience of your solicitor.
Across the industry, typical fees usually look something like this:
- Around £500 – £1500 plus VAT for the actual divorce proceedings, depending on the expertise of the solicitor, your area, and how much time it takes.
- Solicitors fees for financial orders can start from around £400, rising to the region of £5000 plus VAT depending on the complexity. For example:
- For a straightforward financial order, average costs typically start at £400 plus VAT. This involves the solicitor drafting a Financial Remedy Consent Order for the court to approve.
- Complex financial settlements can be more expensive as they take more time and can involve negotiation and mediation outside of court, which comes at an extra cost. Solicitors fees in this instance typically start at £3000 plus VAT but can rise depending on the number of mediation sessions required
- If you fail to reach an agreement and have go to court, solicitors fees will rise rapidly, typically starting at £15,000 to £30,000 plus VAT, especially if the divorce is contested. For this reason, it is advised to reach a settlement outside of court wherever possible
- Free initial consultations may be available to help give you a better understanding of solicitors fees for divorce before you begin the process
- Most family law solicitors will operate with an hourly rate rather than a fixed fee
If you’re looking for a specialist divorce solicitor or mediator, Setfords are here to help. Click here to get in touch and discuss your needs:
How much does a divorce cost if both parties agree?
Since April 2022, ‘no-fault’ divorces have been available in the UK. This allows both parties to jointly file for divorce, and one does not need to ‘blame’ the other. Beforehand, only one party could file for divorce, and a reason had to be given for the breakdown of the marriage, such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour.
The cost of a divorce remains the same, regardless of if it has been filed jointly or by only one person.
However, if you are divorcing amicably, you may be able to save on some court fees. For example, you can decide upon child and financial arrangements outside of court, and so don’t need to pay these court fees. You may also be able to save on legal costs, for example if you don’t need mediation or someone to communicate on your behalf.
Who pays divorce court fees and legal fees?
Each party will typically cover their own legal fees. When it comes to court fees for divorce, the applicant (person who applies for the divorce) typically pays. In a joint application, applicant 1 will pay. However, where the divorce is amicable, both parties may come to an agreement to share the cost of the divorce court fees between them.
Can I claim for divorce court fees?
If you are the applicant, you may be wondering if you can claim the cost of the court costs for divorce from the other party. You can indeed ask the family courts to order that costs are shared. But, this can’t be done as part of the divorce proceedings. A separate costs order must be applied for, which can be long-winded and costly. For this reason, it is quite rare, and divorcing couples are strongly encouraged to try and come to an agreement without the need for a costs order.
Are fees the same for the dissolution of a civil partnership?
Yes, the court fee for dissolving a civil partnership stands at £593. Other costs, for example solicitors’ fees, will also be the same for dissolution proceedings as they are for a divorce. Find out more about the difference between divorce and dissolution by clicking here.
Are divorce costs tax deductible?
No, in the vast majority of cases, fees (both legal fees and court fees) are not tax deductible. An accountant will be able to provide advice for your specific situation.