How much does a divorce cost?
How much will the divorce cost? is one of the first questions that separating couples ask. The answer is that it varies between couples, depending on your individual circumstances.
At the Family Mediation Clinic, we understand that worrying about finances during divorce can be really stressful. We’ve put together this useful ‘Divorce Costs Guide’ to illustrate what you can expect to pay from start to finish during the divorce process.
We’ve also included some money-saving tips for divorce along the way, to help you make the process more affordable. See the following breakdown below of the different options and the typical costs of each:
There is a mandatory court fee of £593 to apply for divorce through the court system. Under the new Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, you can now file jointly for divorce online and split this fee with your ex-partner, for a total of £296.50 per person.
Money Saving Tip: You may be able to claim fee remission ( reduction or exemption of fees) if you are on a low income or receiving any of the benefits below:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income support
- Universal Credit (and you’re earning less than £6,000 a year)
- Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit)
Find out more about getting help with court fees here.
Divorce Application Solicitors Fees
Solicitor/lawyer fees can vary from between £150 – £300 per hour depending on where you live. Some solicitors offer a fixed fee for making the divorce application only. This is usually around £600- £800
Legal Aid for divorce is only available for exceptional circumstances such as domestic abuse. You can check your eligibility for legal aid here.
Money-saving tip: Apply for divorce yourself using the government’s online service. You will find a step-by-step guide to the process on the government website.
All you will need to start the process is your wedding certificate and access to the internet, meaning you can skip the solicitor’s fees and just pay the mandatory divorce fee of £593.
Total costs for solicitors fees range from £2,000 to £3,000 for a negotiated financial settlement. And £30,000 (plus VAT) or more for a financial application that goes all the way to a contested final court hearing. Costs will depend on whether you’re trying to decide on care and support for your children, or sort out your finances, or both. It’ll also depend on how much you and your ex-partner can agree on, and how complicated your circumstances are.
If you and your ex-partner can both agree on major issues like child arrangements, child maintenance, and splitting the family home & joint finances it will undoubtedly help keep the cost of divorce lower by avoiding additional legal costs.
Use mediation to reach agreements about how you will split your finances and to make parenting agreements for any children. A fixed fee package with the Family Mediation Clinic will cost from £600 per person for a single issue or £1000 per person if you need to sort out arrangements for children and finances.
You can then get your agreements written into a consent order and agreed upon by a judge – meaning you won’t have to attend court at all.
Consent Order for Finances
The mandatory fee for a consent order is £53, a consent order is a document that details the financial agreement reached by the parties involved in a divorce. Once a judge has approved it, it is legally binding and can be enforced should either party later breach the terms of the order. In the absence of a consent order, either party could make a financial claim against the other in the future.
A consent order sets out how the finances will be split between both parties and can include:
Where possible you should include a clean break within your order. A clean break order made by consent allows a couple to end their financial commitment to each other and makes it clear that neither can make a financial claim against the other in the future, including contesting a will.
Consent Order for Child Arrangements
The mandatory fee for a Child Arrangements consent order is £53. It is often the case that parents will reach an agreement regarding where the children will live and how they will spend time with each parent. However, informal agreements are not automatically legally binding. A consent order enables you to make an informal agreement legally binding and therefore enforceable through the family court.
Consent Order Solicitors Fees
Consent orders are legal documents and it is important that they are prepared correctly.
Solicitor fees for preparing and submitting a consent order will vary, depending on the complexity of your situation. But you can expect to pay around £1000 per document.
Money Saving Tip:
Use a professional Mckenzie friend to help you prepare and submit the consent order yourself:
Mckenzie friends are individuals who are experienced in law but not qualified solicitors. Many are paralegals or retired solicitors.
A McKenzie friend charges around £60 per hour. You can expect to pay a fixed fee of around £250 to help you with preparing and submitting a consent order for child arrangements or finances.
- Divorce application fee – £593
- Mediation costs – £1200
- Preparation of consent order by McKenzie friend – £250
- Consent order – £53
- Total – £2096
- Divorce application fee – £593
- Solicitors fees – £3000
- Preparation of consent order – £1000
- Consent order – £53
- Total – £4646
Please note that all individual situations vary and we would always recommend clients take independent legal advice.
You can find free legal advice using the citizen’s advice service.