A man removing his wedding ring

Choosing to divorce is not an easy decision for anyone and one that includes many factors and considerations. One, in particular, is the overall cost of a divorce and who is responsible for paying for a divorce?

In this article, we break down the different elements contributing to the cost of a divorce and how using specialist family lawyers like Purcell is a worthwhile investment.

How much does a divorce cost?

There are three aspects to deal with when it comes to the end of a marriage. These are:

  • The legal end of the marriage (this is the divorce)
  • Financial settlements
  • Children arrangements

By law, these three stages are treated separately, and the first stage, your application to end a marriage through divorce, will not automatically resolve your financial settlement or child arrangements. An agreement has to be made by both parties for these last two stages to complete your separation fully.

The divorce itself is the most straightforward and least time-consuming of the three. The cost of a divorce in the UK depends on the case’s complexity. In an average, uncontested divorce where a professional solicitor such as Purcell is acting, the cost to prepare the necessary paperwork and progress the divorce application through to Final Order will likely be in the region of £750-850 plus VAT. There is also a Court fee, which, as of February 2024, is £593. However, the cost will vary based on the experience of the solicitor you choose to work with and the issues in your particular case.

It’s important to note this is not the final cost of your divorce in nearly all cases. Throughout the process, expenses will incur as issues with finances and children still need to be agreed. These two areas can be extremely complex and time-consuming as everyone’s situation differs. This is when it’s worthwhile working with experienced family law solicitors who can create bespoke solutions to your unique requirements. The cost of this can vary, but the specialist advice and dedication provided to you from the outset is invaluable.

Trust Purcell to deliver a fair and well-founded resolution

As professional family law specialists, you’ll benefit from our highly-accredited team’s guidance and legal expertise. Acting as professional representation throughout your divorce proceedings, we include our time, support, and specialised services for the best solution. By instructing us, we strive for out-of-court resolutions, optimising our skills to provide the best and most cost-effective solution for you and your family.

What influences the cost of a divorce?

There are several factors which may cause your divorce to become more expensive. The standouts are personalities and the complexity of your case (such as parties owning businesses, multiple properties, overseas assets or large pensions etc). So much depends on the expectations and personalities involved resulting in one case being extremely amicable and agreed quickly, and another couple ending up in complex litigation requiring a decision to be imposed upon them.

By instructing a qualified family lawyer, you have an expert on your side to help work through the steps that need to be taken in the most cost-effective way to finalise all issues in relation to your divorce.

a couple laying in bed together

How To Reduce The Cost Of Your Divorce

During an already upsetting time, we understand there’s a fear over the financial position you may end up in. Often people look for cost savings or cutting corners. However, this could have a negative effect in the long run, and you may miss out on the right outcome for you and your future.

An open mindset and a patient and pragmatic approach are sometimes the simplest solutions to saving money on your divorce. The best way to reduce costs is by avoiding court proceedings which is only necessary when parting couples cannot agree without judicial intervention and there are many other forms of dispute resolution to resolve matters. Purcell Solicitors are experts in family law and offer all forms of non-court dispute resolution and can advise you on the most appropriate way forward.

Mediation Services

Mediation is an effective form of dispute resolution that we actively encourage couples to consider. Not only is it a considerably cheaper solution compared to the traditional litigation route, but it also fosters an amicable and honest resolution with the support of a fully-trained mediator. Sometimes, mediation is not an option depending on your case’s circumstances, for example, If there is historical or ongoing abuse or power imbalances.

Learn more about Mediation Here.

Arbitration Services

Arbitration is another form of dispute resolution. If you and your partner are struggling to reach an agreement, a qualified Arbitrator can step in to impose legally binding decisions. Although this incurs the appointment cost of an Arbitrator, – and therefore on the face of it appears more expensive than the Court but in the long run, it can often end up costing less overall as the Arbitrator can make decisions much more quickly than Court. Thus saving you time, money and the emotional costs of drawn-out litigation.

Learn more about Arbitration Here.

When it comes to filing a divorce, the truth is that the longer it takes, the more it’s likely to cost. Going to court is a time-consuming and expensive option, which can decrease the final amount within your marital pot. This is why we encourage out-of-court solutions. As specialist family solicitors, we can assist you in ensuring the correct route for your circumstances to provide the most cost-effective and appropriate resolution.

an unhappy couple sat on a sofa

Do both parties have to pay the divorce fee?

There is currently a Court fee of £593 to apply for a divorce. This will be paid by the applicant in sole applications, or by applicant one in joint applications. Depending on your situation you may decide to split this between you.

In regard to the rest of the costs involved in a divorce, you would each typically pay your own solicitor’s costs.

Can I get financial help with my divorce?

Generally, Legal Aid isn’t available for divorces. That’s why it’s important to understand the breakdown of divorce costs and explore alternative ways to pay your legal fees. Even with a budget in mind, legal costs can vary significantly depending on the complexity and acrimony.

Concerns about legal fees are one of the main reasons people represent themselves, but this can be shortsighted as failure to get good legal advice right from the start can end up costing much more in the short and long term.

How do I pay my divorce fees?

You’ll need to pay your solicitor as your case progresses. There are several ways to fund your legal fees – all of which have advantages and disadvantages depending on your situation. We encourage you to consider your position carefully before committing to any payment route.

Options for funding your divorce fees include:

  • Pay out of your assets/income.
  • Credit cards.
  • Obtain a loan from either the bank or friends/family.
  • Obtain a specialist litigation funding loan.
  • It may be possible the other person pays towards your costs – known as a Legal Service Payment Order. This can be a useful option where the balance of wealth is significantly imbalanced.

Who pays the fees in a divorce?

The general rule in divorce and related proceedings is that each person pays their legal costs. Those costs typically include the Court fee for a divorce (currently £593) and the fees for the solicitors/barrister who assist them if instructed. If related matters such as finances and children arrangements require expert evidence, it is standard that this would be obtained jointly and with the expenses shared.

Disclaimer: Please note that this page is for guidance only and does not replace legal advice. It is correct with the law at the time of publication but please be aware that laws may change over time. This article contains general legal information but should not be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek professional legal advice about your specific situation – contact us for dedicated help for you.

Our Latest News