How Much Does a Divorce Cost?
How Much Does a Divorce Cost in the UK?
Making the decision to get divorced is never an easy one. There are a lot of factors to consider, and one of the first questions you may have is how much a divorce is likely to cost you. This can be a difficult question to answer, as there are many variables involved.
Sarah Scott Associate Solicitor
“Osbornes is firmly established as one of the top tier family departments in London. It has a range of clients and cases, many of which are notable because of their complexity. The team increasingly attracts clients who are very wealthy, or in the public eye.”
“They have an excellent practice; they are top quality across the board. They have high-end partners doing high-end work. They are very impressive.”
How much does it cost to get a divorce?
The first thing to realise is that there are potentially three separate processes associated with a divorce, and each one has different costs:
- Dissolving the marriage.
- Untangling the financial issues.
- Dealing with any child arrangements.
You will encounter various types of costs at different stages in the divorce process. Some of these costs are fixed, which means you have no control over them (such as the court fees) and others are flexible, which means there are things you can do to reduce the cost, including shopping around for the right legal support. You can also pick and choose when you have legal representation as you may decide you can deal with the divorce process yourself and instruct a solicitor to assist you with the financial issues and/or the child arrangements.
What are the court costs for applying for a divorce?
The first step in getting divorced is to apply for a divorce online or by post. The court fee to apply for a divorce is £593. Whether you apply for divorce yourself using the online portal, or instruct the help of a solicitor, that £593 fee cannot be avoided, although there is a fee exemption for those on low incomes/in receipt of benefits. The fee is the same if you apply jointly (which is now possible with no-fault divorce) or it is a sole application. The fee should typically be shared with a joint application.
If you reach an agreement regarding the financial issues and only require the Court to approve your consent order, the court fee is £53. The only way to obtain a binding agreement is in the form of an Order, approved by a Judge following the conditional order in the divorce. If you cannot reach an agreement and issue financial proceedings for a Judge to decide the matter, the court fee is £275.
If you cannot agree on the child arrangements and you issue children act proceedings then the court fee is £232.
There are legal fees if you instruct a solicitor and/or a barrister.
What will the legal costs be?
If you are using a solicitor to help with your divorce, they will charge you for their time. The cost can vary considerably depending on the complexity of your case and the seniority of the solicitor. Typically, the legal fees for an uncomplicated and uncontested divorce which is not international and does not involve children or financial issues will start at £999, in addition to the court fees above.
The legal costs associated with dealing with the financial issues or the child arrangements vary considerably depending on how much you and your spouse can agree between you. For example, the fee for preparing a consent order for a financial settlement that you’ve both agreed could start at £750 (plus VAT and the court fee). Complex divorces – including where there are overseas assets or a family business to share out – could cost £20,000 or more if the negotiations go all the way to a contested final court hearing.
Most solicitors charge an hourly rate but some solicitors charge a fixed fee for certain services, such as the divorce process or assisting you with your Form E (the financial document required in financial proceedings). Fixed fees can be appealing as the total legal cost will stay the same no matter what happens but there may be some additional costs on top of the fixed fee so make sure you know what is included at the outset.
What about the costs of mediation?
Mediation is generally cheaper than litigation (and quicker) and improves communication between the parties allowing for an amicable and stress-free divorce. Our specialist mediators charge from £510+ VAT for a 90-minute session.
If you issue proceedings (financial or child arrangements) then you will first need to attend a family mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAMs). This is a court requirement.
Are there any other costs associated with a divorce?
Potentially, yes – it depends on your situation. Other costs you may have to pay include:
- Expert reports relating to company valuations, property, pensions and other assets
- Fees for transferring property from one person to another using a conveyancing solicitor
- Accountancy fees to calculate tax liabilities when property is moved or sold
- Barrister’s fees for arguing the case in court
- Translation fees if your documents are in a different language
- Legal fees for drawing up a new will
How can I reduce the cost of a divorce?
Agreeing on how you and your spouse will divide your assets, including your home, savings, investments and pension, is the best way to keep costs down. If you have children, you will also need to agree on child arrangements, such as who they will live with and how much contact they will have with the other parent. If you can agree on these things, it will be much cheaper than going to court.
How can Osbornes help?
Our specialist divorce lawyers will always provide advice to you which is in your best interest. Our aim is not for you to incur unnecessary costs, but to help you find a resolution that you are happy with one and one that meets the needs of your family. We will advise you depending on your circumstances and what you want to achieve. The other party’s attitude to the divorce and the advice they are receiving will impact on the cost of your divorce and we will always try and take a conciliatory approach. However, where this is not possible, our lawyers will always defend and represent your best interests.
To speak with a divorce lawyer please call us or fill in the online form below.
Andrew secured me the best financial settlement for my claim. He is a credit to Osbornes Solicitors.
"Lisa Pepper was recommended to me as non-nonsense and able to help me with a difficult and confrontational divorce. She more than lived up to that – she was practical, collected and always available with a clear opinion and suggestions of how to move forwards. She also was open and helpful about costs and how to mitigate them"
"Mark Freedman is a very capable lawyer, renowned for not being a pushover and pushing his clients’ cases as much as he can, but will always talk sensibly about settlement. He is among the best – tenacious, good judgment and tactically aware."
"Mark Freedman is a dynamic and highly experienced family lawyer who fights extremely hard for his clients and is always in their corner, thus ensuring their loyalty and confidence. In a trial you would always want him on your side."
"Bridget Thompson combines her excellent legal knowledge with a clear, succinct and robust style of advice and advocacy. Her approach clearly inspires a high degree of client confidence in her"
"She has impressed me as someone who fights my corner but also understands the importance of resolving issues without unnecessary escalation. She is calm and reassuring."
"Her mediation practice is exceptional; she is also a great solicitor and has a breadth of skill which is really useful."
"He is really experienced and wise. He has a lovely manner about him and clients feel safe with him."
"She is excellent. She's very reliable, talks about her cases passionately and is very committed to her clients."
"I consider the firm to be very experienced in child care cases and to provide a very professional and high standard of work"
"Jo Wescott is top notch and widely recognised as a rising star throughout the profession. She brings a winning combination of great judgement, an immense work ethic, and a relaxed and charming way with opponents and clients alike. Someone you want on your side”
"Osbornes is pre-eminent for family law in North London. Mark Freedman is a real rainmaker. He is an excellent lawyer and has a top-notch practice"
Mark Freedman is intelligent and personable and has a good selection of high-net work cases.
"Exceptional value for money. Highly competent and reasonably priced. Mark Freedman: one of the best in the field."
"Client-focused. Ready to fight the clients’ corner, but also ready where possible to steer client from unnecessary dispute. Mark Freedman – very experienced, with good instinct for the eventual result. Clients love him and he thinks ahead and directs the client to the best result for the client."
Mark Freedman is a serious player. A fearless family law litigator, who protects his clients’ interests passionately.
Breadth of knowledge and willingness to go the extra mile is what makes it stand out. Mark Freedman – devoted to his clients
Mark Freedman frequently takes on high-value financial and children proceedings that involve complex tax, trust and accounting issues. Sources praise the "tenacity and common sense" he brings to challenging disputes.
"Mark is very experienced, competent, good with clients and takes a sensible approach to cases. He knows exactly what he's doing."
Bridget Thompson is a public law specialist noted for her extensive practice in matters involving alternative families and adoption. An interviewee observes: "She's a fighter, she's clever, and she understands all aspects of a case."
"An exceptional outfit. They take on difficult cases, fight hard and win."
"The team frequently deals with cross-border estates for high–net-worth individuals."
"Mark Freedman is a real heavyweight litigator who has dealt with some very significant cases."
"Mark Freedman boxes clever, keeps his powder dry and when it comes to the end game he negotiates a really good deal."
"Mark Freedman has a specific focus on high-net-worth divorces and finance cases where there are overseas assets and trusts."
"Lisa Pepper somehow manages to get parties to settle on matters where there isn’t much hope to start out with."
"Well-regarded family practice assisting clients with substantial matrimonial disputes and sensitive children proceedings."
"Simone is absolutely on top of the game. She has great attention to detail, and has her clients' needs at heart."
"Bridget is client-focused, a pleasure to work with and incredibly supportive to her clients."
"Mark Freedman draws acclaim for his work in high net worth divorce cases, including those involving company structures, family trusts and overseas assets."
"He never gives up. He fights for you to the end and has boundless energy."
Bridget Thompson heads the family team, where client care is the top priority.
Mark Freedman advises high-net-worth clients and knows his stuff.
Simone McGrath is a highly knowledgeable practitioner with a focus on international child abduction matters. She has a large expertise in public and private law.
Highly regarded for his experience as a litigation and mediation expertise, Mark Freedman is tenacious and determined. Clients really feel that he is fighting their corner.
Andrew handled a very complex, 3 year legal battle for me, with a tremendous amount of patience and professionalism. He is very approachable, always kept me up to date, by phone and e-mail, and responded very quickly to my queries with excellent advice, sound strategic thinking and strong letters to put the other side under pressure. With top contacts for barristers, joint experts and mediation.
[The Family Law department] handles significant matrimonial finance cases and complex nuptial agreements. Respected for its expertise in cross-border children law matters.
Mark Freedman represents high net worth clients in complex financial disputes. Sources say that "he's a determined negotiator who'll always do the very best for his clients.
Simone McGrath handles international child abduction cases and challenging care proceedings relating to non-accidental injuries.
This team is perhaps best known for its children work, often involving complex international dynamics.
Naomi Angell leads the market in cross-border children law matters. Sources confirm that she is "at the cutting edge of changing law and policy" when it comes to international adoption
"Mark Freedman receives a lot of instructions from clients based abroad, often relating to complex divorce proceedings. Sources say: “His main strengths are his enthusiastic passion for the job in hand and his total dedication to his clients.”
Insights from our Divorce LawyersVIEW ALL
Couples struggling to agree divorce settlements amid cost...
The cost of living crisis and uncertainty about future mortgage rates are scuppering divorce negotiations as couples fear reaching financial...Read more
My ex has cut me off during divorce
Unfortunately, it is far too common that when a client says it’s over, their spouse with the “purse strings”...Read more
How the Court views loans from parents during...
A frequent issue in financial divorce cases is a loan from a spouse’s parent, often to pay legal fees,...Read more
Mesher Orders Explained
What is a Mesher order? A Mesher Order allows the sale of the family home to be postponed in a...Read more
The End of The Blame Game!
No-fault divorce will make divorce more amicable The divorce ‘blame game’ has been consigned to history and the long-awaited reforms...Read more
Divorcing couples reaching financial settlement through Private FDR
The Runaway Advantages of the Private FDR Our specialist lawyers are keen to ensure our divorcing clients achieve cost-effective outcomes...Read more
10 Interesting Facts About Same Sex Marriage and Divorce
Eight years after same-sex marriage was written into law, we’re taking a look at these major life events by...Read more
No-Fault Divorce Has Arrived!
Have you heard that breakup rates were exploding during the pandemic? New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS)...Read more
In England and Wales, there are three key stages to the divorce process: The Divorce Petition The Decree Nisi The...Read more
Divorce applications shut down from 31 March 2022
From last year all divorce petitions in England and Wales were to be submitted to the court using the court...Read more
Are irreconcilable differences grounds for divorce?
If you have come across this article it may have been as a result of an online search to see...Read more
Negotiating financial settlements in divorce
Costly and acrimonious divorces: a lesson in what not to do If you’re determined to pursue your financial claims...Read more
Reasons for divorce. Which is right for us?
In England and Wales, there is only one legal ground for divorce, which is that the marriage has broken down...Read more
Uncovering hidden assets in your divorce
Hiding Assets During a Divorce As part of your divorce, you and your ex will have to agree on how...Read more
Difference between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute
The divorce process will, for many people, mean an introduction to some new terminology. Two of the most important terms...Read more
Keeping social media out of divorce proceedings
We’ve recently seen the playing out on twitter and Instagram of the high-profile separation of actor Ioan Gruffudd and...Read more
I helped build my spouse’s career
What is the impact on our divorce settlement? It’s been almost two years since The Da Vinci Code author...Read more
How to speed up a divorce
6 steps to speed up the divorce process For many people, once they have made the decision that their marriage is...Read more
6 cases that shape your divorce settlement
Part of what makes our divorce lawyers experts in their field is knowing what way a judge is likely to...Read more
Form E – What is it and how do...
What is a Form E? If you or your former spouse have applied for a financial order as part of...Read more
Husband imprisoned for contempt of court in divorce...
Non-compliance with any court order is dealt with seriously as contempt of court and carries the risk of a prison...Read more
The Same-Sex Divorce Process
What Happens When a Same-Sex Relationship Breaks Down? Recent news of Rylan Clark-Neal and Dan Neal’s divorce after failing...Read more
What is a Decree Absolute? A Decree Absolute is the final stage in divorce proceedings and the document that officially...Read more
Leading Divorce Lawyers Recommended in Tatler
The family department is delighted to announce that two of our partners now appear in the ‘Tatler Advisory’ list of...Read more