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.

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  • “Osbornes has incredible strength in depth across every area of family law. Areas of expertise include unravelling complicated trusts and handling pre-acquired wealth, to Children Act proceedings and advising on the financial provision for children.”

  • “Osbornes is a really good team that gives a first-class service which is both sensible and insightful but also supportive of the client’s needs.”

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:

  1. Dissolving the marriage.
  2. Agreeing to the financial settlement.
  3. Dealing with any child arrangements.

You will encounter various 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 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 (now possible with no-fault divorce) or if it is a sole application. The fee should typically be shared with a joint application.

If you agree on 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 agree 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 use a solicitor to help with your divorce, they will charge you for their time. The cost can vary considerably depending on your case’s complexity and the solicitor’s seniority. 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 on 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 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’ charges start 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 (MIAM). 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 and one that meets your family’s needs. 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, our lawyers will always defend and represent your best interests where this is not possible.

To speak with a divorce lawyer, please call us or fill in the online form below.

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    •  The team is experienced in handling matters where there are allegations of abuse and non-accidental injury, as well as situations where children's welfare is at risk due to parents' substance misuse or mental health issues.

      Chambers UK 2024

    • The lawyers at Osbornes are very well established and have a lot of experience between them, which gives them a lot of confidence and a willingness to think out of the box.

      Chambers UK 2024

    • Their client care is really impressive and they have such breadth of experience

      Chambers UK 2024

    • In a long standing issue with my ex and our child, Lisa and her team have always given me advice that has been first class. Lisa has a deep knowledge of how the courts work and which arguments will work and which will not and will advice exactly what to do and when.

      Trust pilot

    • My solicitor Jon Jonas came across as a genuine, very skilled solicitor who demonstrated great insights and experience in complex child arrangement cases. He has been able to create and implement an effective strategy to deal with extremely toxic matters.

      Ben K

    • Bridget Thompson is a public law specialist noted for her extensive children public law practice.

      Chambers UK 2023

    • Lisa Pepper is particularly recognised for her role as a mediator in complex cross-border disputes. Her practice also includes handling prenuptial agreements and issues arising from divorces. She is additionally skilled in Schedule 1 and other child arrangement matters.

      Chambers UK 2023

    • Mark Freedman frequently takes on high-value financial and children proceedings that involve complex tax, trust and accounting issues.

      Chambers UK 2023

    • "Andrew Watson is respected and tenacious in matrimonial finance. You would want him on your team."

      Legal 500 2023

    • "David Leadercrammer is such an experienced wonderful lawyer who you would want on the other side of your case. He’s sensible, pragmatic and hugely experienced in money and children cases."

      Legal 500 2023

    • Andrew secured me the best financial settlement for my claim. He is a credit to Osbornes Solicitors.

      Family Department Client

    • "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"

      Legal 500 2021

    • "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."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "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."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "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"

      Legal 500 2021

    • "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."

      Chambers UK 2021

    • "He is really experienced and wise. He has a lovely manner about him and clients feel safe with him."

      Chambers UK

    • "She is excellent. She's very reliable, talks about her cases passionately and is very committed to her clients."

      Chambers UK 2021

    • "I consider the firm to be very experienced in child care cases and to provide a very professional and high standard of work"

      Chambers UK 2021

    • "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”

      Legal 500 2021

    • "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"

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • Mark Freedman is intelligent and personable and has a good selection of high-net work cases.

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • "Exceptional value for money. Highly competent and reasonably priced. Mark Freedman: one of the best in the field."

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • "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."

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • Mark Freedman is a serious player. A fearless family law litigator, who protects his clients’ interests passionately.

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • Breadth of knowledge and willingness to go the extra mile is what makes it stand out. Mark Freedman – devoted to his clients

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • 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.

      Chambers UK

    • "Mark is very experienced, competent, good with clients and takes a sensible approach to cases. He knows exactly what he's doing."

      Chambers & Partners Directory 2020, Mark Freedman

    • 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."

      Chambers UK

    • "An exceptional outfit. They take on difficult cases, fight hard and win."

      Chambers UK

    • "The team frequently deals with cross-border estates for high–net-worth individuals."

      The Legal 500

    • "Mark Freedman is a real heavyweight litigator who has dealt with some very significant cases."

      The Legal 500

    • "Mark Freedman boxes clever, keeps his powder dry and when it comes to the end game he negotiates a really good deal."

      The Legal 500

    • "Mark Freedman has a specific focus on high-net-worth divorces and finance cases where there are overseas assets and trusts."

      The Legal 500

    • "Lisa Pepper somehow manages to get parties to settle on matters where there isn’t much hope to start out with."

      The Legal 500

    • "Well-regarded family practice assisting clients with substantial matrimonial disputes and sensitive children proceedings."

      Chambers UK

    • "Mark Freedman draws acclaim for his work in high net worth divorce cases, including those involving company structures, family trusts and overseas assets."

      Chambers UK 2019

    • "He never gives up. He fights for you to the end and has boundless energy."

      Chambers UK

    • "Simone is absolutely on top of the game. She has great attention to detail, and has her clients' needs at heart."

      Chambers UK

    • "Bridget is client-focused, a pleasure to work with and incredibly supportive to her clients."

      Chambers UK

    • Mark Freedman advises high-net-worth clients and knows his stuff.

      Legal 500

    • 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.

      Chambers UK

    • Bridget Thompson heads the family team, where client care is the top priority.

      Legal 500

    • 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.

      Chambers UK

    • 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.

      Family Department Client

    • [The Family Law department] handles significant matrimonial finance cases and complex nuptial agreements. Respected for its expertise in cross-border children law matters.

      Chambers UK

    • 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.

      Chambers UK

    • Simone McGrath handles international child abduction cases and challenging care proceedings relating to non-accidental injuries.

      Chambers UK

    • "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.”

      Chambers UK

    • This team is perhaps best known for its children work, often involving complex international dynamics.

      Chambers UK

    • 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

      Chambers UK

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