How Much Does A Divorce Cost In The UK?

Couple Signing Divorce Paper

When any marriage breaks down irrecoverably, it’s common to end in a finalised divorce. No matter how long the marriage has lasted, it can be difficult for both parties, with the potential for complex financial and legal procedures and judgements. If you’re in this position, it’s natural to worry about costs. But as every couple is different, it can be almost impossible to figure out what any divorce costs will be. So how much does a divorce cost? This guide will look at who pays what, how much your fees can be, and how long a divorce can take.

How much does a divorce cost?

According to a 2018 report from Aviva, the “cost of divorce and separation can surpass £14,500 for UK couples”. So in 2022, you could expect the average cost to be £15,000 and upwards. But the cost of any divorce can vary significantly, with plenty of variables impacting the total cost of what you’ll pay outright. 

These factors can include the part you played in the divorce, whether or not the divorce is contested by either party, whether or not you chose to seek legal advice during the process, or how any disagreements find a resolution. 

Many people focus on the final settlement costs, but these, sometimes hidden, factors can all mount up. It’s essential to be aware of these costs to plan accordingly.

Who pays the divorce costs?

Who pays the divorce costs is a question we get asked regularly. In most cases, the ‘petitioner’ – the person applying for the divorce – is responsible for paying for court fees, rather than the ‘respondent’ – the party responding to the divorce petition – and any associated fees they run up with their solicitor. 

However, the petitioner can claim that the other party should pay the court fees, which can be another process to challenge, but the final decision is down to the court to decide. In amicable divorce cases, it’s not unusual for both parties to agree and split the court costs evenly between them.

Aside from court fees, it’s standard practice for each party to be responsible for paying their own solicitor fees during the divorce process. But there are ways you can reduce your divorce expenses, or even eliminate them, if you’re struggling financially, including applying for legal aid, completing a DIY divorce, or agreeing to a fixed fee. 

How much will a divorce financial settlement cost?

When it comes to the final divorce settlement, costs will always depend on whether an agreement between both parties can be made sooner rather than later in the proceedings. More simple and straightforward divorce cases with this early agreement mean costs can reach up to around £1,000.

More complicated cases that involve further negotiation or mediation to reach an agreeable settlement can be more expensive, typically rising to around £2,500. In situations where the case needs to go to court to reach an agreement, costs can increase dramatically, rising to approximately £5,000 and upwards.

In every case, our specialist divorce solicitors will give you an estimate of costs and what they could reach. But they’ll also discuss your budget and your individual circumstances to see if there are other ways to reduce your expenses.

How much does a divorce child arrangements order cost?

In any divorce case involving children, parents should discuss their children’s needs, practicalities, and living arrangements and create a parenting plan to ensure they’re taken care of. When parents can’t agree, it may be necessary to make any plans legally binding through the courts with a child arrangements order.

This can be deemed by both parents to be the best way forward and in the children’s best interests. Applying for a child arrangements order can add the cost of £232 to your court fees. But our skilled and knowledgeable team can advise and support you with the entire process.

Can I share divorce costs with my spouse or claim costs?

It’s usual for the petitioner and the respondent to have separate solicitors in a divorce case, each responsible for paying any fees incurred. However, it is possible costs can be shared or limited in certain circumstances, particularly if only one party uses a solicitor.

The petitioner can ask the court to instruct the other party to pay their legal divorce fees, or ask that any costs be shared equally between both parties – even if it’s just the court fees. This request means applying for a ‘costs order’ as a separate process which can take additional time and money.

How long does a divorce take?

There is no simple answer to this question. If both parties decide to get divorced, it’s normal for them to want it finalised as quickly as possible. But the process is littered with different stages, all influencing how long a divorce will take.

Different factors can include filing the divorce application, responding to the application, applying for a Conditional Order (formerly known as a Decree nisi), applying for a Final Order (formerly known as a Decree Absolute), and the process of agreeing to a divorce settlement. Each of these can individually span from days to weeks, but collectively they can run from 6-12 months.

A high net-worth divorce can take even longer due to the legal complexities of onshore or offshore financial assets, pre and post-nuptial agreements, and any issues around hereditary wealth.

But in April 2022, the UK government introduced new legislation on ‘no-fault divorce’ for couples who wish to assign no blame for the marriage breaking down and keep their divorce amicable. A no-fault divorce can take approximately 26 weeks or less.

How much is a divorce solicitor’s fee?

Divorce costs will vary from case to case and from solicitor to solicitor. All individual circumstances are considered and will depend on how straightforward or complicated your finances are. The biggest factor affecting costs will be how swiftly both parties can agree on the settlement, which could include child custody and finances.

As leading divorce solicitors, Osbourne Pinner offers a range of divorce services with affordable pricing, no hidden charges – and a free initial consultation. Contact us to book yours today.

How can the divorce solicitors at Osbourne Pinner help you?

A divorce can be complex and drawn out or relatively swift and uncomplicated. Osbourne Pinner is one of the best divorce law firms in London, offering you legal counsel on all divorce-related issues. 
We help all our clients move through the process amicably and provide professional representation at every stage to help you get a financial settlement in the divorce while maintaining the welfare of any children involved. Contact the Osbourne Pinner team today to book your consultation.

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