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How much does a divorce cost?

Divorce Costs in the United Kingdom seem to be on the rise. Earlier this year, new research revealed that couples spend on average £14,561 on legal and lifestyle costs when they break up, a 17% increase since 2014.

According to Aviva’s Family Finances Report addressed divorce costs: as well as legal fees, which sat at an average of £2,679 per person, an average of £3,321 was spent on setting up a new home and £4,810 on a new car.

The research also showed that, on average, money matters took 14.5 months to settle after a split, three months longer than in 2014. Over a third of couples questioned said that they found the process worse than expected.


Divorce Costs and the financial settlement

As this report shows, divorce can be both costly and time consuming. Indeed, although the financial settlement is a separate process to the divorce itself, it is this which can often take the most time. Moreover, it is the process of agreeing a financial settlement, or if this is not possible, asking a court to make the decision of how your assets will be divided upon divorce, which can take up the majority of the costs.

divorce costs


Will the use of a solicitor increase my divorce costs?

As we touched on above, the legal fees can take up a proportion of the divorce costs when a relationship comes to an end.

Of course, it is possible to divorce without a solicitor. There will still be court fees to pay, but there is no hiding from the fact that legal advice does come at a price.

However, having an experienced family lawyer to assist you throughout the divorce process, can be invaluable. Not only can receiving legal advice help you to make sure that you fully understand exactly what your rights are, it can also ensure that you know what a financial settlement, based on your individual circumstances, could look like, so that you can begin your negotiations with your spouse with this knowledge at the forefront of your mind.

In addition to this, solicitors can help with these negotiations, if necessary. When many people think of divorce lawyers, they think of courtrooms and long, drawn-out legal battles. However, this really is the exception, rather than the norm, as a good family solicitor should be working with you to avoid this scenario, if possible.

Moreover, family lawyers trained in  , can help if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement about how your assets should be divided. This process, involving 4-way meetings between you, your spouse and your respective lawyers, is about working together to reach a financial settlement, rather than hostility and conflict.


Keeping divorce costs down

Most firms should be able to offer solicitors at different levels, so that you can choose a solicitor who is appropriate for your budget.

What’s more, you should be regularly updated regarding your costs throughout the process, so you can keep an eye on your finances.

Good family lawyers are not there to push up costs by drawing out your divorce. Indeed, receiving legal advice, specific to your circumstances early on in the process, could put your mind at rest during what can be a very stressful time and help you to understand how you can work towards a financial settlement and, ultimately, move on with your life.


How much does a divorce cost?

Before beginning the divorce process, it can be useful to understand approximately how much a divorce costs.

While there are often many variables in the divorce process which can significantly alter the cost of a divorce, having an idea of how much you may be expected to pay can help you to budget, both now and for the future.


How much does a divorce cost?

At the time of writing, the fee for applying for a divorce in England and Wales is £550.

This does not include any legal advice or help to agree a financial settlement. It is simply the fee for the divorce application.

Although it is not necessary to seek legal advice before applying for a divorce in England and Wales, it is highly recommended that you have at least one appointment with a divorce solicitor, so that you know what to expect and fully understand your rights.

A solicitor will also be able to help you complete the divorce application, to ensure that there are no mistakes which could cause unnecessary delays further down the line.


The real cost of a divorce

As well as the fee to apply for a divorce, many people will also opt to seek legal advice from a solicitor.

The reality is that how much a divorce will cost will depend on factors such as:

• whether one person ‘defends’ (disagrees with) the divorce
• whether an agreement can be reached on how to split the finances
• whether an agreement can be reached on child arrangements

It is often not the divorce process itself which causes costs to increase. When looking at how much a divorce may cost, it’s also important to consider both the financial settlement and child arrangements.

Agreeing a financial settlement in particular, has the potential to increase how much a divorce will cost.

If, for example, one spouse has complex international assets and investments, reaching a financial settlement may take longer and divorce costs may increase.

If both parties can reach an agreement between themselves (ideally with independent legal advice from their respective solicitors), how much the divorce costs is likely to be reduced.

However, if help to reach an agreement is needed in the form of mediation or collaborative law, this could add to how much the divorce costs.

How much a divorce costs can spiral if an agreement about how to split the finances cannot be reached and it’s necessary to go to court.

Asking ‘how much does a divorce cost’ is like asking how long is a piece of string. There are various different factors that can come into play, changing the cost of a divorce.

How much a divorce will really cost will depend on your individual circumstances. A good divorce solicitor should be able to give you an estimate, after speaking with you about your situation.


How can our expert divorce solicitors help you?

Our expert divorce solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email


Our expert divorce solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in our:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Sheffield Office: Pinfold Street, The Balance, Sheffield, S1 2GU

Manchester Office: King Street, Manchester, M2 4PD

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

London Office: 01 Nothumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5BW

Please contact us for more details. 

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11th December 2018

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