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How Much Does a Divorce Cost In The UK in 2024?

The average cost of a divorce in England and Wales in 2024 from the Divorce Application to the Decree Absolute / Final Order is likely to be between £842 and £1,195.

Table Of Contents

    The process of divorce has become a lot easier for couples since April 6th, 2022 when the Government introduced no-fault divorce. So, has this made it cheaper to get a divorce?

    A Breakdown Of the Costs Involved With Getting Divorced

    In England and Wales, nearly 40% of all marriages end in a divorce. Here is a breakdown of the typical costs of each option:

    Category Cost (*Excluding VAT & disbursements)
    Cost of a Divorce Online £249 – £500
    Cost of a DIY Divorce £593
    Court Fee For a Divorce Application £593
    Court Fee For a Financial Order Application £58
    Court Fee For Child Arrangement Orders £215
    Average Cost of an Uncontested Divorce £600 – £2,000*
    Average Cost of a Contested Divorce £3,000 – £10,000*
    Average Cost of a Financial Settlement £450 – £5,000*
    Average Cost of Divorce Mediation £150 – £300 per hour
    Average Cost of Legal Advice £150 – £500

    How Much Does a Divorce Online Cost?

    The cost of an online divorce can be as little as £249 + court fees. Getting a divorce online is a more straightforward and affordable solution for divorcing couples.

    Compared to the traditional route, an online removes a lot of the stress and complexity from the divorce procedure. Start from your phone or laptop and keep updated on the progress of your case without needing to chase us for updates.

    See more here: the benefits of getting a divorce online vs hiring solicitors

    What is the Cost of a DIY Divorce?

    If you are looking for the cheapest way to get divorced, it will be a do-it-yourself (DIY) divorce. The costs are simple in cases that are suitable for this type of divorce.

    The only fee you will need to pay is the £593 court fee (if applicable). Divorcing couples often find this route confusing and time-consuming, and you need to weigh this up against paying a fee to have professionals deal with the procedure for you.

    Of course, this doesn’t include any support or advice from the court and it doesn’t deal with the financial aspect of marriage.

    This means your financial ties are left unresolved and parties can return to the table many years after and submit a financial claim.

    Here is why you need to deal with your finances as part of a divorce – The dangers of divorce without a financial settlement.

    If you don’t want an excessive legal bill from local solicitors, starting a divorce online might be a more appropriate option.

    What are the court fees for divorce & financial orders?

    Regardless of how you decide to deal with your divorce, there are mandatory court-filing fees to pay that are currently £593 as of 15th February 2024. This fee is payable when submitting a divorce application to initiate the legal process of ending a marriage.

    For a financial order application, which is filed to seek a court’s approval for a financial settlement as part of the divorce proceedings, the court fee is £58. It’s important to note that this fee is in addition to the divorce court fee mentioned earlier.

    These fees are set by the Government and are mandatory in all applications except for those who are eligible for a fee remission.

    some individuals may be eligible for fee remission or exemption, depending on their financial circumstances. Fee remission means that you may not have to pay the full court fee or may be exempt from paying it altogether if you meet certain criteria.

    To determine if you qualify for fee remission, you’ll need to complete and submit the relevant application form along with supporting documentation, such as proof of income and savings. The court will assess your application and notify you of the outcome.

    How Much Do Solicitors Charge for an Uncontested Divorce?

    Divorce lawyer’s fees usually vary on a case-by-case basis depending on how complicated your financial affairs are.

    The typical hourly rate is between £126 – £255 depending on where you live in the country and the seniority of the solicitor. (Source)

    Some solicitor firms offer fixed-fee options for an uncontested divorce where costs are likely to be between £500 – £1,000.

    The easiest way to avoid additional legal costs is to agree on all major issues such as child maintenance, childcare, and splitting any joint finances.

    All in all, a typical divorce when you instruct a divorce solicitor is going to cost between £1,000 – £2,000 depending on the factors outlined above.

    How Much Do Solicitors Charge for a Contested Divorce?

    In a contested divorce, where spouses cannot come to an agreement on various aspects such as child custody, division of assets, or financial support, legal fees tend to escalate.

    Contested divorces often involve court appearances, extensive negotiations, and potentially lengthy proceedings, all of which can significantly drive up legal costs.

    The fees for solicitors in contested divorces can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case, the geographical location, and the experience of the legal professionals involved.

    However, it’s not uncommon for legal fees in contested divorces to range from several thousand to tens of thousands of pounds.

    How Much Does a Financial Settlement Cost?

    The cost of obtaining a financial settlement in a divorce will vary based on a range of factors, most notability:

    • If you can reach a financial agreement between you.
    • If you require mediation or the help of a solicitor to negotiate the terms.
    • If you instruct local solicitors or use a more affordable option, such as Divorce-Online.

    Unlike a divorce, legally dealing with your finances is not something couples can do themselves.

    The cost of the financial agreement will depend on the complexity of your agreement, but for argument’s sake, we are assuming that the division of assets is fairly straightforward.

    In this scenario, a financial settlement is likely to cost between £500 – £1,500 unless your division of assets becomes complex or you need support negotiating your divorce settlement.

    How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost?

    On average, divorce mediation costs can range from around £150 to £300 per hour, with the total cost typically amounting to a fraction of what contested litigation might entail.

    Divorce mediation offers a less adversarial and potentially more cost-effective alternative to resolving disputes compared to litigation.

    In mediation, a neutral third-party mediator helps couples negotiate and reach mutually acceptable agreements on various issues related to their divorce, such as child custody, visitation schedules, and financial matters.

    The cost of mediation will vary depending on factors such as the mediator’s fees, the number of sessions required, and whether additional services such as legal advice or document preparation are needed.

    How Much Does Legal Advice Cost?

    Rates for legal advice can range from around £100 to £300 per hour, although this can vary based on factors such as the solicitor’s experience and where you live. Divorce solicitors in London will charge more.

    Furthermore, the complexity of your situation and the level of assistance you require will ultimately determine the cost of legal advice.

    If you opt for consultations with a divorce solicitor to gain a better understanding of your rights and options, you may be charged an hourly rate or a fixed fee for these services.

    Additionally, some solicitors may offer initial consultations at a reduced or complimentary rate.

    It’s essential to discuss fees and payment arrangements upfront with your chosen legal advisor to ensure transparency and avoid any unexpected costs.

    How Much Does a Divorce Cost if it Goes to Court?

    The cost of a divorce in the UK when it goes to court varies widely, typically ranging from £5,000 to £30,000. This cost encompasses several factors, including legal fees, court expenses, and additional costs associated with court proceedings.

    Legal fees, which are often the most significant expense, depend on the complexity of the case and the chosen legal representation.

    Also, where you live and the seniority of the solicitor acting for you will contribute to the overall legal bill.

    Whether you are charged hourly rates or fixed fees will determine what the overall cost is for a divorce that goes to court.

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    Key Points

    • If you’re the person seeking a divorce (Applicant), a divorce is likely going to cost you between £800 – £1,200.
    • A divorce cannot be contested by your partner even if they don’t agree to the divorce, which makes it simpler and more cost-effective for couples.
    • If you know where your spouse lives this will help you keep costs down. You may require the support of a solicitor if you don’t know where your spouse lives, which adds to the cost.
    • Divorce fees are expensive if you instruct a lawyer on an hourly rate basis. Look for fixed-fee options to reduce the overall cost of legal fees.
    • The process of ending a civil partnership is the same as a divorce, except it’s called a dissolution.

    Quick question

    Is a divorce cheaper if both parties agree?

    Yes, divorce is generally cheaper if both parties agree on the terms of the divorce settlement.

    When couples can reach mutual agreements on issues such as child custody, division of assets, and financial support, it significantly reduces the need for extensive legal proceedings and negotiations.

    This typically results in lower legal fees and court costs, making the overall process more affordable and less time-consuming.

    Additionally, amicable divorces tend to be less emotionally draining for all parties involved.

    Do both parties have to pay for a divorce?

    In general, each party involved in a divorce is responsible for paying their own legal fees and court costs.

    However, there may be exceptions to this rule depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, if one spouse earns significantly more than the other and there is a vast disparity in financial resources, the court may order the wealthier spouse to contribute towards the other’s legal expenses.

    Additionally, some couples may agree to split the costs of the divorce proceedings as part of their settlement negotiations.

    Divorce Costs UK Who Pays The Legal Fees?

    Joint application divorce – is it cheaper to do it together?

    Yes, a joint application for divorce, where both parties agree to the divorce and file the necessary paperwork together, can be a more cost-effective option compared to contested divorces or cases where only one spouse initiates the proceedings.

    By working together to complete the required forms and reach agreements on issues such as child custody and financial matters, couples can save on legal fees and court costs.

    Additionally, joint application divorces often proceed more smoothly and quickly, reducing the overall time and expense involved in the divorce process.

    How To Get a Joint Divorce & The Pros and Cons

    Is divorce cheaper after a longer separation?

    No, getting divorced after a long separation is not cheaper than any other divorce. The cost of divorce can increase over time as long separation periods can complicate financial settlements.

    I know many people wrongfully believe the myth of automatic divorce after a long separation, but it’s just a myth and not possible under UK divorce law.

    For more details on the potential costs, read our article on the cost of divorce after 10 years of separation.

    Tips to Reduce The Cost of Divorce

    • Use family law solicitors for initial legal advice to understand your legal position but not for the processing of your application.
    • Make every effort to find an address for your spouse if you don’t know where they live.
    • Consider getting a divorce online to help reduce the legal fees.
    • Consider using buy now pay later to spread the costs.

    In reality, 90% of divorce applicants don’t require the assistance of a solicitor to get a divorce.

    Do you need to spend £1,000+ simply for a lawyer to draft the divorce papers and process them through the courts?

    Unless your individual divorce case is complicated then the answer is likely to be no.

    What other issues can affect the cost of divorce?

    The main issue that can affect the cost of a divorce is not knowing where your spouse lives.

    If you don’t have a current address for your spouse then you need to follow a ‘No Contact Divorce’ process, which unfortunately can have more costs associated with it.

    If this scenario sounds like what you’re facing, read our article on getting divorced without an address for your spouse.

    Save Thousands in Legal Fees With An Online Divorce

    In most cases, it’s unnecessary to spend thousands on your divorce. If both parties agree to the divorce and you have reached an agreement on your money and assets then the process be stress-free and straightforward.

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