Who pays divorce fees is a question we are often asked at Divorce-Online.
There appears to be a myth that the other side (known as the respondent) always pays the fees for a divorce.
Whereas actually, in reality 9/10 times the petitioner will be the person paying the divorce fee.
What are the fees in a divorce?
Regardless of how you choose to file for divorce, be it with an online divorce provider, a local solicitor or you go alone and do it yourself, there is still a court fee to pay.
If you just want to get divorced and not secure your finances afterwards by obtaining a consent order that is the only fee payable.
If you want to obtain a legally binding financial order there is an additional court fee to pay.
- £550 is the court fee to apply for a divorce
- £50 is the court fee to apply for a consent order
If you are on a low-income or receive certain benefits you may be eligible for a court fee remission.
The petitioner always pays the divorce filing fee
Initially the person filing for the divorce (known as the Petitioner) will always pay the divorce filing fee, which is paid to the court to prove the administration for the divorce process.
The fee to file for divorce in England and Wales is currently £550, which has recently risen from £410, but now includes your entire divorce process with no extra or separate payments required.
If the petitioner is on a low income they may get help with paying this fee, known as court fee remission.
The petitioner can ask for the respondent to pay their costs in a fault based divorce, or in a 2 year separation case if they both agree.
Divorce fees in fault based divorces
In cases where the respondent does not agree, there will be a costs hearing after the decree nisi has been pronounced at which the respondent will have an opportunity to argue why they should not pay the costs.
In most cases this will be on the basis that you cannot afford to pay the divorce fees.
A financial assessment will take place and the judge will then decide how much the respondent should pay, they can also order instalments.
Divorce fees can also include any fees incurred by solicitors for the petitioner and they will also be assessed at any costs hearing as to whether they are reasonable or not.
The judge has guidelines as to what a reasonable fee is, depending on the area you live in and the locality of the court.
Should I claim for the divorce fees?
In most cases we deal with here at Divorce-Online, we advise the petitioner to not claim costs, unless they are agreed.
This is because the petitioner will want the divorce to go through quickly and uninterrupted.
Claiming for fees may cause the respondent to withdraw co operation.
A claim for costs will usually cause the Respondent to withdraw their consent and delay the issue of the final decree. So is it really worth not getting your divorce because you have chosen to claim £550 in divorce fees?