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What is the Average Cost of a Divorce in the UK?

Posted: 1st August 2023
Written by: Newtons Family Law Solicitors

English bank notes and coins.

Understanding how much a divorce will cost you can be tricky, particularly if you are going through a turbulent and emotional separation. Despite this, you must address who will pay for your divorce, ensuring that all your financial interests are handled in the best way possible.

Fortunately, our committed team of family law solicitors has years of experience in this field and is here to help guide you through this process.

What is the average cost of divorce in the UK?

A report by Aviva found that, in the UK, the average cost of divorce was about £14,561 in 2018, a rise of 17% from 2014. This fee involves related expenses, like child maintenance. Despite this, some divorce proceedings may be higher or lower in price depending on the couple’s specific circumstances. Both parties meet their own costs, although the applicant typically pays more due to court fees.

Who pays for a divorce in the UK?

Generally, both parties will pay their own legal fees, for example, by paying for their solicitor or any mediation fees. The divorce applicant will be expected to pay the court fee, although you may wish to agree with your spouse informally to split the cost of this. Parties can also split the costs in the case of a joint application.

What factors do I need to consider when divorcing?

There are a few different factors you should consider in relation to the cost of divorce, such as:

  • Fixed court fees

As it stands, the fixed court fee is £593 to apply for a divorce. As mentioned above, this fee is typically covered by the party who applied for the divorce.

  • Solicitor fees

Each party must cover their own costs for legal representation. Prior to the no-fault laws, legal costs orders could be made on rare occasions but this is no longer the case as the changes in legislation aim to reduce animosity and do not assign one partner the ‘blame’ for the divorce.

  • Mediation

If you go through a mediation process, you may find this is a less expensive option than taking matters to Court. However, if discussions are ineffective and things must proceed to Court, the parties cannot claim the costs back. You also cannot compel your partner to go to mediation if they are unwilling.

How can I fund a divorce?

The question of funding for divorce is increasingly a concern at such an emotional and difficult time, especially as many households are struggling with the cost of living crisis. So, what are the options available? Here are some of the possible solutions for consideration:

  • Pay from your own resources

Whether from income or capital, you can pay from your own resources. If, however, you are attempting to sell assets to meet your ongoing costs, you must consider this carefully. This is because the Court may view any such disposal as an attempt to put the assets beyond the reach of your spouse.

  • Borrow off family and friends

The benefit of borrowing from family members and friends is that they usually don’t charge interest and fixed repayment dates. However, any such loan must be evidenced in writing so that your spouse cannot argue it as a “soft loan” that is not repayable.

  • Use a credit card or overdraft

Many credit cards will offer nil or lower interest rates on a short-term basis. However, you must consider this carefully as the interest rates can increase considerably after a limited time. Therefore, this may be considered if short-term borrowing can be cleared from a settlement, but you should be aware of how long the divorce process can take.

  • Claim on insurance

It is worth checking your domestic household insurance policy to see if any assistance is provided for legal advice.

  • Accept payments from your spouse

This can be through a voluntary agreement or following an application to the Court for payment under a legal services order if no other funding source is available.

Whichever way legal fees are funded, it is important to discuss the costs estimate at the outset of your case and to obtain a written estimate. Doing this will ensure that you can plan appropriately.

Who is eligible for legal aid?

Legal aid (the provision of financial aid to individuals who cannot pay for legal representation and court system access) is now only available in minimal circumstances, such as for victims of domestic abuse. Those who may be financially eligible must produce evidence of this to the legal aid agency.

If legal aid is available to you, don’t be caught up in the popular misconception that the legal aid advice is free. Unfortunately, this is not the case. You should treat legal aid as a loan to be paid back from any settlement received at the conclusion of a case.

Eligibility for legal aid depends on various factors, such as:

  • Your finances, including income, savings, and assets, amongst other things
  • Whether you have been a victim of domestic abuse
  • Exceptional circumstances
  • If you are willing to go to mediation

How does the no-fault divorce law change cost divisions?

As of April 2022, the adjustments to the no-fault divorce rules have modified cost divisions in divorce. So, who pays for divorce?

Before April 2022, the individual who paid the application would generally cover the legal costs. If this individual blamed the other party for being at fault, the Court could make an order that the respondent covered the divorce costs.

However, under the no-blame divorce rules, no party is recognised to be at fault. This means that the Courts will not declare a costs order unless there has been blatant misconduct in how one party handles the process. This means that divorcing couples now decide how to split the costs.

How can Newtons Solicitors help?

The UK average cost of divorce can be worrying for many, especially as there are sometimes unforeseen complexities in this difficult process. This is why you should fall back on the legal support you deserve from one of our excellent solicitors.

We can offer rigorous advice, which may be particularly crucial if you have children to look after. So, if you want to access the expert guidance of one of our professional solicitors, please contact us today.