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Cost of divorce in the UK

Understanding the costs of divorce 

From a legal perspective, divorce is simply the ending of a contract in law. It involves the completion of certain items of paperwork which have to be filed with the courts. The courts levy a fee for handling this paperwork, currently £550.00. There will also be the cost of any advice you obtain from a lawyer and their help in completing the divorce paperwork. 

If you are divorcing someone

If you initiate the divorce you will be known as the petitioner. Your lawyer will need to prepare the divorce petition and certain other paperwork on your behalf. As you are initiating the divorce you will be asked to pay the Court fees as well as your lawyers fees. At Woolley & Co, solicitors we do this work for a fixed fee of £1420.00, which includes the Court fees and VAT.

If someone is divorcing you

If you are the respondent in a divorce (ie your partner has initiated divorce proceedings) and where the divorce is uncontested by you Woolley & Co offer a fixed fee of £600.00 to handle the divorce on your behalf.  This includes our fees and VAT on our fees. You do not have to pay Court fees, this is payable by your spouse who has initiated the divorce.

For more complex cases your divorce lawyer will be able to give you a clear estimate on the cost of carrying out this work for you.

Splitting the costs

Most people have to pay these costs themselves, although some couples going through an amicable divorce choose to split the costs between them.

Beyond the divorce

Very few cases, however, involve only the divorce paperwork. In most marriages there is a marital home, money in a joint account or savings scheme, pensions held by one or both parties, and other financial issues which need to be agreed on. These can include division of household furniture, who will keep the family car, pets and so on.

In a marriage in which children are involved, there is also likely to be agreement needed as to which parent the children shall live with, and contact arrangements with the other parent.

If both parties can agree on how to split finances and/or arrangements for the children, a case can be very simple and may not require the parties to attend court. In these circumstances, your lawyer will ensure your agreement is a legally-binding document that both parties can then sign for the court’s approval.

But most people will need help from an experienced divorce lawyer to assist them in knowing what to negotiate for.

Can't agree? 

In some cases, a couple cannot agree even with the help of their lawyer and decide to let the court deal with things. This is when costs can begin to escalate. 

It is worthwhile understanding at the outset that, in addition to the lawyers’ fees, you will need to budget anything between £3,000 to £4,000 for the following:

  • Court fees.
  • Valuer’s fees in respect of the matrimonial home, other properties, policies and assets.
  • Fees paid to pension fund managers for transfer value figures and other calculations.
  • Fees paid to banks and credit card companies for copy statements, if not available.
  • Fees paid to the HM Revenue for copy tax documents, if not available.
  • Fees paid to independent financial advisers for advice on how to manage your financial affairs.
  • Fees paid to actuaries to calculate pension sharing figures.
  • Fees for a barrister to represent you at any final hearing.

Need further help or advice?

Call Woolley & Co on 0800 3213832 to speak with one of our lawyers.