If you are going through a divorce, it’s important you have a good understanding of the costs associated with this legal proceeding.
Divorce laws have changed drastically, and as a result, fees, regulations and technicalities have developed too. Read on to learn more about the cost of a divorce in the UK and what needs to be considered.
How much does a divorce cost in the UK on average?
The average cost of a divorce in the UK is £14,500, including inevitable lifestyle changes.
Throughout the process, there can be a lot of factors that contribute to an expensive divorce, including childcare, name changes and house repayments.
Child maintenance, for example, is dependent on the income of the parent who doesn’t have the main day-to-day care of the child. If the gross weekly income of the parent is between £7 to £100, or if the parent is on benefits, the child will receive a weekly amount of £7. Anything above that amount will be worked out through the courts.
The cost of running a home is also likely to increase, for example, if one partner has moved out and needs to find somewhere new and the other has kept the home.
According to The Telegraph, a survey conducted by Aviva found that those who went through a divorce ended up spending an additional £12,840 on top of the split. An average of £1,277 is spent on dating, while £1,370 is the average spent on decorating to erase memories.
As bills, lifestyle and child maintenance can contribute to financial strains as a result of getting a divorce, for many people it’s likely to be easier if the divorce is amicable, making it more affordable in the long run.
How much does a divorce cost in legal fees?
- Mandatory court fee – £550
- Divorce solicitor – £950
Every divorce is different – the terms the individuals part on heavily impact how much a lawyer will cost, because it depends on how much work they need to take on. If the divorce is decided between both partners, it can be easily done online. However, there is still a mandatory fee to pay to the court, which is currently £550.
There is an alternative which is described as an uncontested divorce, which is still an amicable split but includes a divorce lawyer. It’s likely this will happen if the people getting divorced agreed on terms together and want them written and documented for future reference. When it comes to paying for both the solicitor and court fees this will cost £1,500, with the average divorce solicitor costing £950.
If the split isn’t amicable, there is no accurate fee for how much a divorce will cost. The cost is variable depending on solicitor fees, which can be costly, particularly if there is a lot to discuss as a settlement.
Lawyers can cost thousands of pounds, particularly if it takes multiple sessions to come to an agreement. Some people will also use a mediator which will increase the price even more.
Is there help for those on a lower income?
When it comes to payment, there is potential to have legal aid, which means if the person getting divorced is on a low income, they may be entitled to help to cover the legal processes.
However, if they are not entitled to legal aid, the person filing for divorce is usually who will pay the court fee. The person who files it can request that the respondent pays in a fault-based divorce, or two-year separation if they both agree. It is possible to claim divorce fees from the respondent, but it may cause interruptions during the divorce proceedings.
The cheapest way to get a divorce is for both partners to agree on the terms and file their own divorce – though it’s always worth seeking legal advice.
Once a couple decides to get a divorce, the process starts. If the divorce is dealt with easily it can be finalised within four to six months because the relevant paperwork simply needs to be filed. However, if there are financial matters that need to be resolved it can take substantially longer, usually resulting in a year-long process.
In order to speed up the process, it’s necessary for an agreement to be made confirming the reason behind the divorce, because if one person decides to contest it, the process can be much longer – resulting in the need to go to court.
New processes have come into play
When a couple decides to split on amicable grounds, new government legislation means that no one will need to be blamed for the breakdown of their marriage in a bid to resolve family conflict. The law used to be that a person needed to prove that the marriage has broken down and can’t be saved.
The five grounds were: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, been separated for at least two years and both parties agree to the split, or if the couple has been separated for at least five years, regardless of whether both people agree.
The government has since put forward a proposal to change the laws for divorce, including the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage as the sole ground for divorce. The reforms put forward now maintain the positives of the divorce law while removing the difficulties of the system.
At Sunny, we strive to help people better understand financial issues and we hope the information in this post proves helpful. If you need further help, we recommend speaking an expert.