What is the cost of a divorce?

Are you frightened of going to a solicitor because of the cost?

You’re right to be frightened.

I’ve heard more than one solicitor say they couldn’t afford their own fees if they were to divorce. The average cost of a divorce is about £40,000 – for each partner.

If you can agree as much as possible between you, maybe through mediation, and just use solicitors for essential advice and to draw up your financial consent order, you should be able to divorce for between £1,500 and £5,000. You can make further savings by doing the divorce proceedings yourself. Legal aid is still available for mediation, for those who qualify, but not for legal advice from solicitors unless there has been domestic abuse.

Usually, the longer you can put off going to a solicitor, the less it will cost you, unless you’re just ignoring the whole problem and hoping it will go away. It won’t, and you could have to pay your spouse’s costs if you’re frustrating the process.

If it’s a financial settlement you’re dealing with, I normally suggest waiting until you have both completed your Form Es, because a solicitor will not be able to give you much useful advice before then.

However, if your financial situation is complex, you may be well advised to seek financial or legal advice sooner rather than later, to see if there are tax or other implications.

If either or both of you have pensions of any value, at least some legal or financial advice is essential.

If you’re not able to agree about arrangements for your children, or your financial arrangements, and you have to go to court, you need to have a plan for paying your legal fees which could easily reach £20,000 – £40,000 or more.

I can help you plan and budget for your divorce and give you the information you need to fill in divorce and financial forms yourself so that you can afford to get the advice and/or representation you’ll need further down the line.

The cost of a divorce can cost anything between £550 (the court fee, just for the divorce itself) and £1m or more in ‘celebrity’ cases. Solicitors’ fees in and around London vary between £200 and £700+ per hour, plus 20% VAT; they can be less in other parts of the country.

If you go to court, it’s going to cost you a lot of money. Our legal system is adversarial which means you’re getting straight into a fight. That’s a dreadful way to resolve family problems anyway, but as well as damaging your co-parenting relationship (and, therefore, your children), it will damage your wealth, and probably your health. I do all I can to keep people out of court and to find the best way forward for their children and themselves, but it’s not always possible to avoid.

You need to consider how much you want to pay in solicitors’ fees and how much you want to do yourself. Even if you are starting to come to terms with your situation it is still an emotional time so if money is not an issue, you may choose to let your solicitor do all the paperwork for you. However, if you want to reduce the cost of a divorce by filling in forms yourself, and conducting your own case, I can give you as much or as little help as you need to do this.

Divorce Consultant Diana Jordan  who can advise on how to reply to a solicitors letter

You might also be interested in reading the ‘Legal Structure of Divorce’ a two-minute guide to divorce proceedings.

A Better Way of Dealing with Divorce: book