Georgina Emerson

Associate Solicitor

DATE PUBLISHED: 05 Mar 2024 LAST UPDATED: 05 Mar 2024

Understanding the Costs Involved in Getting a Divorce

Going through a divorce/separation is a challenging and emotionally taxing process, and one aspect that often adds to the stress is the costs involved.

Navigating through the complexities of divorce requires careful consideration of the various costs involved. In this blog, we will explore the different expenses associated with getting a divorce that you should consider.

Court Fees

The Court fee for a divorce or a dissolution of a civil partnership is £593 which is payable when the application is submitted. You can either agree to share this cost equally with your spouse or the person making the application will be responsible. If you and your spouse can’t reach an agreement over the finances and one of you wants to issue a Court application, the fee for this is  £275,. If there are issues over your children, the Court fee for making an application for a Child Arrangements Order is £232. There are various other Court fees that may be applicable depending on the application you are making to the Court, but your solicitor will advise you of these before making an application. If you are a victim of domestic abuse and need to apply for a protection order i.e. non-molestation order or occupation order, there is no court fee payable.

Subject to your income and financial circumstances, you may be able to apply for money off the court fee known as a ‘Help with Fees’ application. You can read more about this process here.

Legal Fees

One of the primary costs of divorce is legal fees. Instructing an experienced family lawyer may be necessary in order to achieve a fair outcome and to make progress. You can read more about why you may need a family lawyer here. Legal fees can vary significantly based on the complexity of the case, the issues involved, and the solicitor’s seniority, experience and hourly rate. There are varying options to consider reducing and manage your legal fees, for example, separating couples may opt for mediation which can be a more cost-effective process.

Mediation and other dispute resolution options

Where successful, mediation is far less expensive (and much quicker) than going through the court process which usually involves the expense of a solicitor (and sometimes a barrister too) on each side. With mediation, all negotiations (and most of the work) is done in the mediation sessions, usually with a single mediator (so only one hourly rate, rather than two). Lawyers are kept on the periphery, and this limits legal fees. The government have put in place a Family Mediation Voucher Scheme of £500 which is designed to support people in resolving their family law disputes outside of court which involve issues over children.

Sometimes mediation is not suitable as a way of resolving a dispute. But there are other options which do not involve the Court route which may help reduce legal fees, such as collaborative family law and round table settlement meetings.

Expert Fees 

Determining how to fairly divide marital assets requires accurate and reliable figures for various assets. This may require the involvement of professional appraisers or financial experts which results in an additional but necessary expense. For example (not an exhaustive list):-

  1. Valuation Report – valuation costs can include appraisals of property, businesses, and other valuable assets. It’s essential to accurately assess the value of these to ensure a fair distribution.
  2. Pension Expert’s Report – often the value of divorcing couple’s combined pensions far exceeds the equity in the family home. Pensions can be subject to sharing provisions and it is sometimes necessary to instruct a pension expert, known as an actuary, to prepare a report to ensure the pensions are accurately valued and to determine what pension income each spouse can expect upon retirement.
  3. CGT Report – if divorcing couples have multiple assets, they may need to determine if capital gains tax is payable when transferring assets as part of a financial settlement. Any tax liability will need to be factored in when determining a fair division.

Child Arrangements and Child Maintenance

For couples with children, child arrangements and child maintenance calculations are factors to consider when going through a divorce. The child(s)’s best interest should be at the heart of any decision. If parents are unable to reach an agreement in relation to child arrangements, they may incur legal fees in order to resolve these matters which can contribute to the total expenses. Child maintenance is determined and governed by the Child Maintenance Service and we recommend using the CMS calculator for guidance.

Counselling and Therapy

Going through a divorce can be extremely stressful, traumatic and may result in anxiety and depression. Emotional and psychological support during divorce/separation can be  very beneficial to support mental wellbeing. Many people seek counselling or therapy during their divorce. While not a direct legal cost, these services are something to consider and factor into the overall financial impact of the divorce process.

Living arrangements and Expenses

Often divorce leads to changes in living arrangements, standard of living and increased living expenses. This is something we will assess with you when considering the terms of a fair financial settlement to ensure that you are able to house yourself and your family and to meet your monthly income needs.

How can Ellis Jones help?

Getting a divorce involves various costs which can vary based on individual circumstances. Being aware of these potential costs and carefully planning for them can help individuals navigate the divorce process more effectively. Seeking professional advice and exploring alternative dispute resolution methods can contribute to a more cost-efficient and less stressful divorce experience. Our specialist family lawyers at Ellis Jones will always be transparent about our costs and ensure that they are providing you with a cost-effective service.

If you need assistance or advice in relation to the division of your matrimonial finances and/or the divorce process, please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of our expert Family Law Solicitors on 01202 636223 or by e-mail to We offer an initial 1-hour fixed fee meeting and would be pleased to assist you.

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

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