How much does a divorce cost?
After concerns about children, the next question couples contemplating divorce think about is how much the divorce is going to cost. We’ve all seen and heard the horror stories of expensive divorces. But the truth is, in the majority of cases, it is possible to divorce inexpensively.
How much a divorce costs depends on three factors.
1. Ability to cooperate
The first consideration is the expected level of cooperation between you and your spouse. Is your separation amicable and agreed? Or is it contested (disputed) and the relationship hostile? The more hostility and disagreement, the more expensive a divorce will be.
2. Complexity of financial and family affairs
When lots of assets are involved, it tends to increase conflict, which drives up the cost of divorce. Similarly, having children, especially school-age, can add further complexity.
3. The service you use to get a divorce
The service you use to get a divorce has a significant impact on the overall cost of your divorce. You have three choices:
- Manage your divorce yourself (DIY)
- Use an online divorce service like Easy Online Divorce
- Hire the services of an expensive high street solicitor
While you can’t do much about financial and family complexity, you can influence the level of cooperation between you and your spouse, and you can decide the best service for your situation.
The rest of this article will explain the pros and cons of DIY, online divorce services and high street solicitors. We will also explain how you can reduce conflict. Both of these factors will help you reduce the cost of your divorce.
Cost of Divorce – Court Fees
Regardless of how you decide to deal with your divorce, there are mandatory court fees to pay that are currently £593. This doesn’t mean you have to attend court. These are the fees to pay for the court’s staff to process your divorce.
This means that even if you decide to handle your entire divorce process yourself, you will still be required to pay the court fee unless you are eligible for the ‘help with fees’ scheme.
You can apply for help with fees if you receive certain benefits or if you earn a low income.
Do It Yourself (DIY) Divorce
DIY is the cheapest way to get a divorce, but it is only viable if you and your spouse agree to the divorce and the reasons why you are getting divorced.
You can apply directly on the government website for your divorce online or by post here.
A word of caution, though. You will need to take the time to research the procedure and learn the legal jargon to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes. Mistakes result in delays and can incur charges to correct applications.
With time and patience, this is your cheapest option. The cost of filing for divorce is zero. The only cost would be the £593 court fees unless you are eligible for help with fees.
Online Divorce Services
If you don’t have the time or willingness to go down the DIY route, the next lowest cost option to get a divorce is to use an online divorce service like Easy Online Divorce.
For example Easy Online Divorce offers a Fully Managed Service for £199. Here we draft and file all divorce documents with the courts, and manage all communication with the court for you.
If your spouse agrees to divorce or if you have been separated for more than five years, Online Divorce is your best option. You get the same (and often better) service that a high street solicitor would provide, but at a fraction of the cost.
And often online divorce services are quicker because the central aim of their business is for their clients to divorce. In contrast, solicitors charge by the hour and make a significant amount of money from conflicts between divorcing couples.
Summary of costs – Easy Online Divorce:
- Fully Managed service costs £199 + £593 in court fees = £792
High Street Solicitors
If your divorce is contested or highly complicated, it is difficult to avoid using a solicitor. Examples of this would be situations where you cannot, under any circumstances, reach agreement on the divorce, on the division of assets or the care of dependant children.
Some fixed price packages are available, usually starting at around £700 + VAT, but this is only for uncontested divorces where you are better off using more cost-effective online divorce services. Anything more difficult will incur solicitors hourly rates.
A partner or legal director of a large corporate firm charges over £400 per hour. Even a trainee bills more than £100 per hour. This is where the cost of divorce starts to spiral out of control – especially when complex negotiation between the parties is required. If a couple cannot reach an agreement by themselves, they have to go to court. Then the costs run into the thousands, just for a single court hearing.
Summary of costs – High Street Solicitors:
- Lowest end of the scale £700 + £593 court fees = £1293.
- Average cost £1200 + £593 = £1793.
- With court appearance (resolved quickly) £10,000 – £15,000
- Fully contested hearing in court £25,000 and over.
What can you do you keep the cost of divorce low?
Take comfort that 99% of divorces in England and Wales are uncontested – eventually. That means a lot of money is wasted on unnecessarily. This begs the question:
If you’re likely to have an uncontested divorce eventually anyway – doesn’t it make sense to work on reaching agreement on the details of your divorce with your spouse?
Of course, this isn’t easy – you might not want to even speak to your spouse. But isn’t that a small sacrifice compared with wasting thousands on the cost of divorce? Money that, let’s face it, that could be better used elsewhere.
At Easy Online Divorce, our mission is to reduce the financial and emotional impact that divorce has on families, by helping couples spend less on their legal fees and reducing conflict between them.
We do this by encouraging and facilitating an uncontested divorce. At Easy Online Divorce, we believe it is possible to reduce stress and the money spent on solicitors if you have the right information.
But the legal system can be very intimidating and confusing, and many solicitors want to keep it that way because they charge by the hour. Easy Online Divorce is different.
We want you to divorce quickly and as painlessly as possible so that you can get on with your life. We have transparent pricing that will save you ££££’s in legal costs compared to a high street solicitor.
Select your service here, or call or email us for free advice on the best option for your circumstances.