How much does a divorce cost in England and Wales? (2024) – Step by step guide on how to keep the cost down

Originally published on 28th September 2018 at 10:20 AM
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Getting a divorce (for marriages) or dissolution (for civil partnerships) has a reputation for being expensive, but it doesn’t need to be. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep the costs down so that separating doesn’t have to break the bank.

The average cost of a divorce depends on various things such as the route you choose:

  • DIY (do-it-yourself)
  • Mediation or negotiation
  • Lawyers
  • amicable (divorce services etc.)

The cost of getting a divorce will also depend on how much advice you'll need and how amicable your relationship is.

In this blog, we cover each available option and the average cost associated, so you can make the right choice for your situation.

We'll also show you how you can save a  significant  amount of money on divorce proceedings through our helpful guide.

How much is divorce?

The average cost of a divorce or dissolution varies depending on how you choose to divorce and if you are splitting your finances. According to the Money Advice Service, it’s estimated that separating couples can end up paying £8,000 each in legal fees for managing the divorce and financial split, with the average cost of using a collaborative family solicitor being anywhere between £8,000 and £15,000 . If you are using solicitors and being charged an hourly rate, this can exceed £40,000 .

How much can divorce cost in England and Wales?

The legal cost of going to court in England and Wales is estimated at £13,000 per person outside of London, reaching £40,000 per person in London, although these costs can be higher.

This means the average divorce cost in the UK, sits at around £42,000 outside of London and up to a whopping £96,000 inside London. How much does a divorce cost in Scotland or Ireland?

In Scotland and Ireland, the cost of a divorce typically involves court fees, which can vary depending on the type of divorce and the court you file in. Additional costs may include legal fees, which can vary depending on the complexity of the case. amicable is only able to help couples in England and Wales.

Going to court

Going to court should be the last resort as it's the most expensive, acrimonious, and drawn-out option. But sometimes it's unavoidable.

It's estimated that the legal cost of going to court is around £40,000 per person in London and £13,000 per person outside of London.

It can take approximately two years or more to finalise things through the court. Getting the right advice before arriving at this point is crucial.

Mediation

A mediator is an independent, trained professional that helps you and your partner to work out agreements for children or finances.

This option works if you and your ex can communicate with each other in an amicable way. You need to be aware that you'll need to go elsewhere to get the legal side of separating sorted.

Mediators normally charge from £100 an hour per person and most couples have between three to four sessions.

On top of the mediation costs, you'll need to account for the cost of getting your agreement drawn up into a consent order and sealed through the courts.

Don't forget to ringfence money for the court fees too (£593 to submit for the divorce/ dissolution and £58 in court fees for the consent order costs).

Solicitors

As the most traditional option, a divorce solicitor or family lawyer gives individual legal advice and will manage the legal process of divorce or separation as well as any financial and childcare issues too.

This route is most relevant when there are danger signs, and you need your own legal protection. Examples of these signs can be:

  • domestic violence
  • verbal and mental abuse
  • hiding or moving assets without the other person’s knowledge or consent
  • a complete breakdown or absence of communication

The average cost ranges from £500 for a simple divorce but can reach up to around £30,000 if the process is more complex (disagreements, time wasting etc).

You will be paying two lawyers at an average of £8000 per person for divorce and finances. You also need to set aside money to pay the divorce court fee and the submitting fee for the consent order too.

How much does it cost to get a divorce through amicable?

amicable's divorce-diagnostic is unique as we're able to help with everything, including financial and childcare arrangements as well as the legal process. Traditionally, a separating couple would have to choose either the solicitor, the mediator, or the do-it-yourself route. Whereas with amicable, we offer a ‘one stop shop’.

Using amicable allows you to separate without lawyers and makes the process around three times cheaper than a solicitor and half the cost of mediation.

We have a range of services; here are a few of our more popular packages:

  1. £210 for a one-off session with a Divorce Specialist
  2. £300 for a simple divorce or dissolution
  3. £3450 per couple for negotiation support around finances and arrangements for children including a consent order
  4. £6690 if you have assets of more than £2 million, a business to divide or you have more than one property.

The government charges £593 to submit your divorce application and £58 to submit your consent order and this is added on at checkout.

Do-It-Yourself

It's possible to submit the divorce or dissolution paperwork yourself using the government website if your situation is straightforward, and you're comfortable with managing the divorce process yourself.

You can choose to make a joint application or a sole application. If you are making a joint application for divorce, applicant one completes the application and applicant two checks this before applicant one submits it. If you are applying as a sole applicant, you will need to complete all of the divorce applications. Your ex will just need to fill in one form for the divorce (called the acknowledgement of service).

For more details on how the divorce process, have a read through our step-by-step guide to filing for a divorce.

The cost of submitting your divorce or dissolution in England and Wales is up to £593 in court fees. Don't forget you will need an original copy of your marriage certificate. If you're on a low income, you may be entitled to money off these via the Government's “Help with Court Fees” scheme. If you are entitled to a discount on the court fees, make sure you apply for it before you send off your divorce application.

Even if you submit for divorce yourself, you will still need legal support to negotiate and legalise your financial separation and there is obviously a cost attached to this (options below).

amicable offers a range of services to help you with your finances: from a write-up service if you have agreed on how you will split your finances, to a fully supported negotiation package where a more comprehensive service is required.

If you’ve submitted for your divorce online, book a call to discuss the options for agreeing and legalising your finances and/or childcare arrangements.

amicable

Mediation

Divorce lawyer

Courts

Do-it-yourself

You can work together as a couple

Yes

Yes

No

No

This depends

You stay in control of the process

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

You have someone to say what’s fair and what’s not as well as what’s legal

Yes – we will give you a pragmatic view and explain what’s legal as well as why legal advice to each of you may differ

No – mediation is a facilitation where YOU decide what is right for you

Yes – a lawyer will tell you what is best for you individually not your family

No – a judge will decide for you if you go through the courts

No – you will have to decide what is right for you

You have access to support & guidance outside of the meetings

Yes

No – mediation takes place in a series of three-way meetings. Ongoing support is not included

This will depend but ongoing support is not usually included

No

No

You can meet individually with your coach/ mediator/ lawyer

Yes – if you need to speak to your divorce coach on your own you can do so – we will talk to you about the rules around confidentiality

No – mediation usually takes place with you both in one room.

In some cases, shuttle mediation can be done if it's not safe for you to be in the same room

Yes – all meetings are done individually with your own lawyer

N/A

You can do a MIAM (necessary if you need to ask the court to resolve issues that you cannot agree on)

No. You will need to find a specially trained mediator or use the amicable arbitration service to resolve your impasse

Yes – if you wish to make an application to court because mediation has broken down a specially trained mediator will complete a MIAM

No

No

No

You can do the whole divorce process including writing up legal documents in one place

Yes – amicable is a one-stop-shop. We write up your agreement and draft your legal documents

No – you’ll need a lawyer to review and write up your agreements

You may need to consult a coach or mediator to help you reach your arrangements before your agreements can be written up

You can do part of the legal paperwork yourself but you may need to consult a specialist to help you write up your financial arrangements

Prices are fixed with no hidden costs

Yes – we offer a fixed price service that you can split into instalments and legal drafting costs are included. Our negotiation service is unlimited, meaning you can have as many meetings as you need to get things sorted

No – you will pay per meeting and process are rarely fixed fee. You will need to ask a solicitor to review your agreement and turn it into a legally binding financial order at an extra cost

No – you will usually pay per hour and the full proceedings are rarely a fixed fee. You may also need further help agreeing (coach/ mediator)

This can often involve spiralling legal costs as mentioned above can amount to large sums

This is a low-cost option, however you may need additional help with things such as the consent order (optional), or help agreeing

Our guide to saving money when divorcing or separating

  We’ve given some tips for saving money on your divorce or dissolution above, but here are some more to drive the costs of your divorce down even further.

Step One: Eliminate the two most expensive costs in a divorce - lawyers and conflict

Getting divorced without spending unnecessary cash on legal fees and ending up in court requires both people to be able to separate the emotions from the 'business of divorce'. This can also save time on your divorce or dissolution because an amicable divorce is quicker than an acrimonious one.

If you and or your ex are not emotionally ready to discuss things constructively, costs will increase. It’s worth waiting until you are both ready, allowing each other enough time to process and seeking support from a Divorce Specialist or therapist.

Agree to work together to do the right thing and be amicable. If you do nothing else, I promise this will save you a fortune and keep the cost of divorce low.

Step Two: Start with the children and keep the focus there

Priority number one (if you have children) is to start with them and answer the question ‘what do our children need to be happy, to be successful and to thrive?

This is very different to ‘what am I entitled to?’. We always encourage parents to start with the arrangements for their child(ren) and build the finances around them.

If you prioritise your child(ren), you are more likely to have an amicable divorce, and in the process save time and money.

If you need extra help, try reading our parenting plan blog or download our free parenting plan e-book.

We also have a parenting contract to help you to document your agreed upon childcare arrangements.

Step Three: Set clear financial goals to help reduce the cost of divorce

Lots of people start a divorce without really understanding what they are trying to achieve financially. Think about how you want to be at the end of your divorce.

Do you want to be debt free, independent, and be able to go back to work? When people set goals, they are more likely to get what they want and tend to stay focused on the future.

By avoiding worrying about the little things, you can drastically increase your chances of reaching a settlement. This is crucial as divorce is a long process and you need stamina.

Step Four: Be honest and upfront, disclose thoroughly and truthfully

You can only divide things when you know what you’ve got. Make a list of all your finances and share it with your partner. This is called a financial disclosure.

Hiding or moving assets out of the reach of your partner (for example by putting things in other people’s name) is the quickest way to start a legal war and to rack-up avoidable legal costs.

If the financial disclosure isn't fully truthful, your case can be reopened and a new court order will be made, even after your death.

Step Five: Do your homework

Legal advice is expensive and getting divorced can be one of the costliest things you may ever do. If you're reading this, you're already well ahead in terms of understanding the costs and how to keep on top of them.

If you need support from an expert, take advantage of free consultations and be sure to ask for the best case, and worst-case scenario in terms of costs, so you have a range to work with.

Opt for fixed-fee divorce-diagnostic like amicable, as that will give you peace of mind and allow you to plan much better for the future.

Step Six: Speak to an expert

We hope the advice in this blog will help you to save money, stay out of court and keep things amicable.

For more tips on how to get divorced and keep the costs low, book a free 15-minute call with an amicable Divorce Specialist.

FAQs

What’s the cheapest way of getting divorced?

The cheapest possible divorce would be doing it yourself via the government website and then paying the court fees. Whilst this may seem like an attractive option, you may experience delays if you're not familiar with the divorce terminology. You will also need support from someone who is legally trained to formalise your financial split.

Who usually pays for a divorce?

This depends on whether you are applying for divorce jointly or making a sole application. If you are making a sole application you will have to pay the court fee before the application is submitted. You can tick a box in the application for a judge to order that the court fees be split between you.

Can I do part of the divorce myself and just sort the finances using amicable?

Absolutely, however if you are unsure of the divorce/ dissolution process, it's worth considering whether you may require more help with the divorce paperwork to avoid unnecessary delays and extra charges for submitting out the paperwork incorrectly.

How much does online divorce cost?

Online divorce costs a minimum of £593 in court fees, if done through the government website. If you're planning on splitting your finances, you will need to seek additional help from a legally trained person. Alternatively, you can use amicable to help you with this process. Discover how amicable might be able to help you by finding the right service for you.

How much does a divorce cost if both parties agree?

If both people agree a divorce will cost £593 if completed on the government website. If the divorcing couple would like to make their financial arrangements legally binding, then they will need to pay for a consent order to be prepared.

How much does a no-fault divorce cost?

In general, a no-fault divorce (a divorce based on irreconcilable differences or the breakdown of the marriage without placing blame on either party) tends to be less expensive compared to a contested divorce, where issues like child arrangements, property division, and spousal maintenance are disputed. The specific costs involved in a no-fault divorce can include court filing fees, which vary depending on where you are. Additionally, legal fees may be incurred if you choose to hire a solicitor to handle the divorce process on your behalf. The rates for legal representation can differ depending on the complexity of the case, the solicitor’s experience, and local market rates.

Read More

Start your amicable divorce journey

Speak to an amicable Divorce Specialist to understand your options and next steps for untying the knot, amicably.

Book a free 15-minute consultation

Comments (12)

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Alan Coysh
12.11.2018 16:14

How much is it likely to cost for my son's spouse to go to Court to force the sale of the jointly owned marital home against the wishes of my son? Any costs for my son?

Jane
27.04.2021 13:21

I just want the paperwork to say he is not my husband and not next of kin. I will rewrite my will and the house is not in my name and do not want it to be. We both have pensions that we will keep and there is little else except some savings I have which were left to me solely. We are still friends but not in love but there is nothing left except for respect of 40 years

Neville
09.07.2021 13:08

i just want the paperwork to say she is not my wife and not next of kin.I have rewritten my will and the house is not in my name and I do not want to be .We both have pensions that we will keep we have no savings between us.We are still friends but not in love but there is nothing left except for respect of 22 years

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Holly from amicable
14.07.2021 9:38

Hi Neville, thanks for your question. If you don't have any finances to split, it sounds like our simple divorce service would be the best option for you. You can book in a call with one of our experts if you'd like to learn more about this service.

Steve
14.07.2021 10:28

Last week I received divorce papers,I've been busy at work & tired so only just opened paperwork today. I was informed by my wife I had 14 days to return paperwork( I presume she was told my her solicitor).on opening it tells me 7 days Who is correct?thanks

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Holly from amicable
21.07.2021 10:26

Hi Steve, the court state on the Acknowledgement of Service form (D10) that you should return the form to the court within 7 days from receipt, however, if you return it later than that date it shouldn't impact the divorce proceedings unless you are planning to defend the divorce.

Andrew
25.04.2022 9:26

We have been separated for just over 2 years and in that time have sold our "family" home and bought ourselves smaller properties. I would now like to proceed with a divorce which we have both agreed is the best option. We do not have any children, so I hope this can be resolved quickly and relatively painlessly?

Ian Mayner
26.07.2023 10:20

Me and my ex have the kids and pets to sort . how.much does a divorce cost in our situation?

Ray S
26.07.2023 12:42

how much does a average divorce cost for dividing mortgage and kid's time

Jack henley
27.07.2023 8:38

how much does a divorce cost if we have to sort finances and pets and kids?

Kailib
28.07.2023 8:59

how much does it cost for a lawyer for divorce

Sharon keeble
15.03.2024 13:23

My husband left me in 2011 I have had know contact with him since so how would I get a divorce if I don't know where he is or have any contact details for him.