The Surprising Cost of Divorce
Most Men Never Budget For

Discover the most surprising cost of divorce most men never budget for. Forget about financial planning, this is all about your future sanity planning!

The financial cost is a cinch to work out, if you have internet access and a spreadsheet you can pull in the information. In fact many solicitors will provide you with a budgeting tool to make it even easier. You've got some pointers coming up in this page.

This page will walk through some of the financial hurdles you might want to anticipate. This knowledge alone will save your sanity when all about you are losing theirs!

Before you dive in, here is a snapshot of the cost of divorce:

  • Getting divorced is so predictable
  • Beyond average cost of divorce
  • Cost of divorce solicitors
  • Cost of divorce mediation
  • Cost of divorce courts
  • Cost of court orders
  • Cost of divorce barrister 
  • The eye-watering cost of divorce settlement
  • Never Ending Cost of Divorce

Getting divorced is so predictable

Relationships break down all the time and it isn't something people usually prepare for. Perhaps you should. UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggest that since the year 2000 an average of 144,556 divorces are registered each year. In 2000 there were 267,961 marriages in the UK. by 2010 (10 years of marriage), 23% had ended in divorce. By 2019 that figure rose to 36%.

Lawyers can almost predict when enquiries about getting divorce go through the roof. Statistics show that the end of summer and the new year are the busiest time of year. So you had a lousy summer holiday. So you had a lousy Christmas. So you said to yourself "Never again!" 

You're not alone. It may be the end of a lousy relationship but it could also be the start of something magnificent. This page will attempt to demystify the cost of divorce for you.

Beyond the average cost of divorce

Whether or not you need legal advice will be massively dependant upon two questions:

  1. How complex your financial situation is and
  2. How confident you are at handling the legal paperwork.

If you have an amicable breakdown, fairly straight forward assists, no children and you both agree to keep things simple you may discover that your divorce costs a fraction of your wedding costs! You can massively reduce the cost of divorce by doing it yourself, which is perfectly acceptable, if you are able to cut through the legal jargon. 

Any disagreement or complexity will add to your divorce costs. Even in the simplest of cases there may be hidden costs that come back to bit in future which is why you would be well advised to speak with a lawyer. 

Cost of divorce solicitors

Most UK divorce solicitors will charge in the range of £200 per hour - £400 per hour. You may well discover some outside of that range but the majority will sit within. 

What do you get for that? You get what you pay for. Professional Advice. On top of the time spent discussing your case you will also be charged for preparation of documents, emails, letter's to the other party, postage, and so on. Whilst the going rates my differ they will still add up, and quickly. 

Many solicitors will offer a complete divorce package rate providing that the process will be pretty much routine with no major complexities. 

The biggest point to understand here is that no matter what your grounds for getting divorced are, the cost of divorce will be pretty much the same. It does not matter if there was adultery, unreasonable behaviour or a separation. The outcome will still be the same, so don't waste precious time talking about all the behaviours and emotional upset your partner has caused. It's practically irrelevant.

Cost of divorce mediation

Mediation is fast becoming the norm in divorce cases to help couples negotiate outside of expensive court hearings. Mediation can take away all of the drama and all of the emotion and get down to business for a fraction of the cost of barristers fighting it out on your behalf. Your solicitor will normally refer you to mediation and costs can vary around the £100-£200 per session, or could even be included in your overall solicitors fee's. 

How many sessions will you need? Depends on how easy you find it to negotiate, to compromise, to settle and agree with your ex. If you are pretty close to finding agreement you might not even need mediation. On the other hand, if you are poles apart, it might not be worth the effort. 

Cost of divorce courts

Courts charge for you to file for divorce. You will also have to pay for the courts time. Your ex may also try to make a costs order against you which means you pick up their court tab. 

Here is an idea of some of the applications you can make through the courts directly. Approximate court costs in the UK:

  • Application for a divorce,  £340
  • Filing responses/answers and cross-petitions £100  
  • Applications under the Children Act £90  
  • Registering Maintenance £30  
  • Injunctions £60  
  • Application for a detailed assessment £160  
  • Consent Order £45
  • Financial Order £240
  • Making the decree absolute £45 

Most of these you can do yourself, but professional legal advice could help protect your future interests.  

Cost of court orders

Outside of the usual costs of divorce courts you may need additional orders. For example if you dispute paternity and your ex is expecting child maintenance you will have to apply for the court to consider the matter. This is where DNA testing would come in. 

You may need to consider protective measures such as injunctions or preventing your ex taking children out of the country. Each court order will have its own fee involved. Contact your local Family Court, or County Court for details on their rates and take professional legal advice on what is involved in the process. 

Cost of divorce barrister 

In the event of contested matters your solicitor will nominate a barrister to represent you at any court hearing. You will have to pay the barristers fees on top of your solicitors fees. 

Typically, a barrister will be self employed member of a set of chambers. They will pay for a clerk to manage their diaries and case load. Barristers usually charge on a daily basis or per hearing to act as counsel at court. The fee can depend on complexity of the case and the amount of papers to read (ever wondered why the court files are so big?)

Costs can range from around £500 for a single court appearance depending upon the barrister that is used. That, by the way, also include the situations where a settlement is agreed without a full hearing taking place. These are often called "out of court settlements." 

One crucial thing to remember is every hearing you have a barrister you will also usually be paying the solicitors firm too, because they will send an assistant to take notes. So don't be surprised when the divorce costs go up and up, every time you go to court!

The eye-watering cost of divorce settlement

There are always cases where the cost of divorce is almost unimaginable. Even the rich and famous suffer divorce. 

Professional golfer Tiger Woods' divorce from Elin Nordegren in 2010 cost an estimated $710 million.

Actor Ewan McGregor's divorce in 2020 cost half his earnings over the past 20 years plus $432,000 per year spousal support and $180,000 per year child support.

Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos's divorce from MacKenzie Bezos in 2019 is the most expensive divorce settlement at $38 billion.

Source: Wikipedia

Maybe the cost of divorce is just a drop in the ocean, but the cost of divorce settlement can spiral into your emotional, spiritual, and physical well being as well. A life coach can get you through those emotional obstacles and turn your relationship break up into a breakthrough.

Hidden Cost of Divorce

These will vary dramatically depending upon your location. City Centre lawyers and particularly in the capital are always going to charge premium rates, and that does not necessarily make them better lawyers.

This is a personal matter for you to negotiate and agree with your legal adviser. For example, you could be charged an hour for the meeting you have with your lawyer then further hour for them to write up the notes of the meting! 

Remember, you are employing them, not the other way round, so set very clear expectations up front. That way you can avoid a nasty surprise in the mail such as an invoice for the notes from your meeting!

A Solicitor will normally give you an estimated overall cost of the divorce based upon the time they think they would spend on your case.  Letters, emails, copying, and court attendance can all add to the overall cost of divorce. 

Never Ending Cost of Divorce

OK so we have covered the basics for you. I sincerely hope this has given you some food for thought. Each individual case is going to present its own unique challenges and unfortunately, it doesn't end there. You may also factor in independent financial advice, professional debt advice, conveyancing fees if there is a property to be sold, you may need personal or business accounts prepared for the court. You may also seek out counselling or other emotional support.

If you get it wrong, it could end up costing much more than you think. Make sure you get the right level professional advice to meet your needs. A few hundred or even a few thousand invested now could save you a small fortune in future. Just when you think you can get your head around the financial cost of divorce, the excruciating emotional impact of divorce shows up in the shadows!

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