As reported a few weeks back due to coronavirus, lawyers expect a rise in divorces. That being said getting divorced is a complicated process. The system is made this way so that couples have to think long and hard before choosing to get divorced.
When you’re going through a divorce, it’s because you have tried everything else and your marriage is no longer working.
When you have reached this stage, you will likely have a lot of questions about the divorce process. Who is left paying the bill is often a point of contention. In this article, we will look at the fees associated with getting a divorce and who is responsible for paying them.
How much does a divorce cost?
For a DIY divorce where both parties are in agreement, your only expenses will be the court fees which are $550.
If you choose to hire a solicitor to help you with the paperwork, you will also have to pay for their time. It’s difficult to say how much this will cost as you will usually pay by the hour. The examples below are a rough illustration of the fees you can expect.
The petitioner will pay between $450-$950 in solicitor fees, plus the $550 court fees.
The respondent will pay less, usually around $250 to $600 in solicitor fees. This is because they only need to respond to the divorce petition.
You will also need to consider the cost of the financial settlement. In simple cases, this will cost around $500 to $800 for a solicitor to draw up a Financial Remedy Consent Order. You will also have to pay court fees of $50. If you are unable to reach an agreement, you will have to go to court, which will add to the total cost of your divorce.
In the UK, 99% of divorces are uncontested. If there are disagreements, this can draw out the process and make it a lot more costly.
If you cannot agree on the financial settlement, you may need to pay for mediation sessions. This will cost around $1500 for three mediation sessions to help you come to an agreement. This will be in addition to the solicitor and court costs to draw up the Financial Remedy Consent Form.
Who is responsible for the divorce fees?
The fees are payable when applying for the divorce, so they will have to be paid by the petitioner. If you think that your partner should have to pay, you can tick a box on your divorce petition to ask the court to consider making your ex-partner pay the court fees. There are no guarantees that this will go ahead, and you will still have to pay the court fees in the meantime.
If the divorce is mutual, you may decide between you to split the cost of the divorce, but there is no way to enforce this in the courts. Trying to get the other party to cover the costs of the divorce can drag it out for much longer and you could both end up paying more in the long run.
In an uncontested divorce, couples will typically choose to split the cost of the Financial Remedy Consent Form.
Is anyone exempt from paying?
If you are on low income or in receipt of certain state benefits, you can apply to reduce your court fees. In England, legal aid to help cover the costs of a divorce is no longer available unless there has been domestic abuse or child abduction. You can still get help to cover the costs of mediation if you are on a low income. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, you can still get help with the cost of legal fees for your divorce if you are on a low income.