How Expensive Is a Divorce? [How to Determine the Cost]


Getting a divorce is a stressful (and costly) experience. So how much does a divorce cost? If you’re considering divorce, keep in mind that you must pay various fees and costs. Our guide addresses all the expenses you’d be responsible for paying.

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Is Getting a Divorce Expensive?

How much is a divorce in the UK? Divorce laws in the UK are dated, and if there is a conflict between the two parties of a divorce, costs can rise significantly. The average cost of divorce in the UK is £14,561 but can go much higher when serious disputes or a lack of cooperation exist.

If you’re the petitioner in a divorce, you should prepare to pay between £10,000 and £15,000. There are, however, many factors that determine the cost of a divorce.

Determining Factors of Divorce Costs

Each divorce is different, but the following factors can determine the overall cost of the proceedings.

Contested or Uncontested

Contested divorces are much more expensive than uncontested ones. Although most divorces are uncontested, when one of the parties contests, costs increase significantly.

Employing a Solicitor

Solicitor’s fees are substantial. So if you use a solicitor to help you reach an agreement, be prepared to pay a significant sum of money.

Petitioner or Respondent

When you file for divorce on the grounds of adultery (people cheat for various reasons, even on those they love) or unreasonable behaviour, the cost of divorce falls on the respondent. The petitioner, however, is responsible for paying court fees. But if the divorce is amicable, both parties can agree to split the cost.


Moving out of a joint home is expensive. Those who want to buy a property should be prepared to pay around £144,600, while those who plan on renting need to set aside about £35,000/year.

Child Maintenance

The spouse responsible for paying child maintenance should be ready to part with 12% of their weekly income for one child, 16% for two, and 19% for three or more children.

A Mediator

Divorce mediation can lower the overall divorce cost, but the meeting fee can range from £100 to £200 per hour. But mediators can help couples reach a financial settlement outside court, thereby lowering legal costs.

DID YOU KNOW? In the UK, 90% of all divorces are uncontested. Filing for an uncontested divorce saves time, money, and stress. So, in most cases, couples agree not to contest the proceedings.

Key Takeaways

The average divorce in the UK costs £14,561, but the total sum depends on many factors.
Factors determining a divorce cost depend on whether it’s contested or uncontested or with a solicitor’s help or mediation.
A divorce application in the UK costs £593; a financial consent order is £53.
Barrister fees and child arrangements increase the overall cost of divorces.

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in the UK?

The following list presents all the possible costs of divorce to help you prepare what to pay.

Application Fee

If you don’t know how the process of getting a divorce goes, the first action is to file a divorce application. The application (or divorce centre fee) costs £593; you can submit it directly to the court via post or fill out the application online. Since a divorce cost in the UK is relatively high, if you have a low income or are receiving benefits, you can apply for government assistance to cover the cost of the application.

Financial Consent Order

If both parties consent to make their financial agreement legally binding, they must file for a financial consent order and pay £53 in court fees. The solicitor’s charges for drafting the order ranges from £400 to £4,000, plus VAT—a considerable expense, especially for young people. (Facts on marriage reveal that, unfortunately, divorce rates are higher among those who marry young.)

Court Adjudication

When the two parties fail to reach an agreement, they must apply for adjudication. How much is a divorce with an adjudication? The court charges £255 for the adjudication, but you also need to pay the solicitor fees, which cover only a few court appearances at £10,000 to £15,000. If one of the parties still contests the divorce, the court and solicitor fees can jump to £30,000.

Solicitor’s Fees

You can manage the divorce paperwork independently or hire a solicitor. So how much does it cost to get a divorce using a solicitor? If the solicitor merely handles your paperwork, they may charge you a fixed fee for their services, but not all services are included in this fee. Any additional services provided by the solicitor will be charged by the hour, with prices ranging between £200 and £500/hour, plus VAT.

Divorce Arbitration

When couples can’t reach an agreement on finances or child arrangements and want to settle their disputes outside of court, divorce arbitration is a popular way to resolve these matters. The cost of a divorce with a UK arbitrator can range from £50 to £800/hour. Mediation can also be an excellent solution, but the average cost is around £140/hour.

Barrister Fees

If the couple cannot reach an agreement via mediation or arbitration, they must settle their disputes in court. Both parties then need to hire legal aid—a barrister or divorce lawyer who handles the proceedings. Even though barristers may agree to a fixed rate, they generally charge £1,000 to £5,000/day.

Child Arrangements

How much does a divorce cost in the UK when children are involved? If you wish to have a legal child arrangement order, you need to pay £232 in court fees for the application. But many decide to settle these arrangements privately because of the high solicitor’s fees, which are between £5,000 to £15,000.

Financial Order

When couples can’t agree on a financial arrangement, they usually file for a court-issued financial order. The application for this order costs £275, but the solicitor’s fees are incredibly high. For a financial order, a solicitor will charge approximately £20,000, plus VAT.

Pension Sharing

With the rising divorce rates in the UK, couples need to consider many additional costs. For example, many ask: How much is a divorce UK residents pay when sharing a pension fund? Even though this should be a part of the overall financial settlement—along with the other assets—pension funds typically charge a fee when splitting a single fund into two. And both parties need to agree on who will cover these expenses.

Conveyancer Fees

When there is property involved in a divorce, one or both parties will typically want to sell, buy, or change the property’s deed. (Fees for such aren’t included in the divorce agreement.) You need to hire a conveyancer who will manage all the legal aspects of the property division at the cost of between £300 and £1500, plus VAT.

Real Estate Fees

How much does it cost to get divorced if you share real estate? Being joint real estate owners shouldn’t affect the overall cost since everything you own will be divided per the agreement. But if you decide to sell the real estate you own, you’ll need to pay an estate agent and a removal company. Other more minor expenses will probably arise, so you’ll need to agree on who will pay for these.

Will Update

While married, all of your possessions automatically transfer to your spouse after your passing, unless stated otherwise. Although this is not a court requirement, you should update your will after the divorce has been finalised and decide who gets what after you’re gone.

With the other divorce costs in the UK who pays for a will update? Since you would already be divorced, each person pays for their own will, costing approximately £80 to £300, plus VAT.

DID YOU KNOW? The cost of divorces in the UK increased by 17% in four years. In 2014, the average divorce cost was £12,432, while in 2018, the number climbed to £14,561.


Divorce is a process that’s not only stressful but quite expensive. Considering our guide on the cost of divorce in the UK, you can assess your situation and determine where you can save a penny or two.


How expensive is a divorce?

The average cost of divorce in the UK is £14,561, including legal fees and lifestyle costs.

Is divorce free after 5 years of separation?

You can apply for a non-consensual divorce after a five-year separation, but you still must pay all the process fees.

How much does a divorce cost if both parties agree?

How much does a divorce cost when agreed upon by both parties? If this is the case, costs are relatively low—£593 for the divorce application and decree absolute, plus £225 for a consent order.


I've loved writing since I can remember, and back in high school, I started loving psychology as well. So I majored in it while dabbling in spirituality and yoga on the side.

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