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Who pays the solicitors' fees in a divorce?

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If you are facing a divorce, you may have concerns over the payment of your legal fees. We take a look at who pays the costs of a divorce and what likely expenses you might incur.

When you divorce, there are different aspects that will need to be dealt with, such as property, finances and arrangements for children, as well as the actual divorce itself. There are ways to keep the costs to a minimum as well as different options for financing proceedings if money issues are difficult while your divorce is ongoing.

At Crisp & Co, we always do all we can to provide a cost-effective service. This could include representing you in negotiations and mediation rather than litigation and working to resolve matters as quickly as possible, avoiding lengthy and drawn-out legal battles.

We understand that costs are often of concern and we will ensure that you have a clear estimate at the outset as well as information about the options open to you.

We offer a free one hour virtual initial consultation at which we can discuss your situation and give you an initial estimate of the overall costs.

To speak to one of our expert London divorce lawyers, call us on 020 8017 8962 or contact your local Crisp & Co office.

Who pays solicitor divorce fees in the UK?

It is commonplace for each person to pay their own fees for divorce proceedings. However, there can be exceptions to this in some cases and there are some expenses that you and your former partner could agree to share.

By way of example, the person applying for a divorce will need to pay the court’s application fee of £593, but there is now an option for you both to apply jointly for a divorce, in which case you could decide to pay half of the fee each.

If you have both agreed that you will be divorcing, you can discuss payment of the court fee in advance and decide how it will be dealt with.

Can I claim divorce solicitors’ fees from my spouse?

While it is usually the case that each party pays their own costs, you may be able to ask the court to make a costs order awarding you your costs if you have very limited means and your spouse is able to pay.

What help is available for solicitors’ fees for divorce?

Help is available from the government for payment of the court fee for a divorce application if you are in receipt of certain benefits or are on a low income and have savings of less than £3,000.

We are happy to discuss your situation with you and whether you may be able to seek help with the court’s application fee or ask the court for a costs order.

What work is covered by solicitors’ fees for divorce?

If you are going through a divorce or separation, you will need to cover a number of legal issues as well as the divorce itself. It is crucial to have a financial order in place, otherwise it would be open to your former spouse to make a claim against you in the future. This will cover how your assets will be dealt with following your divorce, including how your matrimonial home will be shared and how savings and debts will be divided.

For more information about our services in this area, see division of finances in divorce.

If you have children, you will also usually need to make sure that you have arrangements in place for how their time with you and their other parent will be shared.

We can discuss with you the estimated costs for the different aspects that will be needed and make sure that you have clear information at every step of the way. As well as an initial estimate, we will also provide you with ongoing fees advice, usually on a monthly basis, so that you always know exactly where you stand.

Other legal fees for divorce-related issues

Depending on your situation, you could also incur other legal fees for related issues. Examples include:

Mediation costs – mediation is often recommended in divorce proceedings. It is a good way of resolving matters without the need for litigation. A neutral mediator will work with you and your former partner to outline the options open to you and to try and help you reach an agreement over contentious issues, such as the division of assets and arrangements for children.

You may be required by the court to at least consider mediation before you can ask the court to intervene and make an order. Where possible, you are advised to take advantage of mediation as it is generally a quicker and more cost-effective way of resolving matters. It can also help reduce the conflict in a divorce situation.

There is an hourly cost for mediation sessions, which would usually be shared with your former partner.

Conveyancing costs – if you are dealing with the sale or transfer of your matrimonial home, you will need a conveyancer to carry out the transaction. This includes if the property will be transferred from joint names to a sole name or if it will be remortgaged. There will be a number of additional costs including the Land Registry fee for registering a change in ownership and potentially search fees if you will be remortgaging.

Solicitor divorce fees FAQs

We are happy to discuss our solicitors’ fees for divorce with you if you would like to call us. In the meantime, below are answers to some of the most common questions we are asked.

How much are the solicitors’ fees for a divorce?

Fees for divorce vary depending on the amount of work required. If you are your former partner are able to agree on matters, your costs will be lower because your solicitor will not need to deal with negotiations or a potential court case on your behalf.

You will still need your solicitor to draft or approve a consent order, setting out the financial matters that you have agreed upon. They will arrange for this to be approved by the court and sealed, so that you have a legally binding order in place that you can rely on in the future. However, if your case is not contentious, the amount payable is likely to be substantially lower than if matters are contested.

If your divorce is more acrimonious and it takes a long time to reach an agreement on how issues such as the division of property and assets and arrangements for your children will be dealt with, you may need legal representation for many months. If a trial is necessary, there will be additional expense in preparing for this and arranging for representation by an expert in family law advocacy.

We will discuss your case with you at the outset and give you an idea of the costs you can expect at each step of the way. In addition, we will update you regularly and give you full costs information should your situation change at any point.

For more information, see paying for our services.

Who pays the solicitors’ fees?

It is usually the case that you and your partner will each pay your own costs. If your money is tied up in property while your divorce is going through, you may be able to defer payment of your divorce legal fees until it is sold or you receive a lump sum settlement.

How can you reduce the cost of divorce?

There are many ways in which you can keep the costs of your divorce as low as possible, including:

Reach an agreement with your former partner wherever possible – the more you are able to agree upon together, the less work there will be for your solicitor to do. Take your time if you need to, with breaks if conversations become difficult. Try and think realistically about how you can resolve matters and work to reach amicable agreements over issues such as what will happen to your home, how pensions can be dealt with, how savings and/or debt will be shared and what arrangements will be right for your children.

Alternative dispute resolution – if you cannot reach an agreement together, a mediator can often help you work through matters to find an acceptable solution. This is cheaper than court and usually a much quicker option. Other forms of alternative dispute resolution can also help, such as collaborative law. During this process you and your former partner and your solicitors sit around a table together to try and finalise matters. Arbitration is another option, which is similar to court, but with a private judge deciding matters. This can be cheaper and quicker as there is less likelihood of the hearing being called off at the last minute after everyone is prepared.

Keep your options open – even if you are preparing for a court case, if you are able to resolve matters in advance, this will keep your costs lower. Court hearings are expensive and best avoided wherever possible. Our solicitors always do all they can to resolve matters without the need for a court hearing and most of our cases are settled without litigation.

Be practical – if you are able to be pragmatic and think realistically about how matters can be dealt with, you may find it easier to reach an agreement quickly. Putting aside anger or distress if you can will help you make practical arrangements. You may find that the sooner matters are finalised, the sooner you are able to start on the next phase of your life.

Choose the right solicitor – make sure that you have a solicitor who is right for your needs. At Crisp & Co, we will always match you with a solicitor who has the right level of expertise for your case. This means that you will not be paying for a senior lawyer if a more junior lawyer has the experience necessary to deal with your divorce. Similarly, having a law firm that specialises in family law and that has a deep level of expertise means that you are more likely to have your case dealt with promptly and efficiently.

Get in touch with our divorce solicitors in London and South East England

If you will be divorcing and you would like to talk to us about divorce solicitors fees or the process involved in dealing with the legal issues, we do all we can to help you. We offer a free initial one hour virtual consultation so that you can tell us about your situation and ask us any preliminary questions you may have, including about the likely costs of divorce.

To speak to one of our expert divorce lawyers in London, call us on 020 8017 8962 or contact your local Crisp & Co office to book your free initial appointment.