Ask Bamboo: how much does divorce cost in the UK?

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Sometimes, despite how hard the couple tries, some marriages just aren’t meant to be. But, although divorce rates in the UK fall and divorces are no longer seen as sad occasions (for proof on this matter, check out the divorce selfie trend), one thing remains true: divorce cost is not cheap. Getting divorced can cost a lot of money.

Brace yourself – we’ve been looking into the cost of divorce in the UK, and the figures are slightly mind-boggling.

Are you ready?

Here we go.

How much does the average divorce cost in the UK?

Across the UK, the average cost of getting divorced is £70,243 (and rising), according to lawyers. To put that in context, the average divorce in the UK costs more than a brand-new Maserati. It costs more than the deposit on most houses. And it costs over twice the average UK salary.

(If you live in London, that figure is quite a bit more. £54,000 more, to be precise. The average divorce cost in the capital is £134,525.)

Ouch.

Just over £70,000 is a lot of money – how can a divorce cost that much? What is the main cause of such a high divorce cost?

Quite often, a lengthy divorce process – when couples can’t agree on terms, settlement and other things – can run the divorce cost up by a great deal because of legal fees.

According to GOV.UK, the average hourly rate for a lawyer to do anything – not just court proceedings, but paperwork, phone calls or sending letters on your behalf – is between £146 and £409 depending on their experience and your location.

Quite simply, every extra hour spent on divorce proceedings adds up. (Or, put another way, every hour you can save

After that, there’s an average of £5,089 spent on finding somewhere else to live and over £50,000 on paying off debt and splitting assets between the parties.

Can a divorce cost less?

Of course, like most things we talk about on this blog, there are ways to make a divorce cost less if you’re clever about it.

Tip #1: If you can split amicably, you can save a packet

As tough as divorces can be, there’s a financial incentive to completing a divorce uncontested: you can get divorced without having to cough up legal fees.

‘Quickie divorce’ sites – like quickie-divorce.com – have been set up for these exact situations. If you’ve been separated for the right amount of time – or have grounds for divorce – and the split is uncontested, then you can your divorce may cost as little as £37 (plus the £385 in court fees).

However, if you own a house together, that might not be the best course of action. There are, instead, a number of fixed-price offerings from lawyers to divide everything you co-own (or have a right to) equally and – importantly – fairly. (The Co-Op offer this service, for instance.)

Tip #2: Try to avoid the courtroom

As we’ve already said, legal representation is a major cost of getting a divorce – and this cost goes through the roof if you end up going to court. According to LoveMoney, a trip to court costs, on average, between £20,000 and £40,000 (plus VAT). ‘Court fees and a barrister add on extra costs — depending on the seniority of the barrister, they could range from £500 to £2,000 for a preliminary meeting and £500-£4,000 for a day’s hearing in court.’ (And that’s per person.)

If you can come to an amicable – and mutually beneficial – decision concerning your finances and assets without going to court, your wallets and bank accounts will thank you.

Tip #3: Seek advice

In the UK, new rules mean that all couples looking to untie the knot have to attend mediation before they’re allowed to go to court.

Now, if you’re looking to save money, then seeing a mediator might be a good idea (even if you’re not going to court.)

A good mediator can help both parties to come to a final decision on how to divide up the assets and what is going to happen with any pets or children they might have. Sure, you’re going to have to stump up for mediation, but if it helps avoiding going to court and lets you process the divorce quickly and on the cheap, it’s more than worth it.

If you’re going through – or considering – a divorce, there are lots of other financial implications too. Make sure you’ve read our top tips on making sure that both parties get a fair deal, switching bank accounts and preparing for financial independence.

 

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