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How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

Help with Divorce Fees – What You Need to Know

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Scott Nelson MoneyNerd

Scott Nelson

Debt Expert

Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.

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Janine Marsh MoneyNerd

Janine Marsh

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· May 28th, 2024
Chat with a Solicitor who will answer your Divorce questions.

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Help with Divorce Fees

Trying to limit the cost of your divorce can be a frustrating process. But you’re not alone. Each month, over 8,700 people visit our website for guidance on navigating divorce.

In this easy-to-follow guide, we’ll talk about:

  •  Ways to save money on divorce fees
  •  If Universal Credit can pay for your divorce
  •  How you can get help with divorce costs in the UK
  •  How to apply for a divorce court fee waiver

According to MoneyHelper, the average cost of a divorce in the UK was £14,561 in 2018, and due to inflation, this cost is only increasing.1 So it’s understandable to be concerned about your divorce finances.

Don’t worry; our experts have a deep understanding of these topics. We’re here to help you make sense of it all.

How to save money on divorce fees 

How to save money on divorce fees 

Divorces are hard to handle, but the financial repercussions can make a bad situation feel even worse.

The solution? Understanding your next steps and exactly how much they’ll cost.

For only £5, JustAnswer offers a trial chat with an experienced divorce solicitor. They can help you navigate the process and save you from costly face-to-face lawyer fees.

Chat below to get started with JustAnswer

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Can I get financial help?

Some people can get financial support to help with divorce, including court application fees and legal services.

To qualify for help with divorce costs, you’ll probably need to receive state benefits or earn a low income with minimal savings.

This forum user reached out to the MoneySavingExpert community for advice about her divorce. Other forum users confirmed there is no downside to a sole application if they divorce on amicable terms.

State benefits that allow eligibility for assistance

If you receive one or more of the following state benefits, you may be eligible for assistance with court fees for divorce:

  • ESA – Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • JSA – Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Universal Credit (and earn less than £6,000 per year)
  • Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit)

What is the average cost?

Money Helper states that the average divorce costs more than £14,000.

However, this isn’t just the average cost of the divorce process. The divorce cost breakdown includes additional expenses you may need to pay as a result of the separation, for instance, if one of the parties needs to move home or if additional childcare is required.

The real average divorce cost excluding lifestyle changes is much lower.

You should expect to pay between a couple of hundred pounds to around £2,000 in most cases, depending on whether you do a DIY divorce or use a solicitor. 

Divorce Costs

Divorce often comes with significant financial implications. Understanding the costs involved will help you prepare financially for the process.

I’ve prepared this table that provides a breakdown of the various costs associated with divorce.

Category Costs
Court Fees Filing for Divorce: £593 standard fee.
Additional Applications: Financial orders or child custody arrangements.
Legal Representation Fees Fixed-Fee Options: For straightforward, uncontested divorces, with fees ranging from £500 to £1500 excluding VAT.
Hourly Rate: Solicitor fees range from £150 to £400 depending on their experience and location.
Barrister Fees For cases that go to court or require specialised legal advice. The cost of this will be completely dependent on your case and preferences.
Financial Advisor or Accountant Fees For cases involving complex financial matters. The cost of this will be completely dependent on your case and preferences.
Valuation Fees You may need to pay for property, business, or pension valuations as part of the financial settlement. The cost of this will be completely dependent on your case and preferences.
Out-of-Court Options Mediation: Some mediators charge per session (ranging from £50 to £200 per hour), while others may offer a package deal.
Collaborative Law: Both parties hire solicitors, but agree to resolve issues without going to court. The cost of solicitors will vary depending on your preferences and case.
Arbitration: Rates vary depending on case complexity, room hire, and arbitrator fees.
Indirect Costs Time off work to attend court hearings or meetings with solicitors.
Child maintenance costs.

Will Universal Credit pay for my divorce?

You cannot receive Universal Credit payments to fund your divorce specifically.

However, if you receive Universal Credit, you might have access to financial support to help with divorce fees

You should also be aware that a large financial divorce settlement could affect your right to claim Universal Credit in the future.

If you receive a lot of money from your ex-spouse as part of the divorce, you might no longer be eligible for Universal Credit. 

If you’re worried about this, it’s best to speak with Citizens Advice for more information and support. 

Worried About Divorce Finances?

Divorce can be complicated, especially when it comes to navigating the cost. One small error could lead to serious consequences.

But, the support of a good solicitor can help you to understand your next steps.

For a £5 trial, JustAnswer’s online divorce solicitors can help you understand your rights and guide you towards the best financial solution for you.

Try it below.

Get started

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Help with costs and court fees

You can get money off the court application fee of £593 in some situations. There are criteria you need to meet to qualify for a court divorce fee waiver:

  1. You need to have less than £3,000 in savings if the court fee is below £1,000 and you’re younger than 61. If you’re over 61 you can have up to £16,000 in savings. 
  2. You receive certain state benefits listed here, or you earn £1,170 per month (pre-tax) if you’re single or £1,345 (pre-tax) if you have a partner. You can earn up to £265 more each month for each child you have.

For example, a single parent with two children could earn up to £1,700 (pre-tax) and still get a divorce fee remission. 

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

How to apply for a court fee waiver

To apply for money off your divorce application fee, you can make a paper-based application or apply online using the UK Government’s website.

If applying for help with fees online, you will need to do it when you’re making your court application while going through the online divorce process.

You will need the court or tribunal form number, your case number (if you have one), and your National Insurance number or Home Office reference number.

You may also need details of your income, savings, and your partner’s income, savings and investments.

Form EX160 for paper-based application

If you want to apply by post, you will need to download and complete the EX160 form. Alternatively, you can request a copy from your nearest court.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can take a huge weight off your mind.

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The rules regarding legal aid for divorce are different across the UK. 

In England and Wales, legal aid isn’t available to help with a divorce in most cases. There are some exceptions, such as when domestic abuse or child abduction occurs or if you’re at risk of homelessness. 

Legal aid may also be available in England and Wales for mediation services, which might be required as part of financial settlement in a divorce. You’ll need to be on state benefits or on a low income to qualify. 

Costs in England and Wales vs. Scotland and Northern Ireland

The situation in Scotland and Northern Ireland is different. Legal aid for divorces may be available for low earners in these countries.

Scotland offers legal aid for those struggling to afford to pay. Individuals may be able to get legal aid for divorce advice and legal aid for divorce court action.

In Northern Ireland, your divorce solicitor can apply for legal aid when you qualify as a low earner. Moreover, the costs of mediation in divorce in Northern Ireland are non-existent as it is free for everyone.

Divorce Doesn’t Mean Financial Ruin

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Legal advice can make all the difference when navigating the financial aspects of divorce, and affordable help is within reach.

Normally, the cheapest solicitors in the UK will put you back at least £130 per hour.

But, for a £5 trial, a divorce solicitor from JustAnswer can review your situation and provide personalised guidance. It’s a no-brainer!

Try it below.

Get started

In partnership with Just Answer.


  1. Money Helper – Divorce Costs
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The authors
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd
Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.
Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
Financial Expert
Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.