How much does divorce cost in the UK? – Step by step guide on how to keep the cost down

Originally published on 28th September 2018 at 10:20 AM
Reading time: 12 mins

Getting a divorce (for marriages) or dissolution (for civil partnerships) has a reputation for being expensive, but it doesn’t need to be. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep the costs down so that separating doesn’t have to break the bank.

The average cost of a divorce depends on various things such as; which route you choose (DIY, mediation, lawyers or amicable etc), how much advice you'll need and how amicable your relationship is.

In this blog, we cover each available option and the average cost associated, so you can make the right choice for your situation.

We'll also show you how you can save a  significant  amount of money on divorce proceedings through our helpful guide.

How much does the average divorce cost in the UK 2021?

The average cost of a divorce/ dissolution varies depending on how you choose to divorce and if you are splitting your finances. According to the Money Advice Service, it’s estimated that separating couples can end up paying £8,000 each in legal fees for managing the divorce and financial split, with the average cost of using a collaborative family solicitor being anywhere between £8,000 and £15,000 . If you are using solicitors and being charged an hourly rate, this can exceed £40,000 .

The legal cost of going to court in England and Wales is estimated at £13,000 per person outside of London, reaching £40,000 per person in London, although these costs can be higher.

This means the average divorce cost in the UK, sits at around £42,000 outside of London and up to a whopping £96,000 inside London.

If you put that into context, it’s the equivalent of a third bedroom, a garden or an easy commute to primary school.

So, how do you get divorced without the costs spiralling out of control?

Going to court

Going to court should be the last resort and it's the most expensive, acrimonious and drawn-out option, but sometimes it's unavoidable.

It's estimated that the legal cost of going to court is around £40,000 per person in London and £13,000 per person outside of London.

It can take approximately two years or more at times to finalise things through the court. Therefore, getting the right advice before you get to this point is crucial.


A mediator is an independent, trained professional that helps you and your partner to work out agreements for children or finances.

This option works if you and your ex can communicate with each other. You need to be aware that you'll need to go elsewhere to get the legal side of separating sorted.

Mediators normally charge from £100 an hour per person and most couples have between three and four sessions.

On top of the mediation costs, you'll need to account for the cost of getting your agreement drawn up into a consent order and sealed through the courts.

Don't forget to ringfence money for the court fees too (£593 to submit for the divorce/ dissolution and £53 in court fees for the consent order costs).

Divorce Lawyer / Solicitor

The most traditional option, a divorce solicitor or family lawyer gives individual legal advice and will manage the legal process of divorce/ separation as well as any financial and childcare issues too.

This route is most relevant when there are danger signs, and you need your own legal protection. For example, domestic violence, hiding/moving of assets.

The average cost ranges from £500 for a simple divorce but can reach around £30,000 if the process is more complex (usually because of disagreements between you).

You will be paying two lawyers at an average of £8000 per person for divorce and finances. You also need to set aside money to pay the divorce court fee and the submitting fee for the consent order too.

How much does an amicable divorce cost?

amicable's divorce-diagnostic are unique as we're able to help with everything, including financial and childcare arrangements as well as the legal process. Whereas traditionally, a separating couple would have to choose either the solicitor, the mediator or the do-it-yourself route, amicable offer a ‘one stop shop’.

Using amicable allows you to separate without lawyers and makes the process around three times cheaper than a solicitor and half the cost of mediation divorce-diagnostic.

Our divorce-diagnostic range from £300 plus the court fees (up to £593 if you're not entitled to a discount) for a simple divorce/ dissolution and ranges up to £6690 for help with everything per couple for negotiation of finances, childcare arrangements as well as the divorce and consent order documents if you have assets of more than £2 million, or more than one property.


It's possible to submit the divorce or dissolution paperwork yourself using the government website if your situation is straightforward, and you're comfortable with managing the divorce process yourself.

You can choose to make a joint application or a sole application. If you are making a joint application for divorce, applicant one completes the application and applicant two checks this before applicant one submits it. If you are applying as a sole applicant, you will need to complete the all the divorce applications. Your ex will just need to fill in one form for the divorce (called the acknowledgement of service).

For more details on how the divorce process, have a read through our Step by step filing for divorce guide

The cost of submitting your divorce/ dissolution in England and Wales is up to £593 in court fees. Don't forget you will need an original copy of your marriage certificate. If you're on a low income, you can may be entitled to money off these via the Government's Help with Court Fee's scheme. If you are entitled to a discount on the court fees, make sure you apply for it before you send off your divorce application.

Even if you submit for divorce yourself, you will still need legal support to negotiate and legalise your financial separation and there is obviously a cost attached to this (options below). 

amicable offers a range of divorce-diagnostic to help you with your finances from a write-up service if you have agreed how you will split your finances, to a fully supported negotiation support where a more comprehensive service is required.

If you’ve submitted for your divorce online, book a call to discuss the options for agreeing and legalising your finances and/or childcare arrangements.



Divorce laywer



You can work together as a couple





This depends

You stay in control of the process






You have someone to say what’s fair and what’s not as well as what’s legal

Yes – we will give you a pragmatic view and explain what’s legal as well as why legal advice to each of you may differ

No – mediation is a facilitation where YOU decide what is right for you

Yes – a lawyer will tell you what is best for you individually not your family

No – a judge will decide for you if you go through the courts

No – you will have to decide what is right for you

You have access to support & guidance outside of the meetings


No – mediation takes place in a series of three-way meetings. On-going support is not included

This will depend but on-going support is not usually included



You can meet individually with your coach/ mediator/ lawyer

Yes – if you need to speak to your divorce coach on your own you can do so – we will talk to you about the rules around confidentiality

No – mediation usually takes place with you both in one room.

In some cases, shuttle mediation can be done if it's not safe for you to be in the same room

Yes – all meetings are done individually with your own lawyer


You can do a MIAM (necessary if you need to ask the court to resolve issues that you cannot agree on)

No. You will need to find a specially trained mediator or use the amicable arbitration service to resolve your impasse

Yes – if you wish to make an application to court because mediation has broken down a specially trained mediator will complete a MIAM




You can do the whole divorce process including writing up legal documents in one place

Yes – amicable is a one-stop-shop. We write up your agreement and draft your legal documents

No – you’ll need a lawyer to review and write up your agreements

You may need to consult a coach or mediator to help you reach your arrangements before your agreements can be written up

You can do part of the legal paperwork yourself but you may need to consult a specialist to helo you write up your financial arrangements

Prices are fixed with no hidden costs

Yes – we offer a fixed price service that you can split into instalments and legal drafting costs are included. Our premium service is unlimited, meaning you can have as many meetings as you need to get things sorted

No – you will pay per meeting and process are rarely fixed fee. You will need to ask a solicitor to review your agreement and turn it into a legally binding financial order at an extra cost

No – you will usually pay per hour and the full proceedings are rarely a fixed fee. You may also nee further help agreeing (coach/ mediator)

This can often involve spiralling legal costs as mentioned above can amount to large sums

This is a low cost option, however you may need additional help with things such as the consent order (optional), or help agreeing

Step by Step Guide on How Can I Save Money on your Divorce?

  We’ve mentioned some tips for saving money on your divorce / dissolution above, but here are some more to drive the costs of your divorce down further.

Step One: Eliminate the two most expensive costs in a divorce - lawyers and conflict

And they usually come in that order. Our advice is always – amicable is better for the kids, the finances and your future.

Getting divorced without spending unnecessary cash on legal fees and ending up in court requires both people to be able to separate the emotions from the 'business of divorce'. This can also save time on your divorce/ dissolution because an amicable divorce is quicker than an acrimonious one.

If you and or your ex are not emotionally ready to discuss things constructively, costs will increase, so it's worth waiting until you are both ready, allowing time or seeking support from a coach or therapist.

Agree to work together to do the right thing and be amicable. If you do nothing else I promise this will save you a fortune and keep the cost of divorce low.

Step Two: Start with the children and keep the focus there

Priority number one if you have children is to start with them and answer the question ‘what do our children need to be happy, successful thriving kids?

This is very different to ‘what am I entitled to?’. We always encourage parents to start with arrangements for their children and build the finances around them.

f you prioritise your children, you are more likely to have an amicable divorce and in the process save time and money.

If you need extra help try reading our parenting plan blog or download our free parenting plan e-book.

We also have a parenting contract to help you to document your agreed upon childcare arrangements.

Step Three: Set clear financial goals to keep the cost of divorce low

Lots of people start a divorce without really understanding what they are trying to achieve financially. Think about how you want to be at the end of your divorce.

Do you want to be debt free, independent, and to go back to work? When people set goals they are more likely to get what they want and tend to stay focused on the future.

If you can try not to sweat the small stuff, you are likely to achieve a settlement more quickly. This is crucial as divorce is a long process and you need stamina.

Step Four: Be honest and upfront, disclose thoroughly and truthfully

You can only divide things when you know what you’ve got. Make a list of all your finances and share it to your partner. This is called a financial disclosure.

Hiding or moving assets out of the reach of your partner (for example by putting things in other people’s name) is the quickest way to start a legal war and avoidable legal costs. Don’t do it.

If the financial disclosure isn't fully truthful, your case can be reopened and a new court order made, even after your death.

Step Five: Do your homework

Legal advice is expensive and getting divorced can be one of the most expensive things you'll have to fork out for. If you're reading this you're already well ahead in terms of understanding the costs and how to keep on top of them.

If you need support from an expert, take advantage of free consultations and be sure to ask for the best case and worst case scenario in terms of costs so you have a range to work with.

Opt for fixed-fee divorce-diagnostic like amicable if possible as that will give you peace of mind and allow you to plan much better for the future.

Step Six: Speak to an expert

We hope the advice in this blog will help you to save money, stay out of court and keep things amicable.

For more tips on how to get divorced and keep the costs low, book a free 15-minute call with an amicable Divorce Coach.


What’s the cheapest cost way of getting divorced?

The cheapest possible divorce would be doing it yourself via the government website and then paying the court fees. Whilst this may seem like an attractive option, you may experience delays if you're not familiar with the divorce terminology. You will also need support from someone who is legally trained to formalise your financial split.

Who usually pays for a divorce?

This depends on whether you are applying for divorce jointly or making a sole application. If you are making a sole application you will have to pay the court fee before the application is submitted. You can tick a box in the application for a Judge to order that the court fees be split between you.

Can I do part of the divorce myself and just sort the finances using amicable?

Absolutely, however if you are unsure of the divorce/ dissolution process, it's worth considering whether you may require more help with the divorce paperwork to avoid unnecessary delays and extra charges for submitting out the paperwork incorrectly.

How much does online divorce cost?

Online divorce costs a minimum of £593 in court fees, if done through the government website. If you're planning on splitting your finances, you will need to seek additional help from a legally trained person. Alternatively, you can use amicable to help you with this process. Discover how amicable might be able to help you by finding the right service for you.

Read More

Start your amicable divorce journey

Speak to an amicable Divorce Specialist to understand your options and next steps for untying the knot, amicably.

Book a free 15-minute consultation

Comments (7)

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Alan Coysh
12.11.2018 16:14

How much is it likely to cost for my son's spouse to go to Court to force the sale of the jointly owned marital home against the wishes of my son? Any costs for my son?

27.04.2021 13:21

I just want the paperwork to say he is not my husband and not next of kin. I will rewrite my will and the house is not in my name and do not want it to be. We both have pensions that we will keep and there is little else except some savings I have which were left to me solely. We are still friends but not in love but there is nothing left except for respect of 40 years

09.07.2021 13:08

i just want the paperwork to say she is not my wife and not next of kin.I have rewritten my will and the house is not in my name and I do not want to be .We both have pensions that we will keep we have no savings between us.We are still friends but not in love but there is nothing left except for respect of 22 years

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Holly from amicable
14.07.2021 9:38

Hi Neville, thanks for your question. If you don't have any finances to split, it sounds like our simple divorce service would be the best option for you. You can book in a call with one of our experts if you'd like to learn more about this service.

14.07.2021 10:28

Last week I received divorce papers,I've been busy at work & tired so only just opened paperwork today. I was informed by my wife I had 14 days to return paperwork( I presume she was told my her solicitor).on opening it tells me 7 days Who is correct?thanks

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Holly from amicable
21.07.2021 10:26

Hi Steve, the court state on the Acknowledgement of Service form (D10) that you should return the form to the court within 7 days from receipt, however, if you return it later than that date it shouldn't impact the divorce proceedings unless you are planning to defend the divorce.

25.04.2022 9:26

We have been separated for just over 2 years and in that time have sold our "family" home and bought ourselves smaller properties. I would now like to proceed with a divorce which we have both agreed is the best option. We do not have any children, so I hope this can be resolved quickly and relatively painlessly?