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The hidden cost of divorce

The hidden cost of divorce
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If you’ve Google the cost of a divorce, what you’ve probably seen is the bog-standard answer of £550 for the court fee. However, there are a number of hidden costs that come with ending a marriage.

Getting a divorce can be a stressful and emotional time. And worrying about how to afford it can add extra stress. So we are here to break down everything you need to consider from solicitor fees to taking out life insurance. 

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Mediation fees

Everybody’s situation is different. But the likelihood is that if you have property, share your finances or have children together, you will need a little help in sorting all of that out.

Mediation is one way of doing this. And it is often cheaper than going through solicitors. A mediator will help you and your ex-spouse to talk through things like:

  • How to split your finances
  • Whether or not you should sell your shared property
  • How to share childcare going forwards

However, mediation isn’t free. The average cost is around £140 per person per hour.

This fee includes the drafting of your ‘memorandum of understanding’ – a document that details what you have both agreed.

If you are worried about how to afford this, there are schemes that help with mediation fees. There is the Family Mediation Voucher scheme, which, if you qualify, could give you up to £500 towards your mediation costs.

Alternatively, you could explore whether or not you are eligible for legal aid.

Solicitors’ fees

Another option is to use solicitors in order to sort out your money and property. However, this can be costly.

It is hard to pinpoint a cost for this aspect of a divorce, as it will depend on whether or not it is contested and how complicated your shared finances are. It will also depend on whether you are the petitioner or the respondent.

Solicitors’ hourly rates range from £100 to £300, depending on experience and location.

It is important to be aware that even if you decide to do mediation instead, you will still need a solicitor in order to turn your ‘memorandum of understanding’ into a ‘consent order’.

The court fee for this is £50. However, you will also need to pay for the solicitor to draft this and file it. Prices for this range from £300 online to over £3,000 for a complicated order drafted by an experienced family lawyer.

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Changing your will

Another hidden cost of divorce is changing your will. If previously everything was to go to your ex-spouse, you will want to amend this once your divorce is finalised.

The average cost of a single will drawn up by a solicitor is between £100 and £200. Once again, this largely depends on which part of the UK you live in and how complicated your situation is.

Housing costs

Whether or not you are selling your marital home or transferring ownership, there are potential costs involved.

So another hidden cost of divorce is paying estate agent fees and solicitors’ fees for moving and maybe even an early repayment charge on your mortgage.

If you do go through a mediation process, you will need to provide estimates for these costs in your financial statement.

Life insurance

One thing you may not have thought about during this whole process is life insurance. In particular, you need to consider whether or not your ex-spouse has life insurance and whether you need a specific type of insurance.

It is something to think about if you have children and your ex-spouse is to pay child maintenance. There are insurance options to secure any ongoing payments in relation to child maintenance or spousal maintenance.

Either party is able to pay for this insurance. However, if you want to make sure you have budgeted for all potential costs when it comes to your divorce, it is worth adding this one in.

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