Who Generally Pays For The Cost Of A Divorce?
People are rarely better off financially after a divorce because it is more expensive to maintain two homes than one. As a result, it is likely that your standard of living will fall after you divorce. Being realistic about this and attempting to reach an agreement on as many financial and property issues as possible reduces costs and stress significantly.
Wherever there are children, their needs should be prioritized in determining where everyone will live. When you split up, managing joint finances – making sure you know exactly what everyone’s assets, debts, income, and outgoings are – is essential in order to try to find a solution.
Moreover, the general rule regarding who pays the legal fees in a divorce is that each person getting divorced pays their own legal fees, while the person applying for the divorce (the petitioner) is responsible for covering the court fee and other fees.
Going to court is expensive and stressful, regardless of the reason for going, and regardless of the strength of your argument. The outcome will always be uncertain for you. Judges, like everyone else, are human. We forget this from time to time. Whether or not your injustice or needs are obvious to you, a judge’s decision may be made on a bad day for him or her.
The court has far more discretion in family law than in most other areas of law, including divorce, children, and money. You may discover that something you thought you had agreed on prior to the hearing is changed by the judge. In addition to the judgment, there may be legal fees for using your solicitors to pay as well.
So Who Pays the Costs in Court Proceedings?
Contrary to popular belief, it does matter who initiates divorce proceedings. If you are the one being divorced (the “respondent”), the Court may order you to pay both sides’ legal fees. This is unjust, but it is based on old court principles that if you can prove your case in front of them, you will also receive your costs.
This may be useful in other cases and judicial systems in the UK, but the outcome in family courts may be unfair.
However, If both parties agree on the terms of the divorce, you may be able to split the legal fees. If you decide to divorce after you’ve been living apart for a while, you may have already stipulated in a separation agreement that all divorce fees will be split, or it’s best if you do it yourself. Of course, the person who petitions for divorce may or may not seek a court order for costs against his or her spouse.
Your solicitor is usually the most expensive. Consider whether you truly require one.
If the divorce is uncontested – that is, you both agree – there is little point in hiring a solicitor as long as you also agree on the division of your assets. It is entirely possible to conduct your own divorce without the assistance of a lawyer. The use of a lawyer does not make the divorce any more legal. You should be able to handle the entire process on your own. Any divorce county court will provide you with free forms and basic guidance notes, and court staff will assist you with the procedure.
The court must approve child custody arrangements, but the process is straightforward.
Some situations in which you might be able to forego the services of a solicitor are:
- If you have valid grounds for divorce
- If neither of you has substantial assets
- If you are not contesting child support
- If your children are not minors and are of legal age
By Azwatchdog – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5816262
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