amicable’s Tips on Keeping the Cost of Divorce Low

Posted 21 October 2022

It’s often assumed that getting a divorce is expensive. In reality, the legal process of divorce doesn’t need to break the bank and how much you spend will depend on lots of factors such as which type of professional you choose to help you. 

In this blog by amicable, we’ll look at what you can control during a divorce in terms of finances and how to keep costs low.  

Tip one: Start the divorce yourself on the government website

If you’ve decided to get divorced, you can start the legal process yourself via the government website. You can complete your divorce application online and you will need to decide whether you would like to do this together (in a joint application) or as an individual (a ‘sole applicant’). 

The online forms are relatively straightforward and there are plenty of free resources to help you complete them, so there’s no need to reach out to a legal professional to do this part of the process for you unless you feel as though you need extra help. You also have the option to print and post a paper application (Form D8) to court. 

Tip two: Check whether you can get help paying your court fees

There is no charge for completing the divorce application, however, you will need to pay a government court fee to submit this to court, which is currently £593. 

If you earn under a certain amount or are receiving help from the government already, then you may be entitled to money off your court fees. You can find out whether you’re eligible for money off the government court fees using our amicable court fee calculator, or you can start your application for help paying your court fees here

Once you’ve completed your help with fees application, you’ll receive help with fees code (HWF) which you can include at the start of your online divorce application. The government won’t process your application without either the court fee or a HWF code. 

Tip three: Explore your options for help making financial and children arrangements

Another factor that impacts your finances as you separate from your partner is having to split any money, property, savings, pensions and debt. These are dealt with in the financial remedy side of the process, which is separate from the divorce process itself and usually requires guidance from a professional. Having to separate your finances, can leave you in a very different financial position and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. What you can control, is who you choose to help you through this process. 

Here are a few options:

  • Solicitors – using solicitors can be expensive as they don’t tend to offer fixed fees or work with you both, so you might end up paying two sets of legal fees. However, you should reach out to a solicitor if there are any safeguarding issues such as abuse, or if assets are being moved or hidden. 
  • Mediation – mediation is a good option to help you and your ex reach an agreement, however, you may need to go elsewhere to get your agreements written up into a consent order.
  • amicable – we can help you with some of it, or all of it, including helping you to reach an agreement and prepare the consent order.

If you have children, you’ll also need to make arrangements for them such as where they will live most of the time. This can be done informally, between yourselves, or using co-parenting services, such as amicable, or through mediation. We have a free parenting plan e-book which you can download. Going to court to ask a judge to resolve any unresolved issues should be a last resort as this can be very expensive and acrimonious.

Tip four: Being able to be amicable saves you money 

The cheapest option is to reach an agreement yourselves, known as a ‘kitchen table agreement’. If you want your arrangements to be legally binding, and make sure neither of you can make claims against the other in the future, you will need a specialist to turn your agreement into a consent order (if you agree), for the court to approve. If you aren’t able to reach an agreement amicably, the other side of the spectrum can be a long, drawn-out court process with your ex involving barristers and solicitors which can cost tens of thousands of pounds. 

So being able to be pragmatic and reach a compromise together, without needing to involve solicitors and barristers and going to court, will save you money and help you to build positive futures apart. 

Tip five: Set clear financial goals 

Lots of people start a divorce without understanding what they are trying to achieve financially. Being able to set clear financial goals, helps you to create an agreement that works for you both. 

For example, think about how you want to be at the end of your divorce.

Do you want to be debt free, independent, and 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 avoid getting caught up focusing on the small stuff, this will help you to an agreement more quickly and without spending lots of money arguing with your ex through solicitors. 

There’s a useful podcast episode on financial planning for divorce that talks about goals you can set and stress-testing your agreement. 

 If you would like to discuss any of the issues blog, amicable offers free 15-minute telephone advice calls which you can book via our website

Organisation bio

amicable is the trusted legal service for separating and divorcing couples. amicable helps couples to reach an agreement over their finances and make arrangements for their children. amicable offer emotionally-led, fixed-fee services which help people navigate the legal and emotional journey of ending their relationship.

Author bio

Bec Jones has a background in family law with over 8 years of experience as a family law solicitor. She is fantastic at offering pragmatic advice and is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to the legalities around divorce and separation. Bec has been a Divorce Specialist at amicable for over five years and has authored and appeared in a number of articles surrounding divorce, separation and cooperative parenting and is well known for her tips for maintaining a blended family. She went through her own difficult divorce which led to her joining amicable as a Divorce Specialist to help others.