Legal costs of splitting your assets – stage 1

Splitting assets without going to court – how much should it cost?

Separating your finances on divorce can be broken down into four stages.

Stage one is the time when you try to negotiate an agreement before going to court.

This first stage doesn’t have a particular time limit, but you might want to draw a line under it if you are not getting anywhere within 12 weeks and you’ve made it clear that you will move to stage 2 if progress isn’t made.

Apply for a divorce on the .gov website. Find out more here.

What do you need to do to to agree the split without going to court?

You need to find out exactly what assets and liabilities each of you has, as well as your net incomes and reasonable expenditure. A solicitor, barrister or mediator can also help you with this and they will make a charge for their services.

Swapping these details can be done informally as long as you both agree that you have all the information you need to make a decision about how you divide things up. If you find it difficult to make arrangements with each other, a solicitor or mediator can act as intermediary. There is a cost for this service.

You may then want to discuss what you have, and other relevant circumstances, with each other. Again, if that is difficult a legal representative or mediator can help you to explore your options. Sessions are usually charged by the hour and you can expect to pay upwards of £200 per session.

Once enough information is available, one or both of you will put forward a proposal to divide the assets and liabilities and for any maintenance to be paid. if you want to make that formal, a solicitor can write a formal offer on your behalf with a deadline for accepting it.

If an agreement is reached, this is then made legally binding, but only if the agreement is written up in a specific format (known as a draft consent order) and sent to the court for the judge to approve as well. 

You can read all about consent orders here

How much does splitting finances without going to court usually cost?

No two cases are exactly the same, but broadly speaking you can expect to pay £3000 to £5000 for professional help negotiating, agreeing and splitting your assets without going to court.

Once you have an agreement there is likely to be a further £1000 spent on drafting the agreement and sending it to the court once your divorce is finalised, to make it legally binding and notifying pension providers and anyone else who needs to be told about the terms of your agreement. 

But it can also cost a lot less than this, if your case is very straightforward. The more you can agree on between yourselves, the less the cost will be.

The Bottom Line

All in all, the total approximate cost of splitting your assets without going to court are usually up to £6,000 on average.

They can be a lot more if your case is complex or you have a lot of assets.

But they can also be a lot less if your case is very straightforward and you don’t have a lot to divide.

The more you can agree on between yourselves, the less the cost will be.