Legal costs of splitting your assets – stage 2

The cost of splitting your assets on divorce- step one of the court process.

There are times when it’s not possible to put forward proposals for division of assets and liabilities (or maintenance) after swapping financial details informally. 

This may be because one person isn’t committing to the discussions, or because you have very different views on what the new financial picture should look like.

In those circumstances, one of you applies to the court for help making this decision. 

There are opportunities to agree along the way, but you should bear in mind that ultimately, if you still can’t agree on how your finances are to be divided, the decision is then going to be made by a judge. 

Read more about how to apply for maintenance.

What happens when you apply to the court to decide who should have what after a divorce?

The court service will send you details of what financial information you need to gather and exchange with each other. You might want a solicitor to help you with this. There will be a charge for this type of service.

The court will also set a deadline for this to be done. It is usually no more than 16 weeks from the date of the application.

The process is similar to the informal exchange of information in the negotiation stage. The main difference is that the information now has to be provided to the court as well as to each other

The court will also set a date for a short court hearing to check all the information has been disclosed properly. This is called a First Directions Hearing

How much should this stage cost?

You can expect to pay around £2500 to £5000 for this stage including a solicitor/representative from the solicitors office attending the hearing for you. 

If you also have a barrister to represent you at the hearing their cost of approximately £1500 will be on top.

The total cost of having professional help including earlier negotiations to the end of the First Directions Hearing is usually approximately up to £12,500.

Again, it could be a lot more if your case is complex.

It could be a lot less if your case is very straightforward.

The Bottom Line

All in all, the total approximate cost of splitting your assets up to the First Directions Hearing are £12,500 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.

Professional help isn’t cheap.

Representing yourself is difficult.

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