As of 2016, 44% of UK marriages end in separation. At a time of high-stress, both personally and financially, how can you make a divorce less costly? Here our team of London family solicitors discuss how minimising the cost of divorce is possible.
Time is money – act fast
As the old saying goes, time is money – and when you are dealing with individuals in the legal profession, you’ll find that costs rapidly mount up if you drag your feet or don’t get yourself properly organised. Contact a reputable solicitor and begin filling out the requisite paperwork. Any delay in this stage of the process can harm your case and massively increase your fees.
Make arrangements and agreements for bills to be paid and agree which party has to pay them. No matter how fast and efficiently you fill out the paperwork; your papers will take a few months to file. Pay debts equally and if possible, don’t divorce at the tail-end of a tax year: it can get even more costly as you can start receiving bills for capital gains tax due to what HM Revenue & Customs would consider transfers of assets – like shares and property. You won’t be charged if you separate and transfer in the same tax year. Some other cost-cutting measures that don’t involve the courts are:
- Mediation without lawyers
- Mediation with some legal guidance
- Arbitration (asking a third party – usually another lawyer or barrister – to make a decision that would be binding on the parties)
- Collaboration (both parties’, with their solicitors, have a roundtable to agree on proceedings)
Keep cash flow under control
Spending at a time of divorce generally isn’t a great idea. You’ll need cash in your pocket for potential surprises (like mediation and general legal fees), and it’s generally a good idea to keep an eye on the value of your assets as you go through proceedings – legal professionals suggest this is in order to know what you’re settling for in the end.
As impossible as it may seem, stay alert to your partner’s potential bankruptcy. Some partners do this to avoid paying out their financial obligations – if you suspect this is happening, make sure you tell your solicitor so they can advise you on the most appropriate action quickly.
It may sound impossible, but a DIY divorce is completely feasible if you’re willing to put in the legwork. Not all cases involve couples appearing in courts, even though divorce paperwork needs to go through courts eventually.
If financial terms can be quickly and easily agreed upon, couples only need pay a court fee of £550 for the divorce and £100 for the financial order. With financial issues the biggest external strain on relationships, sorting out finances amicably – and not through expensive barristers and lawyers – is one of the best ways to attain a cheaper divorce
Divorce and separation is difficult but doesn’t have to be expensive. By minimising the cost of a divorce, both parties can come out of it amicably and stable, both financially and mentally. Staying positive and looking towards a better future for the pair of you will certainly minimise the psychological fee – let that manifest into a frugal divorce procedure too.