One of the first questions that we’re usually asked by clients who are considering filing for divorce is: “How much will my divorce cost?”
The cost of your divorce will depend on a number of factors: the type of assets you have, how the other side responds to your divorce, and how quickly it progresses. A couple who own multiple properties, businesses and investments will necessarily require more time and legal expertise to work out the settlement for their divorce than a couple who own one house and have straightforward financial arrangements.
It is possible to get a divorce without using a solicitor if you wish to handle the paperwork yourself, but good legal advice will enable you to achieve a binding financial settlement and ensure that your interests are properly looked after.
Working out how much a divorce will cost in the UK
Many of our clients come to Benussi & Co. with expectations as to how long they think their divorce should take, or how complex they think that their divorce will be. They may have fixed ideas regarding what their assets are worth, or how they would like them to be split.
The reality is that all divorces are different and have a unique set of circumstances. You may find that once your spouse instructs their own family law solicitor, any previously agreed informal arrangements go out of the window.
A divorcing couple need to agree on the value of their various assets. If they can’t agree this between themselves, then independent valuations will have to be carried out by specialists. At Benussi & Co. we use valuation experts for all sorts of assets from boats to businesses. It’s important to consider everything that each partner owns, including jewellery, savings, pensions, shares, any inheritances, fine art and antiques. Family trusts can be particularly complicated, and specialist advice is often required.
Reducing the cost of your divorce
As with any other kind of professional service, an experienced and highly regarded family law solicitor will charge more per hour than a non-specialist. A more expensive divorce solicitor can save you money in the long run however – they will be alert to any problems that may delay the progress of your divorce and ensure that any financial settlement is equitable.
You can help to reduce the cost of using a divorce solicitor by making the best use of their time; if you are able to fill out forms yourself, and organise your paperwork to make your solicitor’s job easier, you can reduce your bills. You should try to hire a family law solicitor whose fees mirror your circumstances – people with significant family assets will benefit from using a highly experienced, and thus more expensive, solicitor; people with more modest or straightforward financial affairs may be able to use the services of a more junior solicitor.
Solicitors charge by the hour, so you will be charged for each letter that they send or telephone call that they have to make. One factor that you cannot control is the responsiveness of the other side. At Benussi & Co., we believe that if the other side is also represented by a highly regarded family law firm, then the matter progresses more quickly and smoothly than if non-specialist lawyers are involved. Read our tips on how to get a quick divorce.
There are certain costs that you have to pay irrespective of how you choose to handle your divorce: if you begin proceedings, you will have to pay the £550 court fee, plus potentially any fees relating to other hearings. Filing for the divorce itself is a relatively simple process: it’s the financial settlement and custody arrangements that require specialist and sensitive handling.
Generally in life, you get what you pay for – and the services of a divorce solicitor are no exception. If you use a cheap divorce solicitor, it’s likely that you’ll get a cheap standard of service too. Using a specialist matrimonial practice such as Benussi & Co. means that you know that you have experts on your side. We represent a number of high net worth divorce clients, including celebrities, sportspeople and leading business men and women, so we have the experience to deal with some of the more complex issues that arise from a divorce.
Can you be penalised in your divorce if you have committed adultery?
There is a common myth that when one spouse has been unfaithful, that the resulting financial settlement will penalise them for their behaviour. The reality is that this is simply not the case. The starting point for considering the split of assets is 50/50; then other factors, such as the contribution that each partner has made to the marriage, and the standard of living that the family previously enjoyed, are taken into account. If you have committed adultery your partner cannot use this as a reason to get a more favourable financial settlement or a better custody arrangement for your children.
Dedicated family law solicitors
Benussi & Co. is a specialist family law practice. We focus on nothing else, which is why we’re recognised amongst our peers as leaders in all aspects of divorce and family law. If you’re looking for an experienced family law solicitor, please get in touch to arrange an initial consultation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0121 248 4001.