Can I claim my solicitor’s costs in divorce?

December 2, 2020, By Slater Heelis

Divorce can be a fairly straightforward process if both parties accept that their marriage has come to an end and they wish to formalise their separation. In this blog we explore whether you can claim divorce costs, or get help with them.

Fault Based Petition

Under the present law, a “fault-based” divorce is one which cites either unreasonable behaviour or adultery as the reason for the breakdown of the marriage (as opposed to a period of separation, for example).  With a fault-based petition comes the ability for the petitioner to seek some or all of their costs from the other party. This may include the court fee (presently £550) as well as a solicitor’s costs for preparing the paperwork (which are usually fixed at a set amount).

However, in many of the cases we deal with, the separating couple is able to work collaboratively to agree the wording in the petition and how the costs are to be dealt with.

Where you have a situation which is far from amicable, the petitioner may seek all of their divorce costs. Unless an agreement is reached at a later date, it is likely that the court will order the respondent to reimburse the petitioner’s costs.  These costs relate solely to the divorce and do not include the costs of addressing any associated financial issues (for which each party is usually responsible for their own solicitor’s costs).

Help with divorce costs

If you are the petitioner and are struggling to pay the fee for your divorce, there is help available. See further guidance on help with court fees on the government website.

No Fault Divorce

It is anticipated that by autumn 2021 the new “no fault” divorce system will have been implemented which is likely to remove the ability for the court to apportion blame through the use of costs orders. This is to be welcomed.

How we can help

If you are filing for a divorce or you are in receipt of divorce papers and would like further advice, our expert team are here to help.

Please call us on 0161 969 3131, or fill in our contact form and we will be in touch.