There seems to be a myth that the person receiving the request for a divorce (the respondent) pays the divorce fees. However, the majority of the time the fees are paid by the person filing for divorce (the petitioner). It is most likely that both sides will have some fees to pay. So what are the fees and who pays for a divorce?
Regardless of how you choose to file for divorce, a court fee will need to be paid. This is because you will need the court to make your divorce binding. If you choose to have a consent order (a legally binding document that secures your finances after the divorce) you will need to pay an additional fee:
- £550 fee to apply for a divorce
- £50 fee to apply for a consent order
You might be eligible for a court fee remission (money off court fees) if you are on a low-income or receive certain benefits.
If you have used a solicitor to advise you during the divorce process you will also need to pay their fees. Solicitor fees vary greatly and some may offer legal aid.
Who pays for the divorce fees?
Initially the person filing for the divorce will always pay the court fee. However, the petitioner can ask the respondent to pay the costs in a fault-based divorce or in a 2 year separation divorce if both parties agree.
If the respondent does not agree to pay the fees, there will be a costs hearing after the decree nisi has been agreed. The respondent will have the opportunity to argue why they shouldn’t pay the costs. This is most likely because they cannot afford to pay the fees. The Judge will then decide how much the respondent should pay following a financial assessment.
During the costs hearing the Judge will also assess whether the petitioner’s solicitor fees will be paid by the respondent.
Should I claim for my divorce fees?
This will depend entirely on your circumstances. Unless you have already agreed with the respondent that they will pay the fees, claiming will slow down and interrupt the divorce process. Claiming for costs can also make the respondent uncooperative.
We will be happy to assess your circumstances and advise you on whether you should claim your fees or not. We can also let you know if you might be eligible for a court fee remission.
If you’re considering divorce and would like to know more about divorce fees please contact us in London (West Drayton) on 01895 449288 or in Hertfordshire (St Albans) on 01727 840900 or by email via our contact page.