Divorce Fees - Who pays them

I am in the process of getting divorced and originally we agreed to do this amicably and keep the costs down. However she has since proceeded on with a solicitor and the whole situation has changed.

My question is, who pays the divorce & solicitors fees?
Originally we were going to go 50/50 but now her solicitor is demanding I pay half of her fees, the court fee and that I also engage a solicitor for myself and pay for that.
If I do not send the solicitor her payment now, she is stating she will petition the court so that I pay all of the fees and costs.

Can they do that?


  • edited 18 September 2016 at 11:53AM
    TigsteroonieTigsteroonie Forumite
    24.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited 18 September 2016 at 11:53AM
    (Presuming England/Wales - if Scotland, please advise as different process)

    You don't need to engage a solicitor, that choice is up to you. In some situations it is recommended, in others it can be over the top.

    Who normally pays - there is no 'normal'. Everything is up for negotiation at this stage. If she is petitioning you for divorce and citing unreasonable behaviour, then she might win the application for you to pay the costs of that divorce. But it would only be the costs of the actual divorce, not the costs of the financial settlement (consent order) as that is a separate legal process.

    My recommendation, given that you said originally you were going 50/50, is to offer to pay 50% of the divorce fees. (You can check on those fees via the Courts website.) Don't make any agreement, and equally don't antagonise at this stage, with regards to the separate issue of the financial proceedings.

    It's her choice to engage a solicitor, you don't have to pay for that.

    Hop over to the Wikivorce website and forum for further guidance :)
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  • FinstFinst Forumite
    146 Posts
    The big (and uncertain) cost of divorce is the solicitors fees for negotiating the financial settlement - the consent order, as Tigsteroonie has already pointed out.

    Whatever you do, do not agree to pay any part of your wife's fees for this, for two reasons:

    - Firstly, its usually the biggest part by far
    - Secondly, when agreeing the finances gets difficult, mounting legal costs are one of the strongest reasons for giving in

    The rest is small in the grand scheme of things, and offering to pay 50/50 doesn't sound painful.

    My only other advice is this - you need a solicitor, now. Do not treat the finances part as being optional and something you can pick up later. Agreeing finances is the worst part of many divorces (it nearly broke me), and your wife's solicitor is already playing nasty.

    Again, refusing to agree to the divorce until the finances are also sorted is a common and useful tactic.
  • Thanks for the replies.

    One thing that has changed in the last day is the agreement over the house.
    Originally we agreed she would get a mortgage and give me a fixed amount of equity.

    This has now changed & I am wondering if we make an agreement, will this not be over written by the court? I am hoping it will not go to court.
    The benefit here is that the mortgage in my name only and I believe I can not be forced to sell her the house. If so I can withold the sale until she agrees to the original agreement
  • Caroline_aCaroline_a Forumite
    4.1K Posts
    Unless you've only been married a short time it won't matter that the house/mortgage is solely in your name - it is considered as assets of the marriage, and as such the courts will look to apportion from a point of 50/50. Are there children involved? this will make a difference.

    As has been said, you need to at least speak to a solicitor about this.
  • FinstFinst Forumite
    146 Posts
    Again, as Caroline_a says, it doesn't really matter who's name things are in, if its a relatively long marriage. They are all joint assets to be added up and split between the parties

    Regarding financial agreements, these can be agreed between both parties and rubber stamped by the court (this is called a consent order), or they can be set by the court if no agreement is reached (called a financial order)
  • carlislelasscarlislelass Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    Debt-free and Proud!
    I divorced over 40yrs ago so things have probably changed. Ex hubby paid my costs so long as I didn't claim maintainence...all I wanted was child upkeep
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