Keeping your money in line during divorce

Divorce is always difficult and there’s rarely a smooth way around it. Big money divorces regularly make the headlines and serve as a constant reminder that the process won’t just take its toll on your emotions, but also your bank account.

If you are thinking about divorce, it’s important that you understand how costly it can be. For example, the court fee for filing a divorce in the UK is currently (as of March 2014) £410. In addition, fees are required to obtain your final order and conclude financial arrangements.

Solicitor Fees

You’ll most likely require some form of legal advice before you start the divorce proceedings. Hiring a solicitor may seem expensive; however, the cost of attaining expert guidance could be minimal in comparison to what you could lose.

Hiring a solicitor will help to secure your assets and ensure you are as protected as possible. Fees can significantly vary on a case-to-case basis and the more you can resolve yourself, the less it will cost. Using mediation or collaborative lawyers could also reduce expenditure. In addition, there are plenty of free online resources available that will help guide you through the process.

According to Money Advice Service most solicitors will charge between £100 and £200 per hour to draw up legal documents that contain the agreement between you and your partner. If you use a solicitor to negotiate finances and assets on your behalf it could cost between £3,000 and £10,000.

Other Costs

Aside from the legal aspects, there are plenty of other costs that you must discuss before getting a divorce. For example, who will pay for your child’s living costs? Who will move out of the house? Do you have a place to stay when the procedures begin? Can you afford the rent without your partner? Will you be able to accommodate buying and moving costs?

Children can be particularly at risk during divorce proceedings, which is of course heartbreak for any parent. One way that Cathy (co-author of this post) is watching her money is by setting up a trust for her little one. One of the benefits of a trust fund is that it does not fall in line with the other assets that can be at risk during divorce proceedings. You can find out more about trusts on this page.

Getting Financial Aid

There is currently no form of financial aid to help cover divorce fees in England, unless you can prove evidence of domestic violence. If you believe that you qualify for financial aid you must contact Civil Legal Advice. They will tell you whether or not you are entitled to support and may also provide a mediator on your behalf. This can cause much emotional strain, but it is crucial that you protect yourself and ask for help if you feel you have been threatened in any relationship.

If you can’t afford your divorce fees and staying with your partner isn’t an option, then you may have to borrow money and could be entitled to litigation funding. This is a loan which is specifically granted to cover legal fees. Not many financial service institutions will provide litigation funding, and if they do, they’ll most likely deal directly with your solicitor.

Going through divorce can be one of the most emotionally challenging times of your life. Dealing with the financial arrangements and your assets can cause a great deal of unnecessary stress. Without taking the appropriate procedures you could find yourself significantly out of pocket. If you would like advice about how to handle your divorce, contact a specialist that really knows how to take care of the proceedings in a professional, and most importantly, heartfelt manner.

Written by Jessica Baker (@JessBaker89) and Cathy Graham of Mercer and Hole