Separation and divorce: counting the financial cost

When a relationship breaks down, it can be difficult to understand the immediate financial implications. Here are some areas to consider.

The potential costs

Court fees

If your divorce or legal separation is simple and won’t require solicitors, then the court costs could be relatively small.

However, if you own a property together, have significant assets or children, and can’t agree on arrangements, then your divorce is likely to cost more. Mediation could help to avoid this.

You can find up-to-date information on minimum court fees at MoneyHelper.


If you have children, one of your main concerns may be around financial arrangements to support them. If you can’t agree this with your former partner, the amount due and who pays for their care will be determined either by the court or more often by the child maintenance service. To work out how much this could be, you can use this online calculator.


Your family home can be one of the largest assets to discuss during a separation or divorce. There will be costs involved in either selling the property or securing lending to buy your former partner out of their share and transfer ownership. You may also decide to give up some of your share as part of an agreement.

Investments, savings and debts

As with property, if you have joint savings or investments – including pensions – you will need to make arrangements to split these or they will form part of a financial settlement decided in court. You should also plan for how you will pay back any joint debts such as loans or overdrafts.

Legal fees

It’s possible you will need to engage a solicitor, for instance to transfer ownership of a property, or to represent you in court. Fees vary depending on the choice of solicitor and the complexity of the case – some cases might qualify for legal aid. The Law Society can help you to find a solicitor should you need one.

Cost and breakdown of divorce

Your next steps

Take stock

Planning ahead will be vital to stay on top of any costs associated with your separation. To help you get a clear picture of your new financial situation, we offer a free personal financial review in our branches that you might find useful.

Further help and support

MoneyHelper offers general guidance and support for divorcing couples, including how property can be treated.

Visit the Government child maintenance pages for more information about child maintenance costs.

Important legal information

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