According to research conducted by life insurance firm Aviva, the cost of legal fees has dropped by approximately £500 since 2006. However, the overall cost of divorce increased from £28,000 to £44,000 in the same period – a rise largely due to the ‘hidden costs’ of divorce, such as moving house, child maintenance, redecorating, or taking a post-divorce holiday.
One in eight respondents of the survey said they spent money on treating themselves following separation, for example: new clothes, makeovers, holidays, cars, gadgets, entertainment and gifts. This extra spending also included self-improvement efforts like therapy, life coaching, learning a new hobby, and fitness regimes.
Average legal costs were reported to amount to £1,200, with other necessities such as childcare, custody arrangements and maintenance adding a further £11,000 per person to the total. However, not everyone can afford to spend money beyond necessary legal fees. Four out of ten survey members said they were worse off following the divorce, with over half of all respondents needing at least six months to resolve their financial issues.
In order to keep the cost of divorce as low as possible, the process of separation takes planning and careful consideration. The simpler your case, the quicker and cheaper it will be. Here are a few suggestions for limiting what you spend on divorce – before, during and after the process:
- Choose fixed-fee legal services for each stage of your case, enabling you to plan for costs as they arise;
- Draw up a post-divorce budget to help you work out exactly how to negotiate the changes in your finances;
- Cut down on legal costs by coming to an agreement about the details of your separation with your ex before you pursue your case;
- Opt for out-of-court options such as mediation, arbitration or collaborative family law which reduce legal fees and streamline the process of separation;
- Avoid making big financial decisions until at least six months after separation when you view your situation more objectively;
- By all means treat yourself – divorce can be a difficult and stressful time – but try to keep spending within your limits or set up a savings account to work towards larger expenditures.
For more advice on divorce and separation, or to find out about fixed-fee legal services in Maidenhead and Beaconsfield, speak to one of our team at Frances Lindsay & Co.
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