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Why it could now be more expensive to get divorced

Published 9 April 2016 by

Making the decision to get a divorce can be an incredibly tough one. It means that the two of you will not only have to separate the life that you’ve built together but also deal with the financial implications that can come with a divorce.

Divorce is now more expensive too, as the Ministry of Justice has raised the fee. To get you up-to-date with what this increase could mean for you, as well as the other financial implications of getting a divorce, we’re going to take you through the basics.

The cost of a divorce

The Ministry of Justice announced plans to raise the cost of administering a divorce by 34%, meaning that the fee for filing divorce papers will increase from £410 to £550. Ministers had planned to increase the charge by 80% to £750 but decided to go for a smaller increase instead. Although this rise has been anticipated since July, it only came into force on 21 March.

The move has faced criticism with some warning that the increased fee could leave partners legally and financially tied to each other even after a relationship has ended. In particular, there were concerns over how this increase would affect women who represent two-thirds of those starting divorce proceedings.

Financial links

A marriage in itself is not what financially links you to your partner, rather the financial products that you take out while you’re together. This could include a joint bank account, loan, or mortgage.

As a result of taking out a financial product together you are both jointly liable for any debts or payments left to make. So if you took out a joint mortgage you’d both be equally liable for the whole loan and would have to agree together how to manage this. For any other loan or joint bank account, you could be held responsible for any debts (such as an overdraft) even if it’s something your partner accumulated.

Any financial ties that you have with a partner will mean that future credit checks on either one of you will include the other person’s credit history, even after you’ve separated or divorced. That’s why it’s important that you try and organise your joint finances with your partner as soon as possible and discuss how you’re going to divide up and manage your payments.

When a financial tie that you had with someone ends, you should ask for a notice of disassociation from the credit reference agencies. This will mean you won’t be financially linked to your former partner anymore, so they won’t show up in your credit checks.

To read more about how to cope with your finances when going through a divorce, our blog could help.