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Do I have to pay for the divorce?

Do I have to pay for the divorce? Cheshire divorce solicitors Stonehewer Moss have over 25 years experience of petitioning for divorce and in that time it is notable that the move towards a more conciliatory and open handed style of conducting the process has never been reflected on the issue of costs of the divorce. The rules of court that apply can be found on the Gov site and in particular rule 28 of the Family Proceedings Rules 2010 provides that costs are awarded to the Petitioner. Do I have to pay for the divorce? Yes, if you agree  to the divorce, your spouse seeks costs and you fail to negotiate either with a view to limiting cost or to weigh them off against the risk of inflaming the far more expensive issues arising from child or financial disputes.

Costs mean the charges of a solicitor and the court fees in most cases. It is only the basic work of getting the divorce, not financial advice or negotiation. Rule 44 of the same rules provides that in finance disputes the general rule in the absence of other reason is that each spouse pays his own legal bills. As such, rule 28 is an anachronism in place because the divorce retains the vestiges of a contested process rather than an inquisitorial one (as is the case with finances) even though common perception is now that divorce is something of a farce that only the foolhardy would defend in most instances; a broken marriage cannot be repaired in court. That said, a weak case could still be contested and the current dispute running through the appeal system called Owen v Owen highlights that the court is not a rubber stamp of every petition. A spouse with deep pockets and resentful of costs being sought could defend the petition but take advice from a sensible and experienced solicitor first. A petitioner should also be wary of insisting on his or her rights to costs if the bigger picture will be distorted by the bitterness it might engender in your spouse if sought from him or her. It may be better to agree a route to a principled approach to settling all issues with proportionate costs,  fixed in advance.

Do I have to pay for the divorce? Probably but take sensible advice on it. For advice negotiation and representation in divorce, please call 01606872200 e mail visit


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Stonehewer Moss Solicitors, Citadel House, Solvay Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 4DP

Solicitors in Northwich covering Chester, Crewe, Knutsford, Macclesfield, Middlewich, Northwich, Runcorn, Sandbach, Warrington, Winsford, and across Cheshire.

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