Concept for - Resolving finances after divorce

A recent study[1] funded by the Nuffield Foundation, has revealed that only 32% of divorcees in the UK utilised the assistance of some form of legal advice in relation to their finances during their divorce, with 42% of people who did not use lawyers during their divorce stating that the fear of cost was the primary reason for doing so.

The evidence suggests, however, that there are substantial differences in outcome between instructing and not instructing solicitors that affect individuals’ feeling of satisfaction in the years following divorce.

The study’s report reveals that individuals who used solicitors to assist with finances after divorce, are more likely to reach a fairer settlement as well as be more content with the agreement 5 years after reaching a divorce settlement. This is particularly the case for wives. Wives who used legal services were more likely to benefit from:-

  • A transfer of the matrimonial home;
  • A higher percentage of the proceeds of the sale where the matrimonial home was sold; and
  • Were more likely to receive ongoing financial support from their ex-spouse

When compared to wives who did not seek legal advice.

With these statistics, you may think that individuals who are divorcing must accept that to be satisfied with the financial outcome they will need to pay more than is reasonable and proportionate to do so. If you are in this situation yourself, you may be asking whether satisfaction is really worth the cost.

The good news is that this may not actually be the case according to the data. Despite legal costs being found to be the biggest deterrent for people using lawyers during their divorce, the study suggests that the legal costs of reaching a financial settlement are considerably more modest than generally assumed by the public. The report showed that 18% of divorcees had legal costs between £1,000 and £2,999 and only 9% of divorcees paid over £10,000. The study found that the amount paid was in direct correlation of the value of assets being divided. Statistically, therefore, legal costs are not automatically out of reach when dividing finances following divorce – you do not have to choose between contentment with the financial settlement on divorce and legal costs.

If you are in the process of dividing your finances following a divorce or separation, feel free to reach out to our experienced and recognised Family team at Stephens Scown who strive to reach a fair settlement which you will be satisfied with for years to come whilst keeping your costs proportionate to your assets.



[1] The Nuffield Foundation funded a project which surveyed 2,415 individuals who had divorced in the past five years. This led to a report being released on the 3rd of November 2023 called ‘Fair Shares? Sorting out money and property on divorce’.