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What may it cost?


We endeavour to make information about our fees as clear and easily accessible as possible. If you have any queries about the information contained here or indeed given to you at any other time in relation to fees or costs please do not hesitate to contact Hawkins Family Law and speak to your solicitor.



Costs Estimates

Although we would like to say otherwise, it is always difficult to estimate what the costs are likely to be in a divorce or separation case whether it involves finances or children. This is not because we do not wish to be transparent. It is because, at the outset, it is not always clear how the case is going to progress or what the response of the other party may be and what the nature and extent of any assets maybe. However, we will provide estimates on an ongoing basis, but please be clear that these are only estimates based on the information supplied by you. The estimates given do not constitute quotes.


A straight forward undefended divorce when both parties complete the documentation required without amendment or alteration and without any defence or arguments being entered into in relation to the divorce proceedings will cost

a) Court Fees (currently £550),

b) Solicitors Costs – Petitioner approximately £500 – £600 plus VAT @ 20%

c) Respondent costs at £150 + VAT .

The petitioner in divorce proceedings is the person who commences the proceedings and has to draft the divorce petition and other paperwork which is why their costs are higher. This cost estimate will necessarily increase if there are problems with serving the other party or with them failing to cooperate or if the divorce is contested.

Injunctions can cover many different issues from domestic violence to determining who should occupy a property to asset freezing orders. Insofar as domestic violence and occupation orders are concerned the level of costs will largely be governed by the amount of evidence, the number of statements required and the number of hearings that are required. We would expect there to be at least two Court Hearings and would expect costs to be no less than £6,000 plus VAT overall. Depending upon any of the above factors the costs may be significantly more.

Insofar as an asset freezing injunction is concerned the ultimate cost very much depends on the location of those assets and the amount and complexity of assets held. If an application is made for a worldwide freezing order then the costs will be considerable and you should budget a minimum of £10,000-£20,000 plus VAT, Court Fees and Barrister fees. In fact your costs may be significantly higher than this. If the application is for a Section 37 (M.C.A. 1973) freezing order limited in terms of assets and location then you should budget for at least £5,000 – £6,000 plus VAT, Court Fees and Barrister Costs. Again the costs may be significantly higher dependant upon your individual circumstances. In the event that an injunction is required please speak to your legal advisor so as to determine a better indication of likely cost estimate depending on your personal circumstances.

There are various different applications that can be made to Court in relation to contested children proceedings. These can vary from where a child should live, how often the child should see the parents to mandatory applications and applications in relation to finances. We will endeavour pursuant to the Resolution Code of Practice to try and achieve a settlement for you but inevitably some cases do proceed to a final hearing. If the case proceeds to a final hearing without agreement being reached between parties the total costs are unlikely to be less than £10,000 plus VAT, Court Fees and Barristers fees and potentially the costs of experts for example psychologists etc. A complex case may cost even more than this. Obviously if the case settles earlier the costs will be significantly less.

Resolving disputes in relation to financial matters can be extremely expensive. Ordinarily your solicitor will advise you as to the best method to use to try and achieve resolution. You may be advised to consider mediation, the collaborative process, the court, negotiated round table meetings or the Milton Keynes fast track procedure or Family Law Arbitration. For more information on all these different methods of trying to resolve financial matters please ask for one of our fact sheets.

a.) Mediation

Mediation is a process available to parties who want to resolve any issue arising from the breakdown of their relationship. It is not counselling or a way to help a couple get back together. If you chose this route you will initially meet with the mediator alone for an intake session and thereafter all meetings will be with you, your partner and the mediator. The mediator is there as an impartial unbiased expert. He or she cannot, however, give legal advice. Most people who go through mediation also each use a lawyer to take advice during the process and to make sure that their agreements are fair and legally binding. We are able to offer mediation at Hawkins Family Law. Our charges are at the hourly rate of your chosen solicitor and normally the cost is split equally between the couple, but this can vary depending on the couple concerned. It is very difficult to determine how many sessions would be required, but we would recommend that you work on the premise that there will be between four and eight sessions of an hour and a half to two hours each. In addition we would recommend that each party retains a solicitor to provide legal advice and obviously there will be costs associated in that regard.

b.) Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law lets you talk through issues you need to resolve with you and your former partner each having a specially trained lawyer at your side. The majority of collaborative work is carried out by way of four way meetings. When you enter the collaborative law process you will be asked to confirm that you will endeavour to resolve the problems without going to court and everybody will sign an agreement to that effect. Most collaborative four way meetings last between an hour and a half and two hours. There is a certain amount of work which is required to be carried out in between four way meetings for example preparation of financial disclosure documentation and our best estimate is that there are normally between four and six collaborative meetings but it does very much depend on your circumstances. We would estimate therefore that each party’s costs in connection with resolving financial or children issues using the collaborative process would be in the region of £4,000 – £6,000 plus VAT and disbursements.

c.) Family Arbitration

Jo Hawkins is a fully trained family arbitrator. Family arbitration is an alternative way of reaching a conclusion about your finances or property if your relationship comes to an end. The Arbitrator essentially carries out the role of the judge. Like a judge, the arbitrator will make sure that all the relevant facts are gathered and will obtain evidence from you and your partner. He or she will then give a binding ruling, known as an award. The arbitrator cannot deal with the divorce itself or children matters.

d.) Solicitor Negotiations

Often clients wish to try and negotiate a settlement between solicitors without issuing court proceedings. This process can be protracted depending upon the speed at which financial disclosure is produced by both parties and any questions are responded to. Your solicitor will advise you whether or not the process should be pursued after a certain period of time, or whether in fact court proceedings should be issued. From a cost perspective you should budget for no less than £5000 plus VAT and disbursements on a relatively straightforward matter. If there are complex issues in relation to shares, companies, trusts, offshore assets etc then these costs will increase. Please discuss this with your legal advisor.

e.) Fast Track

In Milton Keynes the local solicitors have set up an alternative basis for clients to try and resolve issues in relation to finances. It is known as the fast track. The premise is that each party will have their own independent solicitor and that the solicitors and clients will meet for a series of round table meetings to try and resolve matters. If that does not result in a conclusion then we have the support of the local judges at Milton Keynes County Court to proceed straight to a financial dispute resolution (FDR) hearing thereby leapfrogging the first direction appointment and thereby trying to keep costs to a minimum. The Fast Track process does require all parties to provide prompt and comprehensive disclosure of any financial matters and deal with any questions raised speedily. In terms of costs we would estimate that your costs in advance of any court proceedings would be in the region of no less than £5,000 plus VAT and disbursements.

f.) Financial Proceedings Issued in Court

If financial proceedings are issued in Court, then there are three distinct phases:

i.) First Directions Appointment.

This is a housekeeping appointment. You should be aware that the timetable in relation to court issued financial resolution is governed by the Court. The first directions appointment comes after each party has made full and frank financial disclosure through Form E. As an estimate, we would suggest that your costs would be in the region of £5,000 – 7,000 plus VAT and the costs of any expert evidence required such as accountancy evidence, pensions evidence and barristers. There may also be other additional disbursements. If the matter does not settle you will then progress to the next hearing.

ii.) Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing

We would estimate that your costs will up to and including the financial dispute resolution hearing will be in the region of £7,000 – £10,000 plus VAT.

iii.) Final Hearing

If matters still do not resolve and there is a requirement for a final hearing then we would estimate an additional £10,000 – £25,000 plus VAT or more depending on the complexity of the case. Please be aware that very few cases go to final hearing. We would hope, therefore, not proceed this far. We cannot obviously guarantee that this will be the case.

Please note that all the estimates given above are estimates only and are all plus VAT and plus the costs of any additional items such as accountancy evidence, barristers evidence, pensions reports etc.

The final charge will very much depend on how your case progresses, the level and extent of documentation and complexity, the urgency which is required by you and cooperation of the other party.

We would suggest in financial or children matters that you budget for at least five to ten hours work per month at your solicitors current fee rate although as you appreciate your monthly costs may be significantly higher than this. The above cost estimates are approximate only and are based on average cases and are for our legal fees only. It is likely that there will be additional costs such as court fees, barristers fees and other expert fees. We will discuss these costs with you on an ongoing basis.

We will always try to give you a best estimate of the likely cost of your case and we will review this on a regular basis. Please be advised that this is only a best estimate. We are not able to provide quotes and given the nature of the work it is impossible to predict precisely what costs will be incurred. We will also advise you as to the cost benefit of pursuing a matter if we believe that it will be cost prohibitive to do so.

We will endeavour to provide you with an update as to our best estimated costs on at least a 6 monthly basis and in any event will render invoices on at least a by monthly basis and usually a monthly basis so that you can have as much information as possible in relation to the cost position. You should also be aware that the cost estimate given may be exceeded depending on your particular circumstances and further that in the event that you do not settle any outstanding invoice we reserve the right to cease acting on your behalf.

As a general guide only barristers costs for an initial hearing range from £800 – £4,000 plus VAT depending upon the experience of the Barrister and the length and type of hearing. Sometimes these figures will be exceeded. For an FDR this can be between £1,500 and £5,000 + VAT. For a final hearing his will be significantly more depending upon experience.

It is possible for you to put an upper cost limit on your matter. If this is something that you wish to do then please advise the solicitor who is acting on your behalf.

Funding your solicitors, court and experts fees can be a daunting prospect. Sometimes it is possible to fund your costs through savings or agreement with your spouse / partner that you will use an asset to pay fees. We are able to accept all debit and credit cards (except Amex) and Novitas loan funding n.b. This is an external web site not affiliated or linked to Hawkins Family Law. You must make your own enquiries as to whether this funding is appropriate for you.


Talk To One Of Our Legal Experts

01908 262680

Talk To One Of Our Legal Experts

01908 262680

2019 Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts and Middx – South East

Hawkins Family Law fields 'a very professional team that delivers a high-class service and has strength-in-depth from senior to junior level'. Managing director and team head Jo Hawkins provides 'clear and accurate advice and moral support through often testing times for her clients; she focuses on deriving the best long-term outcome for her client and other parties'. The practice has particular strength financial matters, including divorce and ToLATA proceedings. Other key figures include Loraine Davenport, who has strong collaborative law expertise and handles complex children cases and high-net-worth ancillary relief matters; Annabel Hayward, who focuses on complex financial provision and co-habitation matters; and Stacey St Clair.

For more information please click here.

2019 Family/Matrimonial – Milton Keynes and surrounds

What the team is known for
Boutique family law firm that punches above its weight in terms of high-value and complex matrimonial finance instructions relating to business assets, pensions and substantial property portfolios, including assisting with the handling of assets abroad. Also represents clients in the negotiation of wealth protection agreements and private law childcare arrangements. Fields a team trained in collaborative law and alternative dispute resolution.

An impressed client says: "The team's personal service and individual care is a great asset,"adding that the lawyers are "always available to assist and understand the occasional need for immediate advice and guidance, providing a very reassuring service."

For more information please click here.