Costs orders in family proceedings

Costs in divorce proceedings

The general rule in divorce proceedings is that the court will make an order for costs against the Respondent in the proceedings if the Petitioner succeeds in obtaining a divorce based on their petition. The amount of costs payable will depend upon:

  • the amount charged by the Petitioner solicitors; and
  • whether the Respondent is ordered to pay the full costs or a percentage of the costs.

However, it may be possible to negotiate away or reduce any claim for costs. It is therefore advisable to seek legal advice if you intend to pursue a claim for costs or wish to defend a claim for costs made against you in divorce proceedings.

Costs orders in financial and children proceedings

The general rule in financial and children proceedings is that the court will not make an order requiring one party to pay the costs of the other party. However, the court may make an order for costs any stage of the proceedings where it considers it appropriate because of the conduct of one of the parties.

Legal services orders

The Courts have the power to order a party to make a payment to their spouse or civil partner for legal costs in connection with divorce proceedings or financial relief proceedings provided it is satisfied that:

    • the receiving party would be unable to obtain legal services without the legal services order; and
    • the receiving party is unable to secure a loan for their legal costs or grant a legal charge over assets in the proceedings to secure payment of their legal costs. 

    This means that if your ex-spouse has savings or investments and you have no other means of funding your case, you may be able to request the court to order them to pay your legal costs, to enable you to pursue divorce or financial proceedings.

    Need further advice?

    If you need further advice about claiming costs or defending costs in your case call us on (01228) 829530 to arrange a telephone or face-to-face consultation or request a free call back.