Data Insight  ›  The Cost Of Getting Divorced Across The UK Revealed!

The Cost Of Getting Divorced Across The UK Revealed!

Flinn DolmanCo-Founder
Updated on 12th June 2023

They say "Love is grand; divorce is a hundred grand".

Indeed, the cost of calling it quits in a marriage can be quite an eye-opener. As a nation, we've always been fascinated with the costs of things, from the price of milk to our annual taxes. So why should the cost of uncoupling be any different?

At Lawhive, we decided to take a closer look at the finances of falling out. We embarked on an ambitious data collection project, reaching out to 176 solicitors across the UK's 50 most populous cities.

Our aim? To find out just how much it costs to get a divorce in each of these cities. We specifically focused on obtaining per-hour quotes, ensuring we had a minimum of three quotes per city. On average, we collected 3.5 quotes per city and then calculated an average cost for each location.

Interestingly, we found that several of the solicitors we approached were fully booked, a testament to the booming business of breakups. This reflects the statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which reported 113,505 divorces in England and Wales in 2021, a 9.6% increase from the 103,592 divorces in 2020.

The difference between the most expensive city and the cheapest is remarkable. To put it into perspective, if you were to hire a solicitor for 15 hours in Edinburgh, the most expensive city, you'd pay a premium of £285 per hour. That's a whopping £1,350 more overall than if you were to hire a solicitor in Sunderland, the cheapest city on our list, where you'd be charged £195 per hour. For many, that's the equivalent of an engagement ring!

Top 10 Most Expensive UK Cities

Top 10 Most Expensive UK Cities For Divorce

Edinburgh takes the crown as the most expensive city to get divorced in the UK, with an average hourly rate of £285. This city, famous for its historic and cultural attractions, including Edinburgh Castle and the annual Edinburgh Festival, apparently also commands a royal sum for its divorce services.

1. Edinburgh - £285.00

Edinburgh, the city of castles and kilts, might be a great place for a romantic getaway, but when it comes to divorce, the costs are as steep as Arthur's Seat. With an average hourly rate of £285, it's clear that breaking up is hard to do - and expensive - in Scotland's capital.

2/3. Leicester - £280.00

Leicester, known for its rich history and sports prowess, comes in joint second/third with an average hourly rate of £280. The city, famous for the discovery of King Richard III's remains in a car park, proves that divorce costs can be as unexpected as a king in a parking lot.

2/3. London - £280.00

Also coming in at joint second/third is London, with an average hourly rate of £280. Known for its high cost of living, it's perhaps not surprising that the city's divorce costs are equally extravagant. Still, with all the city's attractions, from the British Museum to Buckingham Palace, at least there's plenty to distract from the divorce proceedings!

4. Slough - £276.33

Slough, immortalised in the UK sitcom "The Office", has an average hourly rate of £276.33. It seems that the town's high divorce costs are no laughing matter, even if David Brent's antics were.

5. Reading - £273.33

Reading, a city known for its popular music festival and striking Victorian architecture, has an average divorce rate of £273.33 per hour. It seems that the cost of uncoupling in this cultural hub hits a high note.

6. Northampton - £272

Northampton, a city with a proud sporting and cultural heritage, has an average hourly rate of £272. The cost of divorce here might just be as challenging as a game in the city's beloved rugby union club, Northampton Saints.

7. Brighton - £271.67

Bohemian Brighton, with its iconic Royal Pavilion and bustling Lanes, comes in with an average hourly rate of £271.67. Known for its vibrant arts scene and free-spirited atmosphere, Brighton's divorce costs prove that breaking up can still be costly even in this open-minded city.

8. Glasgow - £266.67

Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, known for its stunning Victorian architecture and thriving music scene, has an average hourly rate of £266.67. It seems that the cost of saying goodbye in this cultural powerhouse can be as dramatic as a night at the theatre.

9. York - £266.67

The historic city of York, famous for its stunning York Minster and well-preserved city walls, comes in with an average hourly rate of £266.57. While its ancient streets and rich history might evoke romance, the cost of divorce in this picturesque city is anything but dreamy

10. Portsmouth - £265.00

The historic maritime city of Portsmouth is not just known for its iconic Spinnaker Tower, but now also for an average divorce solicitor rate of wallet-busting £265.00 per hour! It seems in this city, navigating the waters of divorce can be as complex as plotting a course in the bustling Solent.

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Top 10 Cheapest UK Cities

Top 10 Cheapest UK Cities For Divorce

At the other end of the scale, Sunderland stands out as the most affordable city for divorce in the UK, with an average hourly rate of just £195.

1. Sunderland - £195.00

Sunderland, a city with a strong industrial heritage and beautiful coastline, offers the lowest average hourly rate for divorce in the UK. Indeed, the only one that averaged less than £200 per hour! It seems the financial sting of uncoupling in this north-eastern city is as gentle as a stroll along Roker Beach.

2. Luton - £208.33

Luton, a diverse and bustling town in Bedfordshire, has an average hourly rate of £208.33. Known for its thriving arts scene and Luton Town Football Club, it appears that the cost of divorce in Luton isn't as high as its cultural accolades.

3. Swansea - £210.00

Swansea, a charming coastal city in Wales, has an average hourly rate of £210. Known for its picturesque waterfront and vibrant arts scene, the cost of divorce in Swansea seems as laid-back as the city itself.

4. Aberdeen - £211.67

Aberdeen, the Granite City, with its striking architecture and rich maritime history, has an average hourly rate of £211.67. The cost of divorce in this Scottish city is as solid as the granite buildings that line its streets.

5. Belfast - £212

Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, has an average hourly rate of £212. This city, known for its ship-building heritage, proves the cost of getting divorced doesn’t have to be Titanic!

6. Huddersfield - £217.50

Huddersfield, a market town with a strong industrial heritage and impressive Victorian architecture, has an average hourly rate of £217.50. The cost of divorce in this West Yorkshire town is as grounded as its historic roots.

7. Bristol - £221.83

The vibrant city of Bristol, famous for its street art and innovative spirit, has an average hourly rate of £221.83. The cost of divorce in this creative hub is as colourful as its iconic graffiti.

8. Bradford - £223.17

Known for its rich industrial history and vibrant multicultural ambiance, Bradford presents a more economical option for those looking to untie the knot, with an average rate of £223.17 per hour for divorce services. The cost of parting ways in this Yorkshire city, famous for its UNESCO World Heritage Site - Saltaire, is as pleasing as its unique blend of heritage and culture.

9. Bournemouth - £229.50

The picturesque seaside town of Bournemouth, with its sandy beaches and Victorian architecture, has an average hourly rate of £229.50. The cost of divorce in this coastal haven is as soothing as the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.

10. Peterborough - £230

Peterborough, a city with a rich history and striking cathedral, has an average hourly rate of £230. The cost of divorce in this Cambridgeshire city is as modest as its unassuming charm.

The UK's 50 Largest Cities & Towns Ranked

Where does your local city or town rank?

Cost of Divorce Across the Top 50 Largest UK Cities

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the cost of divorce, it pays to shop around.

With such a significant difference in hourly rates across the country, considering a solicitor outside of your local area might just save you a significant sum.

For example, if you're based in London, you might want to consider a solicitor in Sunderland and potentially save thousands of pounds.

Understanding the market allows you to make informed decisions. Knowing the cost differences across cities could significantly reduce the financial burden of a tough life event like divorce.

And remember, whether you're in London or Sunderland, Lawhive is here to help you navigate the intricacies of family law with confidence, clarity, and fair price transparency.

Methodology

In our quest for data, we followed a thorough and systematic approach:

  1. We started by obtaining a list of the Top 50 most populous cities from the Office for National Statistics.

  2. We then approached at least six solicitors in each of these cities, ensuring we obtained a minimum of three quotes. The average number of quotes we obtained per city was 3.5.

  3. The quotes we gathered were specifically for divorce services, reflecting the current market rate across these major UK cities.

  4. Finally, we calculated the average price for the quotes we had gathered per city and ranked cities in order of least to most expensive.

Please note: All figures represent the average hourly rate in GBP (£) as of May 2023.

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