In the run up to the festive period, BLM's Private Wealth practice will share a series of blogs demystifying elements of the legal process impacting individuals and families seeking legal remedies.

In this, the sixth in our #12DaysOfChristmas #12DaysOfFamilyLaw blog series BLM answers the question often posed by clients....


The approaching festive period can put further strain on an already emotionally-charged couple who have already decided that divorce is an option for them.

We try here to give some pointers on how much divorce costs. With divorce rates spiking after Christmas, those who are considering divorce will be weighing up the costs now.

The cost of a divorce, as expected, is highly specific to each case. An easy place to start is that, regardless of the specifics, there will always be court fees.

In Scotland there are various grounds under which your divorce may be sought:

  • The parties have been separated for 1 year and they both consent to the divorce;
  • The parties have been separated for 2 years;
  • One person’s unreasonable behaviour; or
  • One person’s adultery.

There are two methods for applying for a divorce which may be used in the appropriate circumstances.

Simplified Procedure

The first method is Simplified Procedure. This can be used if divorce is sought on the grounds of one of the two periods of separation but only if there are no children under the age of 16 years and no financial orders are sought.

The current Sheriff Court fee for starting a divorce under this procedure is £128. If the court papers need to be served by Sheriff Officers there will also be an administrative fee of £13 plus the Sheriff Officer’s fee.

Ordinary Procedure

It you cannot use the Simplified Procedure then divorce may be sought using Ordinary Procedure. This involves an Initial Writ being lodged with the court setting out the written case and orders sought. Under this procedure, divorce may be sought on any of the grounds of divorce set out above.

The current fee for lodging an Initial Writ in the Sheriff Court is £159. If you were seeking to defend such an action there would be a fee of £159 to lodge a Notice of Intention to Defend.

If the divorce is not defended, the pursuer (the person raising the action) will need to lodge affidavits (sworn statements) providing evidence for the particular ground of divorce and on any children of the marriage. The affidavits will also need to support any financial orders are sought. The fee for lodging the affidavits with the Minute for Decree (asking the Court to grant divorce) in the Sheriff Court is currently £70.


Even if parties have reached an out-of-court agreement on finances and child arrangements they will still incur a fee for lodging a divorce action. However, if matters are agreed this will reduce the length and overall costs of the court proceedings.

The level of legal fees charged by the lawyer for their work will depend on various factors, such as the hourly rate charged by the lawyer which may depend on their level of experience, the urgency or complexity of the case, the way in which the case develops, and the stage at which settlement is achieved.

In addition to court fees, other outlays are often incurred in divorce cases especially where financial matters are in dispute. Typical outlays include:

  • Valuation fees for the matrimonial home, other properties and particular assets;
  • Pension expert report fees;
  • Independent financial advisers’ fees; and, in complex cases
  • Advocate’s fees.

Please feel free to get in touch with us if you wish to discuss the likely cost of any particular divorce or any other family law case.

To read the previous blogs in our 12 Days of Christmas series, please click on the links below:

Day 1: Self-care tips during a divorce

Day 2: Why you need a Will

Day 3: Full financial disclosure: England & WalesScotland

Day 4: Are pre-nuptial agreements legally binding?

Day 5: Christmas bubbles and childcare arrangements during the COVID-19 crisis: England & Wales; Scotland

Disclaimer: This content does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to clients of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.

Who to contact


Partner and Head of Family Law, Scotland , Glasgow

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