There is no simple rule that decides who pays for a divorce.
It depends on various factors, some of which include things like:
For non-fault based divorces – e.g. 2 years separation with consent – it is not unusual for spouses to split the fees (we’ll talk about fault-based/non-fault based divorce grounds later).
If your ground for divorce is fault-based (e.g. your partner has committed adultery), you are more likely to be awarded costs. But for this to be successful, you will need to be able to prove that the adultery took place (which isn’t always straightforward).
Sometimes a spouse who has received a divorce petition will make a tactical move – they will agree to consent to the divorce, but only if the petitioner pays for it.
If an agreement can’t be reached with your former spouse about who is going to pay, it’s possible to ask the court to rule on costs (but you have no guarantees about what the court will decide).
Whether you are the person who is applying for the divorce, or you are the person who is on the receiving end of one, you should always be mindful of how much the divorce is going to cost you.
It’s not unheard of for people to go through a whole divorce thinking that the other person is paying for everything – only to get a shock when a large bill comes through the letterbox!
And by the time this happens, it’s usually too late to do anything about it.
So be sure to nail down the issue of divorce costs early on.
Always find out how much things are going to cost, and crucially, who’s paying.