Divorce can cost more than wedding rings.
Divorce can cost more than wedding rings. Scott Powick

Breaking up is hard - and expensive - to do

BREAKING up is never easy, but it can also end up being very expensive.

A Sunshine Coast man found out just how much his divorce cost this week when he lost his appeal against the final $60,600 bill he got from his lawyer.

Now the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, will have to pay the $60,600 plus the thousands of dollars in costs associated with the appeal case.

STO Law's Leisa Toomey said most divorce cases didn't end up costing anywhere near as much as most were settled quickly.

Of the 10,000 to 12,000 applications filed in Queensland each year, only about five per cent ended up going to court.

While she declined to estimate a standard cost of a simple divorce, another lawyer has suggested the figure was around $4000 to $5000 each.

"Every divorce is different," Ms Toomey said.

"It is very difficult to give an estimate what a matter will cost. What we can say is this: the more people argue the more it costs.

"Litigation in the Family Court is very expensive as it is very labour intensive.

"It works on affidavit evidence, everything has to be in writing.

"You need to have sourced documentation to back up what you are saying and this a a labour intensive process which in itself means it costs a lot of money."

While it isn't essential to hire a lawyer in a divorce case, it is advisable when complex issues are involved.

"Parties can actually use mediation services to assist them," Ms Toomey said.

"But if there are complex issues they need legal advice to understand their rights.

"With domestic violence, there is a power and balance in the relationship.

"Lawyers assist parties in this to make sure there is a fair playing field."

She has had people come through her door, discover the costs and change their minds.

"It does happen sometimes. People come in for initial advice and then decide probably it is best to stay together and work on the relationship."

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