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How Much Does It Cost To Get A Divorce

Getting a divorce is not an easy decision. The emotional aspect of a divorce alone can really take over during the decision-making process. Add this up to the financial matters of a divorce, everyone can really have great difficulty over pushing through with such decision.

Before you decide on getting a divorce, understand that this endeavor is not cheap. It can go even higher than what you have initially calculated it for. Here, read on and find out all costs involved when getting a divorce.

Typical Cost Of A Divorce

The cost of a divorce is usually dependent on what kind of divorce is taking place.

A simple or uncontested divorce can cost from $1,000 to $10,000.

A contested divorce, on the other hand, can start from $8,000 to $100,000 or even higher.

Included In The Price Of A Divorce

For a simple divorce, the price includes legal fees and disbursements. An uncontested divorce is an undefended divorce where there is no corollary relief claimed such as property support, custody matters, and other related matters.

A contested divorce, on the other hand, includes professional fees for the lawyer and accountant, court proceedings, and the preparation of all divorce-related documents. Take a look at the six stages of a complete contested divorce proceeding and how much each stage will cost you. Lawyer fees are calculated at $275 per hour, which is the average rate of lawyers per hour. On the other hand, accountant fees are calculated at $250 per hour.

STAGE

Inclusions

Cost

Pleadings
  • Preparation and filing of the petition for divorce or statement of claim/statement of defense
  • Lawyer (1-15 hours per pleading)
  • Accountant (1-3 hours per pleading)
$525 – $4,875
Financial Statements
  • Preparation of actual and budgeted costs of living
  • Documentation of weekly and monthly budgeted income (employment and investment income)
  • Listing of all assets and liabilities from the date of marriage until the date of marriage breakdown
  • Valuation of business
  • Accountant (1-25 hours)
  • Lawyer (1-5 hours)
$3,525 – $42,625
Motions
  • Preparation of documents/affidavits (lawyer: 3 to 20 hours)
  • Arguing motion in court (lawyer: 1-15 hours)
$1,100 – $11,625
Examinations
  • Preparation for examination such as reviewing the other side’s financial statement and preparing a list of questions (lawyer: 1 to 25 hours)
  • Cross-examination (lawyer 1/2 to 8 hours)
  • Accountant (2 to 8 hours)
$912.50 – $11,075
Case Conference
  • Lawyer’s preparation
  • Settlement of the dispute
  • Court fees
$1,075 – $7,275
Trial
  • Preparation (lawyer: one to two days)
  • Assistance of the accountant in preparing financial details and discussing strategy (accountant: minimum of one day)
  • Court time (2 hours to 3 weeks)
$1,050 – $55,125
TOTAL
  • All fees (lawyer, accountant, court, documentation)
$8,187 – $132,600
Source: DivorceMag.com

Factors That Affect The Price Of A Divorce

Agreement. If you and your spouse agree on a lot of things about the divorce, the less you will be spending for the divorce. This is true because if you have agreed on issues like child custody, child support, and division of property, there will be less expenses to spend on attorneys, court fees, and a lot of other legal fees.

Type of divorce. There are certain ways you can get divorced such as collaborative, mediated, no-lawyer, and adversarial. Bringing your divorce into the courts can be the most expensive way to get a divorce. On the other hand, a no-lawyer divorce can give you a lot of savings in the end. The same is true for a mediation divorce. This involves resolving the disputes with a mediator or an impartial third party who will help the couple in working out the issues until they reach a good settlement.

Lawyer. The fee you pay for the lawyer when processing a divorce takes up a big percentage of the total cost of getting a divorce. Hence, the fees being collected by the attorney of your choice will greatly affect the cost of the divorce. Getting experienced and reputable attorney can mean higher fees as compared to amateur ones. Some situations may not need the help of a lawyer, which can mean fewer expenses for the divorce.

Affair. If you and your spouse have complex affairs such as a lot of properties to deal with, the cost of getting a divorce usually goes up. This is true because you have to hire not only a lawyer but a certified public accountant as well as financial planners, insurance brokers, business valuators, bankers, and the like. Hiring them to deal with your complex affairs can make the cost of your divorce go higher and higher. Also, if you have a huge conflict between the two of you, you may need to hire a therapist so you can deal with the divorce smoothly. On the other hand, if your marriage has simple affairs with no things to fight over, there usually is a higher chance for you to spend less on the divorce.

Custody of children. Couples who do not have children usually spend less on a divorce. This is true because fighting over the custody of children may mean more work for the lawyer, getting psychiatric evaluations, and calling in expert witnesses in the court. All of these things can greatly increase the cost of getting divorced.

Location. The cost of a divorce is varied from state to state. This is true in terms of the difference in the cost of court filing fees, attorney’s fees, and the like.

Additional Costs

Child support can be an extra cost of getting divorced. This can go on for several years until your children reach the right age. The cost of a child support depends on the settlement as well as the current age of your children. Spousal support can be an added expense as well.

The cost of producing documents that will be needed by your lawyer and other professionals can be an extra expense when getting a divorce. For people who are working, the amount of time they need to spend working on the divorce can mean a lot of money already.

If you need counseling, you will likely need to pay around $70 per hour for a counselor. The emotional burden of a divorce can really bring a person down; hence, counseling is usually recommended.

There are a lot of other additional expenses that will follow even after the divorce has been settled. This includes finding a new home, moving, utility and telephone deposits, child care, and even replacement of items that were given to the spouse after the properties were divided.

how much does a divorce cost
Photo by Ed Yourdon

Tips Before You Decide To Get Divorced

Understand that a divorce does not come cheap. Hence, before deciding to get a divorce, make sure that the money you will be spending for it will be worth it over time. Also, as early as possible, evaluate whether you can afford a divorce or not.

If you have children, take note that they will carry the burden of the divorce as well. As much as possible, explain to them what’s happening. They may need counseling as well so they can go through this phase in their lives smoothly.

Know the specific divorce laws in your state. DivorceSupport.com will give you a lot of information on specific divorce laws per state.

If possible, open your communication lines with your spouse. Talk about the divorce and make the necessary agreements and settlements at peace. Doing so will help both of you save a lot of money in getting a divorce.

If you need a lawyer, make sure you get a reputable and experienced divorce lawyer. Your choice of lawyer will usually determine the kind of settlements you’ll have in the end and the amount of time the process will take. Aside from picking a lawyer who specializes in divorce, make sure you find someone who has a lot of experience in the same divorce situation as yours.

Work with your lawyer fully. If you make sure you attend to your lawyer’s needs and you try to help the lawyer as much as possible, his job will be easier and the shorter time he will need to finish his job. Cutting your lawyer’s time will help you save a lot of money in the end.