September 6, 2019

Average Cost of Divorce

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There's one thing even feuding couples can agree on—divorce isn't cheap. Learn just how much a divorce may cost you.

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Divorce by the Numbers

What is the average cost of divorce?
The average couple spends $15,000 to get divorced. Most of that money is spent on attorney fees, which can vary. The more time an attorney has to spend on your case, the more the divorce will cost.

What is the average cost of divorce without children?
The average cost to divorce when no children are involved is $12,500. But actual prices may range between $5,000 and $31,000.

The average cost of a trial is $23,500, of which $16,500 covers attorney fees. That means going to trial increases costs by 88%.

What's the average cost of divorce without children that settles before trial?
The average divorce without children settling before court costs $7,100. About 74% of divorces without children are able to settle outside of court.

How long does the average divorce without children take?
Divorcing without children involved takes approximately 10.6 months to complete. Factors affecting the timeline include:

FactorTimeline Impact
Dividing PropertyIncreases average time to 10.9 months
Settling AlimonyIncreases the average time to 11.2 months
Trial DivorceIncreases average time to 16.8 months

Can you get a divorce without a lawyer?
Having a lawyer is not required by law. You may be able to use a mediator to avoid the expense. However, if you have children or marital assets, a lawyer ensures your rights are protected.

What is the average cost of divorce with children?
The average cost of divorce with children involved is $19,200 and may range between $14,000 and $25,000. That's 53% higher than a divorce without children.

What's the average cost of divorce without children that goes to trial?
The average cost of a trial divorce is $22,500, an increase of 17% over a non-trial divorce.

How long does the average divorce with children take?
Divorcing with children is a longer process than a divorce without children. Factors that prolong the time frame include:

FactorTimeline Impact
Dividing PropertyIncreases average time by 1 month
Settling AlimonyIncreases average time by 1 month
Trial DivorceIncreases average time by 6 months

How much is the average cost of divorce if both parties agree?
You may be able to get an uncontested divorce for as little as $500 if you don't use an attorney.

Some attorneys offer a flat-fee divorce rate for uncontested divorces. The average cost is $1,500. If you have an attorney, expect to pay between $250 and $450 per hour of work.

Breakdown of the Costs of Divorce

Divorce is like an expensive fight. You have to pay lawyers, courts, and mediators to work on your behalf. The longer the "fight" drags out, the more expensive it becomes.

Read on to learn more.

What are the top factors that affect the cost of divorce?
The top factors affecting the cost of divorce include:

  • Attorney's hourly rate
  • Hours the attorney works
  • Number of court dates you have
  • Mediator costs, if applicable
  • Whether or not minor children are involved
  • The amount and type of assets being divided

What is the average cost of a divorce attorney?
On average, a divorce attorney costs $10,000, with actual costs ranging between $9,000 and $14,000.

What is the typical hourly rate for a divorce attorney?
The average divorce attorney charges $250.00 per hour. High profile attorneys charge as much as $650.00 per hour.

What is the average divorce filing fee?
The average divorce filing fee is $150. This covers the cost to file the divorce with the court (uncontested).

Which state has the highest court filing fee?
The following states are the costliest to file for divorce:

  • California: $435.00
  • Florida: $397.50
  • Pennsylvania: $378.50
  • Minnesota: $365.00
  • Connecticut: $350.00

Who pays for a divorce?
Typically, each spouse pays his or her own legal fees during a divorce. The exception to the rule exists if one spouse earns much more than the other.

In this case, the court may order the wealthier spouse to pay the attorney fees and associated costs of the other spouse.

Is It Possible to Get a Free Divorce?
You may be eligible to get a free divorce if you meet the income requirements for your county. Typically, you can download the fee waiver forms online from your local family court. If you don't have access to the online forms, you can visit the courthouse in person.

Along with the completed forms, you must provide proof of your income and assets. This may mean providing your paystubs, tax returns, and asset statements. If approved, you can then file for an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse don't agree on the terms of the divorce, though, you may still incur attorney fees.

Bottom Line

The complexity of the situation, the state in which you live, and the attorney that you choose all determine how much you will pay for a divorce.

While certain divorce fees can't be avoided, you can minimize costs by:

  • Settling issues outside of court
  • Using your attorney for legal matters, not as a counselor
  • Being honest and upfront with your attorney to save time
  • Embrace the mediation process

Write to Kim P at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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