In the United States, about 40-50% of married couples end up getting divorced. For people who have been married several times, the divorce rate is even higher.
Divorces can be fairly simple in some instances and incredibly complicated in others. A number of things can complicate a divorce, including contested issues, high net worth, complex finances, children, and more.
You often hear people talking about divorce being expensive, but how much does divorce cost, really?
Let’s take a look at what you need to know.
How Much Does Divorce Cost on Average?
There are a lot of different factors that contribute to how much you’ll pay in total for a divorce. This has to do with whether you hire a divorce mediator, whether you’re looking at an uncontested or a contested divorce, the specific law firm you use, and more.
The cost of getting divorced can also vary depending on where you are in the country.
All that being said, the average cost of getting a divorce is $12,900. The median cost for the nation is a bit lower at $7,500.
If a divorce proceeding involves disputes over child custody, child support, and alimony, the average cost is much higher. Additionally, divorces that end up going to court for at least two different issues cost an average of $23,300.
When a full-scope divorce attorney is involved, the average cost per spouse is $11,300 and the median cost per spouse is $7000.
The filing fees cover a pretty wide range between different U.S. states. For example, the filing fee in North Carolina is $75, while it costs $435 in California.
Getting a Divorce: What Are the Costs?
Getting an uncontested divorce doesn’t have to be a huge dent out of your wallet, but contested divorces can get pricey very quickly. This typically includes court costs, attorney’s fees, and other expenses, making it so there’s a chance you could spend over $10,000.
Average Attorney Fees
Hiring a lawyer might be necessary in order to protect your rights when it comes to the division of marital property, custody, and support. However, it can also make divorce significantly more expensive.
The hourly rate for hiring a divorce lawyer can vary, but the average is around $270 an hour. Some lawyers might cost $100 an hour, and others might cost $400 or more per hour.
Attorney’s fees climb higher the more complicated a divorces. This is particularly true if a divorce has to go to trial or if the proceedings take a long time. You can sometimes find a lawyer who offers a flat fee, while others might charge a retainer.
According to one study, average attorney fees paid in an uncontested divorce were $4100. For cases where there was a dispute but it was resolved outside of court, the average is $10,400. When divorce proceedings have to go to trial, the average attorney’s fees were $17,700.
How long your divorce lasts will impact how much it costs. In divorces that were finished in fewer than six months, the average cost of attorney fees was $6500. However, in cases where the proceedings lasted more than 30 months, the average attorney fees were $23000.
Court Filing Fees
You must pay a filing fee to the court in order for them to dissolve your marriage legally. It costs different amounts of money in different states in order to cover these filing fees. Some states have one flat fee that covers everything, while other states require several additional fees based on the exact requirements of your case.
Other Miscellaneous Fees
There can be other expenses associated with divorce beyond attorneys fees and court filing fees. Some of these might include:
- Divorce mediation costs: The average cost for hiring a mediator is $970
- Refinancing loans into one spouse’s name: It can cost several thousand dollars to refinance depending on the size and type of loan
- Forensic accountants: Hiring someone to find assets your spouse might be hiding can cost several thousand dollars in a deposit and maybe even more
- Family therapy: It typically costs between $75 and $200 a session to get family therapy for you or your child
- Relocation expenses: Moving locally can cost over $2,000 and a cross-country relocation is even more expensive
There are also some long-term costs to consider. It can impact your retirement savings, access to spousal benefits, and overall financial health and wealth.
How Long Does the Divorce Process Take?
On average, the divorce process takes 12 months. For people who end up going to trial in order to deal with at least one contested issue, the average extends to 18 months.
You will pay more attorney fees and probably more court fees when you go to trial. Basically, the less complicated the divorce and the more amicable it is, the quicker and cheaper it can be.
Filing For Divorce: Is Divorce the Right Choice For You?
Deciding to end a marriage is a big decision that will change the course of both you and your spouse’s life. That being said, sometimes it is the best way for both people to move forward into the future.
There are a number of things that you can try before pulling the plug, though. If you love your partner but you are just experiencing some bumps in the road, consider implementing some new behaviors and habits to work towards bettering the relationship.
This can include things like making time every day to connect with your spouse lovingly and trying harder to understand the way that your spouse wants to be loved as well as the way you want to be loved. If you feel you’ve been growing apart, try to spend more time together and do things together more often.
When you see the answer to “how much does divorce cost?” it can make the reality of the financial cost of divorce very real. If you found this article detailing the cost of divorce helpful, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more articles on relationships, family, and life!