How Much Will Divorce Cost Me? – The Financial Cost of Divorce
One of the biggest questions that come with any divorce is “How much will divorce cost?” The answer can depend on numerous things, including the type of divorce you’ll go through, whether you have kids involved, hiring a lawyer and their specific charges, the property and debt that will need to be divided between the two parties, etc. To understand how much it will cost, first, it is important to understand the different types of divorce. Keep in mind that there are many, and below are just a few common types.
This is also considered an expedited divorce and is commonly available to couples that haven’t been married for a long time, typically five years or less. These couples don’t own a lot of property, don’t have children, nor a significant amount of joint debt. Both parties must agree upon the divorce, and the court papers should also be filed jointly. This divorce doesn’t involve a lot of paperwork, especially when compared to other types.
This type of divorce involves working with lawyers that are specifically trained for this method of divorce. Each spouse will hire their lawyer, and each will be obligated to work cooperatively to settle the case. The spouses will each agree to disclose the necessary information to have fair negotiations and meet with each other and both lawyers as often as needed to reach a settlement.
If the divorce doesn’t get settled through the collaborative process, everyone must agree that the original attorneys will withdraw from the case, and the spouses will hire new attorneys to take the case to court. This is to ensure that the participants are acting in good faith.
In this kind of divorce, you and your spouse will settle all your differences on issues up-front. These can include child custody and visitation or, in other words, parenting time, child support, division of property, alimony, etc. A written separation agreement will then be made with all the terms.
After settling the case, you’ll then be able to file for divorce with the court. In most situations, these cases are fast-tracked, so you might not have to wait a long time, and in some states, you won’t even be required to make a court appearance. Instead, you’ll need an affidavit.
When you and your spouse can’t agree on the marital issues, a judge will have to decide on each one of them for you in a Contested Divorce. These can be time-consuming, stressful, and can quickly escalate the cost of divorce. There will likely be a court trial if the case can’t be resolved through mandatory settlement negotiations and other hearings.
If you’ve filed for divorce and your spouse doesn’t respond, this is referred to as a Default Divorce. If you’ve complied with the rules and regulations of the court, a judge can grant the divorce even though your spouse hasn’t participated. While it seems simple, it’s not always the case.
The Average Cost of Divorce
While many people ask themselves, “how much will divorce cost?” there’s not always a clear answer since each case is different. However, the overall national average is around $15,000 per person. This cost factors in attorney fees, court costs, and also hiring outside experts such as a child custody evaluator, tax advisor, or real estate appraiser.
It’s also important to point out that the time involved in the divorce process is a big part of determining the cost. The average divorce will take anywhere between 4 and 11 months to settle. If trials are necessary, it can take more than a year, quickly elevating the cost.
The Factors That Can Impact the Cost of Divorce
Similar to the average cost of divorce, this question doesn’t have a straightforward answer. The cost can vary on numerous factors, including whether you and your spouse agree on specific things, whether you or your spouse want to use an attorney, etc. The following are factors that can affect the average cost:
● The hourly rate of lawyers vs. paying a retainer fee
● If it’s a contested or uncontested divorce
● The location of the divorce – where it’s filed and the local filing fees
● Child custody and evaluation
In cases of mutual divorce, where you and your spouse agree on major issues, you can file an uncontested divorce which is often the least expensive one. This could cost you under $500 if you were to write and file your divorce papers. However, a precise cost isn’t predictable because every state charges fees for filing for divorce, regardless of the kind of divorce you’re filing for. Some states will also grant the filer a waiver on the filing fees based on their income.
Aside from the standard cost of divorce, there might also be other expenses that you’ll have to account for. Here are some that you can consider:
● Divorce Mediation Costs – mediators can help the couple resolve contested issues without going to trial.
● Refinancing Loans – refinancing a loan into one spouse’s name can cost several thousand dollars based on the type and amount of the loan. These loans can include a mortgage or car loan. In some cases, personal loans can also be refinanced into the other spouse’s name.
● Relocation Expenses – either one or both spouses might be required to move during or after the divorce. This can quickly accumulate quite a few moving costs.
● Family Therapy – Therapy can be essential for you or your children. The cost of each session can vary but are on average between $75 and $200 per session.
In some situations, you won’t have to wonder how much will divorce cost, and you’ll be able to complete the process in a simple and low-cost manner. However, in some other cases and situations can’t be avoided, which can quickly increase the cost.
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