LEGAL GUIDE
Written by Avvo Staff

How much does a divorce cost

The cost of filing a divorce depends on your state’s laws and the services that you need.

A divorce can be expensive depending on the needs of your case.

However, in many instances an online divorce is much cheaper and much faster to complete.

While every state requires varying amounts of fees. The biggest cost factor in a divorce is how much an attorney will charge. If you are able to settle your divorce outside of court, your total cost may be as little as a few thousand dollars. But, if your divorce goes to court you might spend an average of $15,000. The actual cost of filing for divorce varies from case to case.

To see how much your divorce might cost, use the Avvo divorce and alimony calculator.

Review what contributes to an expensive or relatively cheap divorce to get an idea of how much you may need to spend.

Paperwork fees

County or state courts usually handle divorce proceedings, and have varying filing fees. The most basic divorce paperwork includes a divorce petition and service of process. The divorce petition is what begins the divorce, and service of process is what notifies your spouse that you have filed for a divorce.

The typical cost to file a divorce petition is around $300, and service of process is around $50.

You should also consider the cost of a settlement agreement, which is an agreed-upon amount between you and your spouse instead of going to trial.

Lawyer fees

How much a divorce lawyer charges will vary based on the attorney’s location and experience. Often, lawyers will charge less if they are less experienced in divorce matters, but may charge more if they are the only attorney providing divorce services in the area.

Attorneys can charge an hourly rate or a flat rate. Hourly rates are typically around $250 per hour, but range from $50 to $650 per hour. Flat rates usually run at a few thousand dollars for all of the lawyer’s services, regardless of hours worked. Sometimes attorneys will charge a flat rate per contested issue, meaning per issue that the parties disagree upon, rather than charging a flat rate for all services.

In general though, divorce attorneys charge by the type of divorce services rendered. The services that you need depend on your specific situation. Services that divorce lawyers offer include consultation; reviewing settlement agreements and other paperwork; negotiating alimony, child support, child custody, and marital property disputes; or representing you at all stages and with all issues of the case.

Factors that influence the cost of divorce

Factors that can make your divorce cost more:

  • Being married for many years
  • Jointly owning property
  • Having shared finances
  • Disagreeing on issues pertaining to the divorce
  • Having children together

Factors that can make your divorce less expensive:

  • Not being married for very long
  • Having an amicable separation
  • Having no shared assets
  • Having no children

How to lower the cost

To make your divorce cost less, try speaking with your spouse about the issues in the divorce before hiring an attorney or even starting divorce proceedings. The fewer contested issues (issues you disagree on), the less time an attorney will need to spend on your case.

It helps to make as many decisions outside of court as possible. Cases that settle cost less than cases that go to trial. The more issues that the court hears, the more expensive your divorce will become when you add up additional filing fees and the attorney’s time.

Because the cost of getting a divorce varies based on your specific situation, consulting with a divorce attorney will help you more accurately predict how much your divorce will cost.

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