Ending a marriage is stressful enough without having to worry about the financial implications of the dissolution. “How much does it cost to get a divorce?” may not be the most pleasant question to ponder, but it is important to be realistic about the costs when preparing to divorce. For some, a divorce is a long, devastating, and incredibly expensive situation that makes a hard situation even more painful. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that way, though. There are several ways to approach a divorce, and ways that you can end your marriage with as little hassle and expense as possible.
How Much Does it Cost to Get a Divorce on Average?
In the United States, getting a divorce costs an average of $15,000. Of course, this varies wildly depending on the circumstances of the divorce, assets that become a part of the split, and whether there was any type of prenuptial agreement in place at the time of the marriage. You may find yourself facing residual expenses related to a divorce such as child support or alimony payments, or having to buy your former spouse out of certain assets like homes or businesses in order to maintain ownership. When going through a divorce it is important to focus not just on the amount of money that you are spending at the time of the actual split, but the future financial impact of any decisions made during this time.
Not all divorces are characterized by vicious fighting and drawn-out litigation. Rather, some are quick and easy as two people simply decide to part ways. In other circumstances, a divorce occurs when the parties have been separated for a long period and one is not present for the proceedings. These are referred to as uncontested divorces. When this happens one party files for the divorce and, if present, the other signs the papers. This does not require lawyers or court proceedings. The cost of this type of divorce is limited to the filing fees, which are usually only a few hundred dollars at the most. Uncontested divorce is the simplest and most hassle-free means of dissolving a union, but is not appropriate when there is a question of child custody, child support, shared assets, or alimony.
This is a very amicable form of divorce. Each spouse has an attorney and a “coach” or professional that is meant to support and advise the person. There will also be a financial specialist and a child specialist if there are children involved. These professionals help the spouses come to agreements regarding division of property and support payments. If you choose this type of divorce you will have to pay the hourly fees to each professional, but you will not have to pay court or filing fees.
Divorce is a straining time that is sure to bring up tension and difficult emotions. Spouses that are divorcing are likely to disagree about many issues, which sometimes leads to long litigation and bitterness. An alternative to going through this is to seek the services of a mediator. Mediators are impartial, and help the former couple to work through their conflicts so they can reach an agreement. This process is completely voluntary, and gives each party greater control over the outcome of the divorce without having to resort to attorneys and time in court. In this situation you will be responsible for paying the mediator, paying an attorney to go over the final agreement to ensure it is fair and binding, and the fees to file the actual divorce.
Mediation helps couples to reach a place where each feel satisfied without having to go through heated court sessions and potentially further hurting each other. This can also save both former spaces money and give each the opportunity to express in a safe environment their opinions and desires.
Asking “how much does it cost to get a divorce?” might indicate a certain anger or hurt. When this is the case the couple may find themselves unable to reach agreements through mediation or even collaboration. If this happens they must go to divorce court. The courts are where the most complicated, drawn-out, and expensive divorces occur. Beyond just divorce attorneys, both spouses will likely seek the advice and assistance of other experts that will help prove that their client should be favored in the proceedings. This may include child specialists, financial advisors, and character witnesses that will provide evidence to support a client’s desire for custody of children, continued ownership of a home or business, or claim for alimony. Aside from character witnesses, each of these professionals will need to be paid, and the clients are responsible for court fees and filing fees.
Regardless of the situation that you choose, a divorce attorney will be paid by the hour, and will charge an average of $150 per hour. Other professionals have similar fees, with the specialists charging more for their time. Fortunately, you will have the most contact with your attorney and will only need to pay specialists for shorter periods.
It can be a sad day when you start asking yourself, “how much does it cost to get a divorce?” but it can also be the first step toward a fresh start. Getting through the division with the most favorable outcome can take effort, but it is possible to end your marriage and still enjoy a new beginning.