The Cost of Getting a Divorce

Whether a divorce is combative or friendly depends a lot on the couple. The cost of getting a divorce is also dependent on how collegial the spouses are, though there are some costs that aren’t going to change no matter how nice they are to each other.

Divorce costs depend on a number of factors. These include where you live, the attorney you hire, the number of issues to resolve and how combative the spouses are, among other things.

Some attorneys or divorce assistance services charge by the hour, while others may charge a flat rate. Usually, the longer a divorce takes to complete, the more money it costs.

Hourly rates

Working with a family law attorney can be helpful during a divorce. Even if the divorce is amicable, at attorney can help get through the legal issues more easily and quickly.

Hourly rates are common among attorneys. A typical hourly rate for divorce attorneys is $250. This includes divorce attorneys who provide full representation in a case and handle every issue, down to partial representation such as help with alimony or child custody but not division of property.

Consulting attorneys who provide advice or prepare documents as needed but don’t represent the client may also charge $250 or so per hour.

There are also some divorce attorneys charging as little as $50 per hour or as much as $400 to $650 per hour.

Factors of divorce cost

There are many costs beside attorney fees that go into a divorce. These can include:

  • Court fees
  • Hiring real estate appraiser
  • Tax advisor
  • Child custody evaluator
  • Other experts

There are also many types of attorney representation that can alter the cost of a divorce. These include limited-scope representation, consulting only, collaborative law and full-scope representation.

The more issues that go to trial, the more a divorce will cost. They can include:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Alimony or spousal support
  • Division of property
  • Division of debts
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Claims for reimbursement
  • Claims for breach of fiduciary duty

The cost of a divorce

Going to trial in a divorce can cost about $20,000, with about three-quarters of that going to attorney’s fees.

Settling a divorce without a trial can lower the cost to about $15,000, with the same percentage of 75 percent still going toward attorney’s fees.

How long a divorce takes to complete can largely determine the cost of a divorce. An amicable divorce can take about nine months to resolve, while going to trial can take a year and a half to resolve.

A long case can lead both sides to be unhappy, both with the extra costs and squabbling that can happen during a lengthy divorce.

However you decide to deal with a divorce — hard-nosed, amicable or somewhere in between — you should know ahead of time that the more issues you have to resolve, the more money it will likely cause you.


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