How Much is the Average Divorce Cost?
The national average divorce cost is about $20,000 per person. The cost includes attorneys’ fees, court costs, and the cost of hiring outside experts like a tax adviser, child custody evaluator, or real estate appraiser. The time involved is what often determines the cost. For instance, the average divorce cost takes between four months and 11 months. And if a trial is necessary, it can take more than a year.
What Factors Impact the Average Divorce Cost?
Just like whether to divorce or not, the average divorce cost is not an easy question to answer. The costs depend on a variety of factors – whether or not you or your spouse agree on specific things, and if you or your spouse require or want to use an attorney.
Factors Affecting the Average Cost Divorce include:
- If the divorce is contested or uncontested;
- The hourly rate of lawyers versus a retainer fee;
- The location where the divorce is being filed, and the local filing fees;
- Child custody;
- Child custody evaluation;
- Child support;
- Spousal support or alimony; and,
- Property division.
One of the first things to realize is that a divorce is, technically, a lawsuit. When one spouse files a divorce, they are suing for divorce.
The Average Divorce Cost Without a Lawyer
The charge for the divorce filing fee is $435. When you hire a lawyer, these fees are usually part of the lawyer’s retainer.
The Average Divorce Cost with a Lawyer
If there are significant assets to divide, or child custody, child support or alimony to decide, both parties usually benefit by hiring an attorney. Using a lawyer, of course, increases the average divorce cost. With a lawyer, the cost of your divorce will depend on how much time your lawyer spends handling your divorce. Lawyer fees are billed by the hour and the rates vary. In California, lawyers are allowed to bill in increments. Lawyers charge for phone calls, emails, text messages, court preparation, depositions (questioning others on the record), discovery (getting information from your spouse’s lawyer related to your case), paper preparation and review, and research.
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