Direct and Indirect Costs of Divorce
The answer to the question “how much does a divorce cost” is so variable, that there is no real standard answer. However, according to Forbes.com, the average cost of a divorce is $15,000, driven largely by the costs of legal representation. Many couples are choosing to forego hiring a lawyer and try to work out an agreement together to reach consensus about division of property, child custody, etc. These couples have found CompleteCase.com to be a low stress, low cost way of completing the divorce process themselves.
In addition to the monetary costs associated with divorce, couples need to factor in the cost of their time and emotional burden. In fact, these “indirect costs” may be more taxing on many than the actual money itself.
What are the direct costs of a divorce?
The fact is that the price of divorce varies widely from state to state. The direct costs usually include:
Attorney fees for divorce: You will likely have to pay a retainer for a lawyer who will draw from that as payment. Attorneys will either charge an hourly rate or a flat fee. For an hourly rate, your attorney should be able to give you a rough estimate of the total fees based on the specifics of your divorce.
Hourly divorce lawyer rates can range from $50/hour to over $1000/hour. The cost of divorce using a lawyer is not cheap! If your case goes to a trial, the cost of your divorce will escalate rapidly, and one spouse could be required to cover the other’s expenses depending on the final court determined settlement. Your attorney will also charge you for time spent on documentation, correspondence, fees, and travel.
Mediation fees for divorce: Couples who need third party assistance reaching a settlement and want to avoid the costs associated with lawyers or a trial often seek mediation. Divorce mediators are generally less expensive than attorneys. A mediator in private practice may charge by the hour, or a flat fee ranging from $100/hour and up.
For people who qualify, there are community organizations that provide mediation for free or for a reduced fee.
Court fees and costs for divorce: These vary widely by jurisdiction. Every state requires that a couple file for divorce with the courts. Costs for filing can range anywhere from $100 to several hundred, in addition to fees for individual forms (adoption, property, etc.) which can really add up during a contested divorce. Indigent parties may be able to get these divorce costs waived.
Many experts warn against going to court too quickly as this will make the case longer and more complicated.
Other costs of divorce: The other monetary costs incurred by people going through a divorce include things most people don’t think about, including: cost of time off from work, babysitter fees for children, and costs of finding a new living arrangement.
Indirect costs of divorce
The costs we have presented here are pretty general and don’t address issues that come up in contested divorces. Contested divorces are usually much longer and more expensive. They can involve custody battles, alimony agreements, and division of assets. These are highly emotional topics that tend to include fees other than just the attorney’s fee, including psychiatric evaluations, additional court fees and financial analysts.
For everyone’s sake, if possible, an uncontested divorce is the way to go. CompleteCase.com enables couples to complete necessary forms depending on their state of residence with the peace of mind that the process has been vetted and used successfully by over a million people.