Going through a divorce will not only take its toll on your emotions, but also on your finances. The high costs associated with hiring a divorce attorney and losses you might incur when divvying up your property and assets with your ex can have a negative impact on your financial situation.
At the low end, a do-it-yourself divorce – with no attorney involved – will cost you several hundred dollars. At the other end of the spectrum, a more complicated divorce proceeding involving a qualified lawyer will costs thousands of dollars – if not tens of thousands of dollars.
According to Brette Sember, a family attorney and author of two books about divorce planning, many people are surprised to find out how much the divorce proceedings, attorney fees and other bills will end up costing them.
Sember says you can end up spending anywhere up to $50,000 or more when you take the case to court.
Here are some important things you need to know about the cost of a divorce:
Factors Involved in Calculating the Cost to Get a Divorce
If one spouse has not yet agreed to the divorce, the entire process can take much longer and may end up costing you more in attorney fees. Seek the advice of an experienced divorce attorney to determine what the best approach would be for getting a spouse’s agreement. If the other party is out of state or can’t be located, you may be responsible for covering the costs to find your future ex.
New Household Costs
Once you both start living separately, you’re going to be dealing with double expenses until your accounts are no longer joined. Not all couples can afford to maintain separate places of residence, but those who do end up paying extra for living expenses. This is part of the divorce process and can be a difficult cost to minimize.
Overall Attorney’s Fees
The costs of litigation to get a divorce can be incredibly high. Attorneys fees may range of from a low of $100 an hour to more than $500 an hour, depending on the part of the country in which you live and the lawyer’s expertise. This is one reason to try to avoid a long, drawn out trial: it will surely drive your attorney’s fees through the roof. When a divorce case doesn’t have to go to trial, the couple works with a neutral third party mediator or via their own attorneys to make those important decisions about how to best handle the estate, assets and all legal matters involved with the separation.
Hidden Costs of Divorce
In addition to your attorney fees and other costs associated with a marital breakup, you’ll need to account for some of the hidden costs get a divorce. A new study featured in The Wall Street Journal suggests that parents’ contributions to college costs fall after a divorce because divorced parents can only meet 42% of the children’s financial needs. If you’re headed for divorce with kids in the picture, make sure you’re well-prepared to manage the costs of education after high school and pay your fair share of child support.
Filing and Court Fees to Get a Divorce
Even if you forgo hiring an attorney, and opt for a “do-it-yourself” divorce, you still have to pay required court costs and filing fees to get your divorced legally processed in the state where you reside. Such costs are set by each county, and can range between $100 to $400 or so. Your paperwork and overall filing fees may also vary based on whether you file for a fault or “no fault” divorce, whether you have substantial assets or no assets to divide, and whether or not there are children involved.