What Is the Average Cost of a Divorce in 2020?

Divorce is often associated with much stress, especially when spouses own much property, have minor kids, and struggle to settle all their issues amicably. If a couple is involved in an uncontested divorce, meaning that they can reach an agreement regarding asset division, child custody, and other matters, the costs they will have to pay will be the lowest.

So, how expensive is divorce? – Sometimes, divorce-related expenses can be limited only to the costs of divorce papers and the fees one pays when the documents are filed and served on another party. In this case, a divorce price may range between $100 (in Mississippi) and $485 (in California), depending on the state where one files. However, if one cannot go without legal help, then he or she will have to pay around $1.000 additionally.

When it comes to a contested case, the average divorce costs are substantially higher. This is mainly because such cases usually require a lot of complicated paperwork, may involve mediation, and spouses often end up in long-term court battles with expensive lawyers representing them in court. In this case, each party pays an average of $15.000 including things like court costs, attorney’s fees, mediation costs, etc. How much one will pay in the long run depends on the amount of time a divorce proceeding goes on. If the case goes to trial, legal costs may skyrocket up to $20.000 or higher for each party.

Since mediation may be required in some cases, divorcing spouses may face extra costs. So, how much does it cost to get a divorce that involves mediation? – The average cost of a mediated divorce may rise to $10.000 with the average hourly rate ranging between $100 and $300.

Calculating the average cost of divorce in 2020

Divorce Filing Fees

When one files divorce documents either for a contested or uncontested divorce, he or she must pay court fees for divorce, including filing fees. While these legal fees greatly vary from state to state or even from county to county, they usually range from $50 to $450. California, Florida, and Louisiana lead the pack with the highest fees rising to $435 and higher throughout the country. North Dakota, Wyoming, and Mississippi are found on the cheapest side with their $80, $70, and $50 fees respectively.  

Average Cost of a Divorce Lawyer

So, how much does a divorce lawyer cost? – Attorneys usually charge an hourly rate which, however, may range between $150 and $350, depending on the state, complexity of the case, and professional skills of the attorney. Given the said, the average divorce attorney cost is $250 throughout the country. There is evidence indicating that an average divorcing couple spends almost $13.000 on legal fees down the road.

While most lawyers charge by the hour, there are still 4% of those who offer a flat fee. The latter one is usually offered for simple uncontested cases, which usually involve routine matters that can be resolved out of court.

When retaining a lawyer, a retainer fee must be paid, too. Without the payment, no lawyer will conduct any legal work. A standard retainer fee is $1.500 and it is usually applied to a total bill when the case is finalized. Besides, while most law firms offer initial consultations for free, others may charge a lawyer consultation fee of up to $100 per hour, which adds to total legal costs.

Average Lawyer Fees for a Divorce by Mutual Consent

So, how much does an attorney charge for an uncontested divorce? – When it comes to particularly easy cases, one can find a lawyer who will charge either an hourly fee of $100 or a fixed one of $1.000 for drafting a settlement agreement. One can reduce lawyer costs if he or she hires a lawyer to perform only particular tasks. Let us say, lawyers charge for literally everything, including phone calls, emails, legal research, paperwork, etc. Therefore, sometimes it makes sense to retain a professional just for reviewing divorce documents, for example. If a case goes to trial, legal costs may go up significantly. That is why many couples strive to resolve their disputes out of court.

How Much is a Divorce Without Lawyers?

When spouses start a mutual consent divorce and decide to go without professional legal support, their divorce may cost them a few hundred dollars. But why does a no fault divorce cost less than a contested one and how much does it cost to get a divorce if both parties agree? – When spouses can agree, they are allowed to develop their settlement agreement without an attorney. In this case, their total mutual divorce cost will include only court fees and the costs of their paperwork if they decide to use online paper prep services.

On cheap-divorce-online.com, we charge a low price for the preparation of divorce packets that meet the requirements of every state where one can file. The prepared documents along with free instructions on how to file those papers are sent to our clients within a few business days so that they can have a fast, yet cheap divorce easily.