The question of cost for divorce cases is by far one of the most common questions potential divorce clients have. Truthfully, the legal expenses for a divorce can be so variable that divorces can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $200,000.
In an ideal world, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse would be able to resolve disputes without the involvement of lawyers. When you focus on starting fresh and arriving at a resolution without contention, you can keep your costs lower. However, a divorce will almost always cost you something in most cases (it’s very rare that courts waive divorce filing fees) and anticipating those costs can help you and your spouse plan appropriately.
What Expenses Are Involved in a Divorce?
While attorney fees are a significant chunk of the cost of a divorce, they aren’t the only expense to anticipate. There are additional costs that both parties in a divorce will have to absorb. Common expenses in a divorce may include:
- Court fees
- Changes in insurance
- Moving expenses
- Filing fees
- Child support and alimony during the court proceedings
- Therapy for divorcing parents and the affected children
- Parenting classes or mandated counseling
- Supervised visitation costs
- Rent for an apartment or a place to stay during the divorce
- Fees from accountants or financial advisors for court document preparation
In addition to the aforementioned expenses, there may be a number of other costs couples may incur during a divorce. For instance, transportation costs may need to be considered to and from the courthouse for those without reliable transportation. You may have to refinance your car loan if your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s name is on the title. Having to separate a phone plan or separate any other monthly subscription plans for other monthly services should also be taken into account when factoring costs.
Factors that Influence the Cost of a Divorce
There are a number of factors that can influence the cost of a divorce case. The overarching theme of costs in relation to divorce is that disagreements are expensive. The level of animosity and complexity in the case are probably the biggest determining factors that raise the cost to a different level.
PROPERTY DIVISION FIGHTS
If you and your spouse can’t agree on the division of property, then division of property will likely be decided by the court after a trial. The more property there is to divide, the more the divorce is likely to cost.
High-net worth couples typically pay the highest rates for divorce, because tax experts, appraisers, and financial advisors usually have to be brought in to analyze the numerous real estate assets, cars, retirement accounts, saving accounts, etc.
SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE DISPUTES
When it comes to spousal maintenance, there are often disputes revolving around how much the working spouse earns and how much the non-working spouse could stand to earn. When these disputes arise, financial experts and/or vocational analysts may be brought in to conduct investigations and offer opinions. Naturally, hiring these professionals adds additional costs to the final divorce amount.
HAVING MINOR CHILDREN
Divorces with children are simply more complex and require more of an attorney’s time. Disputes involving children typically revolve around the issues of child custody and child support.
Similar to spousal maintenance disputes, when disputes revolve around child support, financial experts and/or vocational analysts may need to be brought in. Custody battles may require a child custody evaluation, which costs additional money. A psychological evaluation may also be needed if claims of mental instability or neglect are made.
ADEQUATE LEGAL REPRESENTATION (OR LACK THEREOF)
While hiring a good lawyer usually means paying higher legal fees, hiring an experienced divorce attorney can save you a considerable amount of money in the long-run. An experienced and qualified lawyer can help you settle faster and with more favorable terms.
How to Reduce the Cost of a Divorce
There is one thing every divorcing couple can do to reduce the cost of a divorce: resolve as many issues as possible outside of the courtroom. Emotions tend to derail negotiations and there are many emotions that can come into play during a divorce (anger, guilt, jealousy, sadness). You don’t want to be emotional about it – you want to be business-like. You want to be focused on having a resolution that will serve as a fresh start. Keep that goal in mind as you approach resolving disputes with your spouse. It’s okay if you can’t come to an agreement on every aspect of a divorce, but the more you can agree on, the less you’ll have to pay in the end.
Burnham Law is Available to Help
If you’re contemplating divorce, the divorce attorneys at Burnham Law are available to assist you. Our attorneys can help you understand the costs you may face and provide you with an overview of the divorce process and your legal rights. Call (303) 647-9767 or fill out a contact form to schedule an initial consultation