How Much Does the Divorce Process Cost?

The divorce process can be long and complicated or simple.

While no two divorces are identical, and how much it costs to get a divorce varies from case to case, you can get an idea of what costs are involved in your divorce before you or your spouse files. The divorce process can be long and complicated or simple, and the costs fluctuate widely. Talk to a divorce attorney in your area if you need legal advice about a divorce.

Attorney Fees

The cost of a divorce is largely dependent on whether you and your spouse can come to an agreement on all the issues present. Many advertisements you see for attorneys offering divorces for a few hundred dollars or other flat fee amounts come with disclaimers. Typically, these fees are for simplified divorces in which both spouses agree to all the terms of the divorce. If you cannot agree, or have a complicated divorce, attorney's fees will increase. Attorneys can charge $300 an hour or more for their services, and lengthy divorces can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, or more.

Filing Fees

You can only get a divorce if you file with the state and have the court approve it. Divorces are civil legal proceedings — or law suits, as they are commonly referred to. All states require that you pay fees when filing for divorce, though these fees differ between states and even between different counties in the state. For example, the Oregon State Bar reports that filing fees in Oregon can range from $100 to $400 (as of February 2011).

Simplified Procedures

Many states allow couples to file for simplified divorces that cost less and take less time than non-simplified divorces. For example, Florida allows couples to go through the simplified divorce process as long as the couple meets specific criteria. At least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for six months before filing for divorce, the spouses must appear before the court in person, the couple must not have any children and they must agree to all terms. These divorces typically involve no more costs other than those associated with the filing fees and getting to court.

Indigency

Many couples who do not have the money to afford attorneys or even the divorce filing fees worry that they cannot afford to get divorced. All states allow you to file for a fee waiver if you do not meet certain income requirements, meaning you can ask the court to file for divorce without having to pay the fees. Other services, such as legal advice from attorneys who work pro bono or legal aid services are also available. Unlike criminal cases, you are not entitled to an attorney for your divorce, and the court will not appoint one to you.

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