Relationship Articles

How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

February 21, 2018 - Relationship Articles
Court fees, filing fees, divorce papers, the cost of legal advice and court hearings… If you are considering a divorce or have just decided to move ahead with a divorce, a major concern you might have is just how much your divorce will cost. According to Wilkinson & Finkbeiner Family Law Attorneys the average cost of a divorce in the United States is $15,000.

However, estimating the exact divorce cost is not easy as the final amount will vary per the complexity of your divorce: relationship with your former partner, state you live in and the divorce process you choose. Keep reading to learn the different divorce methods, their average costs and how you can begin to prepare for your divorce.

Get answers to the following divorce cost related questions:


How much does a divorce cost?

The average cost of a divorce in the US is $15,000. While some divorcees cost as little as few hundred dollars, some cost a thousand dollars and others have cost billions of dollars. The reality is that the cost of a divorce is dependent on various factors.

Perhaps the biggest factor is whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce is when you and the person you are divorcing can reach an agreement regarding marital assets and liabilities. Conversely, a contested divorce is when you and your former spouse cannot reach an agreement on your own and require professional assistance. Uncontested divorces are less costly and need far less time to complete in comparison to contested divorces.

how much does a divorce cost

Additional factors that impact the cost of a divorce include:

  • Level of conflict between you and your former spouse: whether your spouse agrees on filing for divorce
  • Divorce method used and divorce professionals hired: attorneys fees and hourly rates differ by law firm, location and depending on the method chosen
  • Complexity of your case: every marriage is different
  • Length of your marriage: the amount of time your marriage lasted can have an impact
  • Whether you have children: child support and child custody can have a big impact on your financial future, and may involve a custody evaluator
  • If you or your partner are unemployed
  • Number of jointly owned assess and debts


Divorce costs by divorce type

There are different types of divorce each with their own costs associated. It is commonly believed that lawyers must be hired during a divorce. However, there is no law that requires attorneys to be involved at any point during the divorce process.

The way in which you proceed with your divorce will have the most significant impact on how much your divorce will cost and how long the divorce process will last. Take the time to research all of the divorce options in order to determine the best process for you.


  • Do-it-yourself divorce – Average cost: under $100

The most cost effective divorce method is do-it-yourself. This divorce method typically costs under $100 dollars and is best suited for uncontested divorces. This process involves purchasing a divorce kit online, usually under $100 dollars, which include all of the forms and documents necessary for divorce in your state.

If you want to save even more money, you can find these divorce documents online as many states offer them on their judicial websites. U.S. Legal Forms is a great website that helps you find your divorce package for your state with step by step completion instructions.


  • Divorce by Litigation – Average cost: $32,700

Divorce by litigation is a popular divorce procedure, as many people feel comfortable working with experts during such a complicated process. The cost of this divorce method is dependent on which state you live in, the lawyer you hire, fee arrangements and the length of divorce proceedings. Lawyers will either have flat fees which can range from $200 to $1,500 or retainer fees that are influenced by their activity in your case. Lawyers can charge for:

  • Client meetings
  • Phone calls
  • Responding to emails
  • Composing legal documents
  • Legal research
  • Court preparation

According to attorney Diane Danols, the average cost of divorce by litigation is $32,700. As trials can last for years and legal fees can quickly build up, ensure that you understand exactly what your lawyer charges you for. Alternatively, you can hire a lawyer just to review your legal documents and answer any divorce questions you might have, which costs dramatically less than hiring a lawyer for litigation.


  • Divorce by mediation – Average cost: $500 to $2,500

Divorce by mediation is a non-adversarial divorce process with a professional mediator who acts as a third party. The mediator will advocate for you, your spouse and children in order for everyone to reach a fair agreement.

Similarly to a divorce lawyer, a mediator is trained to resolve divorce issues, but at a fraction of the cost of a lawyer. Mediators are also skilled in deescalating conflict and rebuilding trust between parties. According to attorney Diane Danols meditation can range from $500 to $2,500. This range includes the initial set-up fee, number of sessions held and any documents created.


  • Collaborative Divorce – Average cost: $25,000 to $50,000

Collaborative divorce is a process that combines elements of divorce by litigation and divorce by mediation. You and your former spouse will hire your own attorneys trained in the collaborative process as well as any other desired divorce professionals such as financial experts, conflict coaches and child specialists. For this divorce process all parties will meet to negotiate a divorce agreement. Rather than the combative tactics used in court, cooperative techniques are utilized in collaborative divorce.

divorce cost

While you will be avoiding the expenses incurred in court, this divorce method can easily become expensive. In addition to your lawyer’s fees you will need to be paying all of the additional professionals you have hired. On average, the cost of collaborate divorce ranges from $25,000 to $50,000 depending on complexity, number of professionals involved and length of the process. If an agreement cannot be reached through collaborative divorce, you will likely take your case to court and incur even greater divorce cost.


How to afford a divorce

Regardless of the divorce method you pursue, you might be in need of additional funds. WP Diamonds is on hand to help you afford your divorce and prepare for your new life. If you are ready to let go of the past and part with your engagement ring, we can provide you with a competitive offer for the ring as well as any diamonds, luxury jewelry, watches or handbags you have.

Our simple, discreet, secure and free service can quickly help you raise money to put towards your divorce. The entire selling process can take as little as 24 hours from completing the online form to getting paid.  You can feel confident selling to WP Diamonds thanks to our A+ rating from the BBB, hundreds of positive reviews from customers and 100% trust guarantee.

Click the button below or call our experts at 646-758-0270 to get your bespoke price quote today.

Bio: Written by one of our diamond, designer jewelry or luxury watch experts. With over 150 years of combined experience, our experts are able to comment on trends, share industry knowledge and provide diamond, designer jewelry and luxury watch education.

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