How Much Does It Cost to Get a Divorce? The Complete Guide


Divorce causes not only emotional stress but financial woes as well. Deciding to end a marriage is never easy or straightforward, but one of the primary considerations is the cost!

Are you afraid of the expenses? How much does it cost to get a divorce in the first place? A lot of people step away from separations due to surprise costs and legal fees.

Worry no longer, we’ve got it broken down below. Read on to learn the total cost of a divorce and other factors you need to consider:

Contested or Uncontested Divorce

A contested divorce happens if one or both parties cannot agree with the division of assets. The issue is then taken to court, complete with a lawyer and a judge.

An uncontested divorce means both parties agree on the conditions. The cost can go down since there is no need for lawyers or mediators. The fee includes all the papers and processes.

Filing Fees

The filing fees usually include a lawyer’s initial retainer. This covers the time spent filing the paperwork and setting up a temporary order hearing.

The order hearing creates a template for a final divorce agreement. They lay out how both parties will divide their assets, schedule for child custody, and the alimony total.

Child Custody

It’s best if you can settle a child custody schedule. If you can’t, hire an attorney to resolve it for you and they will provide custody details. You may opt to pay for a traditional child custody evaluation, which is the cheaper option. Or, hire a more expensive private evaluator.

There are four types of child custody:

  • Sole Physical
  • Joint Physical
  • Sole Legal
  • Joint Legal

Sole Physical custody means the child will live under the supervision of a parent. If the other parent plans to visit, they have to get court.

Joint Physical custody means that each parent can stay with their child for a set amount of time. The parents will have an equal stake in making decisions and payments for the child.

Sole Legal custody means only one parent has the full right and responsibility to make decisions for the child – including health, education, and welfare. In contrast, the other parent can only have visitation rights.

Joint Legal custody means both parents have the right to make decisions for their children. Both parents cooperate for the money and planning for the child’s future. The court needs a workable parenting plan to get Joint Legal custody.


Alimony is the legal obligation of a person to provide financial support for their spouse. It happens before or after marital separation.

The process includes a divorce decree, separate maintenance decree, or a written separation decree. You can request for alimony if you have been together for less than ten years.

Thirty percent of the higher-earning person’s income minus 20% of the lower-earning person’s income makes up the alimony. It’s finalized when the recipient gets the couple’s combined income amounting to lower than 40%.

Tax returns, bank statements, debts, and expenses records are all needed if you request alimony. Note that if you stop giving alimony payments, you could face civil or criminal charges.


This is the process where the parties discuss their disputes with a neutral third-party. This third-party assists in resolving the disputes through specialized communication and negotiation techniques.

The third-party can be a professional mediator, a judge, or a commissioner. Most mediators charge hourly while some prefer to charge per session. A session can last for about two hours.

Disputes and Trial

Sometimes, disagreements happen over assets or the reason for divorce. In this case, the issue will undergo an out-of-court settlement or go to trial. Going to a trial can double your divorce costs.

The cost of a divorce jumps up if you want to settle an issue in court.

Average Cost with a Lawyer

Hiring a lawyer benefits both parties if you plan to divide your assets. Divorce attorney fees raise your costs from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Most divorce lawyers get paid by the hour.

Lawyers charge for phone calls, emails, texts, and court preparation. They also charge for depositions, discovery, research, and document preparation and review.

Depositions are when they question other people related to the divorce. These include family, friends, and even lovers. Discovery is when your lawyer gets information from your spouse’s lawyer.

Most lawyers charge a flat fee or a retainer cost to help with the divorce. If you need one right now, you can hire a divorce lawyer here.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Divorce DIY?

Only a few couples can file a divorce and spit their assets without the help of an attorney. Do it yourself or online divorce are best for those who have:

  • No children
  • Few assets or belongings
  • Agreed for no spousal support payment to one another

Start by filing a petition for the dissolution of marriage with the clerk of your local county court. Some courts charge less if you file a petition online.

In a DIY divorce, you need to submit a petition and wait for a private process server delivery. Some countries provide online resources and forms necessary for divorce filing. The services can cost up to $50 depending on the country.

Settle Your Divorce Costs Now

How much does it cost to get a divorce? The final estimate can alter depending on the factors listed above, but it can cost a lot when things get taken to court.

The best way to save before a divorce is to solve every issue outside the court. The cost of a divorce can sink to reasonable amounts. But remember, don’t rush your decisions and take the time to plan out each issue.

Of course, settling doesn’t end with divorce. To learn how to deal with life after divorce or other relationship tips, feel free to read more of our articles today. We cover a wide range of tips and tricks you should follow today!

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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