The cost of a divorce can vary greatly from one to another. As a family lawyer might explain to you, the cost can depend on how well each party can agree to divide the assets, co-parent the children, and whether spousal maintenance is expected. There are many different paths through the divorce process from a DIY divorce and general support from a lawyer, to mediation and a contested divorce at the court level.
At the very minimum, a divorce will cost a minimum of the filing fee in your state, unless you file an indigency waiver. If there are any marital assets involved, there may be costs associated with selling or refinancing your house, dividing retirement savings, and so forth.
A DIY divorce is only ideal when certain factors apply, such as:
- You and your soon to be ex can work out all of the details related to the divorce
- You understand how to write and file the paperwork
- You can write your own separation/divorce agreement
The agreement is the most important part of the divorce and will dictate how assets are to be divided, the parenting plan for any children, and the amount of spousal support. Even if you opt for DIY divorce, you should ask a family lawyer to review the agreement to ensure everything makes sense and is legal.
Support and Guidance from a Lawyer
If you have minor children, assets to divide, or other matters that need special consideration, you can work with a family lawyer for guidance and support. A lawyer can draft the divorce agreement, but it will be up to you and your ex to negotiate the terms. This is still cheaper than hiring a lawyer for mediation or litigation, but protects your rights and interests better than doing anything on your own. A general idea of what this cost may be from $200 – $800.
Mediation can help you and your ex to work out the details of the divorce and resolve any disputes that are delaying the process. Many family lawyers will offer mediation for clients. Some charge flat rates for every session and others charge by the hour. You may need 2 to 4 sessions of mediation before an agreement can be reached.
When most people think about a divorce, this is the kind of divorce that comes to mind. These divorces can be very complicated and take months, or years, to resolve. They typically will need a family lawyer and often cost thousands of dollars. When minor children are involved, the cost of an average contested divorce may be a minimum of $10,000. When minor children are not involved, the cost may be half of that.
Costs of a contested divorce may include:
- Drafting a motion for temporary orders
- Drafting financial statements
- Attending a motion hearing
- Providing discovery
- Attending a deposition or deposing the other party
- Holding meetings with the other party and their lawyer
- Drafting a pre-trial memo
- Attending a pre-trial conference
A few of these steps, such as drafting financial statements, can be done on your own; thus, save you a little money. What you should understand is there are many factors that will influence the cost of a divorce. You may have some control over these costs, and that begins with how you choose to proceed. It may help you to consult with a family lawyer, like a divorce lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel Wright, who can help you to know what your responsibilities and rights are.