How Expensive is Divorce?

April 7, 2022
 By Erin H.

Marriage success has basically become a flip of the coin in modern America, with almost 50% of all marriages ending in divorce or separation. This new reality is a major concern because many people may spend a lot of money getting divorced, sometimes even suffering bankruptcy and other related financial troubles. Understanding how much a divorce costs can help you prepare for this difficult situation.

Some Divorce Statistics

Our sources show that the average or mean cost of a divorce is around $12,900, while the median price is $7,500. These statistics indicate different things: the average results from adding all divorce costs together and dividing by the total number of divorces. In contrast, the median price shows the exact middle value. However, many factors may affect this overall cost for married couples.

For example, hourly rates for divorce attorneys are around $270 per hour, which is staggering for many people. These legal fees can be as high as $11,300 or so on average if divorces go on for a long time. Median divorce legal fees settle at around $7,000 or so per spouse, mainly when using a full-scope divorce attorney who handles all steps of a rather difficult and intensive divorce.

So, is divorce expensive? Absolutely, especially when various factors come into play that affects a person’s case in unexpected ways. Understanding these different factors is very important because they may unexpectedly affect your divorce and make it more challenging. Let’s break down a few things that could drive up your cost to help you understand its financial impact on you. Doing so can help you know what situations to avoid and why a lawyer is critical to your divorce.

Factors That Affect Cost

Divorce is always a complex thing, even when going through an uncontested situation. Obviously, contested divorces create even more complications and can make your separation even more expensive. Frustratingly, it’s not uncommon for many different factors to work against you to drive up your divorce. Typically, this happens when your spouse is trying to make trouble with you during negotiations.

For example, the waiting time can have a major impact on your divorce cost. It can take between 0 and 6 months after filing the initial petition before the divorce becomes final. As you can imagine, longer divorces greatly increase in cost and can impact you financially. Things like alimony, child support, child custody, and any other contested issues may further expand the money you spend on divorce and severely impact your financial health in adverse ways.

Whenever possible, uncontested divorces are a much better choice. They average at about $4,100, which is almost $8,000 less than a contested divorce. Child-support and alimony issues can increase divorces up to an average of $15,500 to $15,900, respectively. Going to trial raises your costs as high as $23,300, which can make this situation a bankruptcy situation for many. If you’re a working-class mother or father in Tennessee, you likely simply can’t afford this kind of serious financial investment, even if it is ultimately better for you.

Thankfully, it is usually possible to avoid a trial situation by working with a lawyer who fully understands this divorce procedure. Never try to represent yourself in this situation! While it might save you some cash on legal fees, it ultimately drags out the case far longer and can cost you even more financial health by forcing you to go to trial and hiring a lawyer after months of failed negotiations representing yourself.

So if you’re one of the 43% of Tennessee residents going through this type of challenging divorce, including custody battles, don’t hesitate to contact a family law attorney who has your back. These professionals will advocate for you and your legal needs and will do what they can to cut back on how much money you spend by working out your issues quickly and efficiently as a couple.

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