Divorce is expensive. Nolo finds that the average divorce costs $15,000, with prices ranging from $1,000 to over $100,000 in some cases. Couples that get married often spend $25,000 to tie the knot and $15,500 to end their marriage.
That’s a staggering figure, but what makes a divorce so costly in the first place?
1. Mediation and Lawyer Fees
Amicable divorces end quickly, while the average divorce takes 10.7 months to come to an end. The duration of the divorce proceedings is dependent on several factors, with the complexity of the divorce, assets and wealth added to the equation.
Mediation and lawyer fees range from $150 – $350 per hour. Some high-profile lawyers charge $650 per hour for their services, while the average person pays $250.
Legal representation and mediation accounts for the majority of divorce costs, and the hours clocked on the divorce depends on the couple. If a couple can come to an amicable decision, the lawyer’s fees are kept to a minimum, as fewer hours are poured into the divorce.
So, if you want to keep your costs low, start by:
- Discussing the divorce with your spouse
- Agreeing to divide assets outside of mediation
- Listening to your lawyer’s recommendations
If you’re defiant and want to drag the divorce on, it will cost you more.
2. Expert Evaluations and Advisors
An attorney isn’t the only professional who’s present during a divorce. There are professionals to help with different aspects of the divorce, and they’ll be required to fully understand the value of your assets.
A few of the experts that may need to be paid during a divorce are:
- Real estate appraiser to find the true value of any real estate owned. Appraisals cost $400 – $600 on average.
- Tax advisors will help couples find the best way to reduce their tax obligations during a divorce.
- Child custody evaluators will need to be brought on to ensure that a person isn’t paying too much in a child custody agreement.
Any expert who’s brought on to a divorce to ensure that assets are properly valued and divided will need to be paid appropriately. You may spend in the high hundreds to low thousand-dollar range for hiring these professionals.
Complex divorces and high-asset divorces will find these fees skyrocket very quickly the more complex the assets are.
3. Court Fees
Court fees are minor, but they add up, too. Fees vary from state-to-state, with New Jersey charging $300 for the first complaint filing and $50 for a motion of dissolution plus additional fees. These fees will add up, too, and need to be factored into the total cost of the divorce.
And the fees mentioned don’t include the monetary loss resulting from the divorce.
A couple may need to divide retirement and savings accounts, which may result in lower interest income, longer retirement outlooks and lower returns on investments. Child care expenses, alimony and child support will also add to the total cost of the divorce.
Divorce is expensive, and if you’re trying to end a divorce on a good note, the best you can do is find a way to agree on pertinent issues with your spouse without excess hours of mediation and court appearances.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm specializing in family law and estates. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. Brad has a special expertise in working with high asset divorce. You can read more on this topic by visiting our divorce blog. To set up a free consultation, call 973-562-0100.