No Bargains: Face It, Divorce is Expensive

There are plenty of advertisements in which attorneys appear to offer very cheap divorces – often for just a few hundred dollars.  Television shows and films often flippantly refer to “quickie divorces.” All of it might give the impression that in these modern, enlightened times getting a divorce is as simple as filling out a form and writing a relatively small check to an attorney or two.

The fact is, that generally isn’t the case.  While it’s true that the more you and your spouse can agree on issues before petitioning the court the less time (and thus, money) you’ll have to spend on the proceedings, in most cases divorces are too complex and too adversarial to be handled so cheaply.  In divorce there are no bargains, and no matter how hard you try, they cost money.


On average, the “rule of thumb” for divorce is that you should expect to pay about as much for the divorce as you paid for your wedding.  On average, this means that your divorce can cost you anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000 depending on your specific circumstances and the size of the assets involved.

These numbers represent a wide range of potential costs, including:

  • lawyer’s fees
  • court costs
  • parent education class fees
  • early neutral evaluation fees
  • mediation costs
  • refinancing fees for properties that must be sold
  • deed transfer fees when properties are handed over

Note that even mediation or other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) channels don’t insure spouses from these costs; while ADR can shave off court fees and attorney fees, many of the other costs for a divorce still stand.  As a result, while ADR methods can legitimately claim to save you money, they cannot eliminate all costs.

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