Divorce is not free. For many people, it is worth the price to end their marriage and begin the next phase of their lives on their own terms. But there are costs you should be aware of.
Getting divorced is not like buying a refrigerator. The amount you can expect to pay in legal fees and court costs depends on many factors, and there is no set price. Still, according to one survey, the average cost of divorce in the U.S. is about $15,000, and the process takes an average of 12 months from start to finish.
Factors in the cost of divorce
Again, these are just averages. Younger couples with less marital property to divide up and not children will probably settle their divorce much more quickly than an older couple that has been married for decades and amassed significant wealth together. Even if the children are grown, property division can be complex and contentious. Disputes over things as large as your retirement investments and real estate, and things as relatively minor as your record collection, can take months to resolve.
Most divorce attorneys charge a retainer upfront. If the work they put into your case exceeds the retainer, they will charge you for the extra time.
Keeping expenses reasonable, finding a solution
Your best bet for avoiding unnecessary expenses and delays in your divorce is to hire the right attorney. A divorce lawyer with experience and skill knows how to break down your case and help you get a clear picture of how the process works. They will use every resource available to settle your case as quickly as possible, without sacrificing your financial needs. They will negotiate strongly, but in good faith, with the goal of a fair settlement that does not drag out your case any longer than it has to last.