Are you wondering how much does the average divorce cost? If yes, you should check out our guide here explaining the common fees.
Divorce is never easy for any of the parties involved. The emotional turmoil ending a marriage can cause can be difficult to deal with, and the financial cost may end up being even more troublesome to handle.
If you’ve found yourself searching for the phrase ‘how much does the average divorce cost’, you may be wondering if you and your family can withstand the potential financial changes a divorce can bring.
The answer to that question can be complicated, but we’re here to help. We’re going to give you some insight into factors that can affect how much divorce costs you, and let you know what you can do to try to save yourself some money while you’re managing the process.
How Much Does the Average Divorce Cost?
Overall, some experts believe that divorces can cost no less than $15,000 on average in the United States. That number may have come from aggregating data, but that doesn’t mean that the price is guaranteed for everyone.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a precise answer to this question because divorce depends on a lot of unique factors. The state you live in, the amount of money you and your ex-spouse make, pre-nuptial agreements, and the length of time it takes to come to an agreement in court can affect how much you or your spouse ends up paying.
It’s also important to think about other factors that may not immediately spring to mind when you’re thinking about divorce costs.
You and your spouse may need legal representation throughout your proceedings. If you have children, you may need to hire babysitters to watch them during lawyer meetings and court appearances.
What Factors Affect True Divorce Costs
There’s one universal fee that everyone will have to pay if they choose to get a divorce, and that’s the filing fee you’ll need to pay in court. Even then the amount of money you pay will vary from state to state.
We mentioned before that certain factors can affect how much divorce proceedings cost you.
There’s no exact science to predicting how much a divorce will end up costing you. However, you should know that the following factors play a considerable role in determining how much everything will cost in the end:
Some people may choose to use a divorce lawyer during the entire divorce process. Others may bring attorneys during a specific phase of the divorce, like during custody or alimony hearings.
It’s also possible that your circumstances may change. Your spouse that once said they wanted to settle out of court may have changed their mind. If you find yourself having to go to court, you absolutely should bring in a lawyer to protect your best interests.
Children will always affect a divorce, even if you assume that custody will be cut and dry.
If you decide to split custody 50/50, you’ll still have to figure out how to pay for childcare expenses and who can claim them during tax time. Parents that are going for limited visitation may need to handle alimony payments and child support.
Formally “Split” Costs
There are plenty of factors that will affect how much you’ll need to pay to finalize your divorce, but it’s important to also think about what costs you’ll have to take on now that you’re officially unmarried.
If you’re ending your marriage, you’re probably used to splitting a lot of your own expenses. Mortgage and rent immediately come to mind, but there are other costs you may need to take on once your marriage is over.
Did you use to share car insurance? Are you going to lose a vehicle? Transportation costs should be factored into divorce when you’re thinking about how much separating will really cost you.
5 Ways to Save Money During the Divorce
There’s no way around it, getting a divorce is going to cost you some money. Luckily, if you prepare yourself and take the right steps, you can do a lot to help save money during the process.
If you want to keep your finances intact during the divorce process, remember to keep these tips in mind.
Understand Your Assets
In order to understand how much a financial hit both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will take, both of you need to have a clear understanding of how much money you have in the bank and other joint assets.
You may not have handled money matters in the past, but it’s important for you to understand how much everything is worth before you start divorce proceedings.
Review old bank statements and look at current assets to ensure that your spouse hasn’t been trying to hide any assets from you. Remember, unless you have some kind of legally binding agreement like a prenup, you should assume that your spouse has a right to all of your assets and vice versa.
Under no circumstance should you withdraw money from joint accounts or try to hide assets from them. Judges never look kindly on spouses that try to hide things, and doing so can seriously hurt your case.
Talk to a Financial Advisor
Your lawyer can give you great advice when it comes to splitting assets and other legal matters, but you may want to get the advice of an expert in finance if you want to make sure that you’re making the right financial moves.
A financial advisor could help you in the long run. They can help you set up new savings accounts and find a way to adapt to your new budget. One could also help you prepare things like joint college funds or help you think of other ways to support your children as they grow.
Re-Think Your Career
Maybe you’re the breadwinner in your marriage, you may depend on your spouse, or you could both have jobs. Regardless of where you’re at employment wise, a divorce is always a good time to re-evaluate where you’re at in your career.
It’s important to think about how you’re going to support yourself once the divorce is over.
We mentioned before that you should expect to pay more for things you’re used to splitting like rent/mortgage and car insurance. It’s also possible that you’ll have to pay child support or alimony.
Consider learning a new skill to make yourself more marketable to employers. If you’re new to the workforce consider enrolling yourself in a job training program that can teach you skills and possibly help you find employment.
Settle Joint Credit Cards
Credit cards can easily fall to the wayside when people are in the middle of a divorce. You may forget that you’ve made your partner an authorized user on your card and could find yourself dealing with charges and changes to your credit score.
Be sure to call all of your credit providers to check who is authorized to use them. Removing people from using cards is usually simple, but explaining that you’re going through a divorce could make things easier.
You may also want to consider signing up for a credit monitoring service. Your spouse can easily access important information like your social security number and bank account information. Setting up monitoring can ensure that you’re alerted if any strange activity occurs.
Learn to Certain Things Let Go
Splitting up marital property can be a very emotional experience. Some people may have an easy time deciding who gets big assets like homes or cars, but others may find themselves fighting over possessions like electronics or other smaller items.
A lot of your most beloved objects may have precious memories attached to them, or you may feel like certain things belong to you more than your spouse.
It’s important to make sure that you’re being treated fairly when you’re dividing things up, but now isn’t the time to argue over an expensive set of linens or the big screen TV.
Arguing over assets usually leads to more time in court and more lawyer fees. Often times the object you’re fighting over may have significantly decreased in value and you could end up being better off buying yourself something new.
Don’t waste time, emotions, or money on things. You can always buy something new once your divorce is over.
Reach True Financial Freedom
The answer to the question ‘how much does the average divorce cost’ may be complicated, but as you can see in this post, there’s plenty you can do to protect yourself financially when you’re going through a divorce. As long as you follow the advice in this post, you’ll set yourself up to be financially stable in the long run.
Divorce is only one major life-changing event that could rock your finances. There are plenty of other things you should prepare yourself for.
Do you know what you’d do if you lost your job today? Have you discussed how to financially care for your aging parents? Do you know how to wisely invest your money?
We have plenty of financial content available for savvy readers. Be sure to browse our posts so you can learn more about issues that matter to you the most.