One of the first questions most people ask when finding themselves considering (or thrust into) the divorce process is: how much does it cost to get a divorce? While the promise of a fresh start provides a motivation for seeking a divorce, we in the family law profession know that no one relishes the thought of paying legal fees, especially with a process that often is emotionally challenging. But wanting to know what you are in store for financially is a natural and indeed an important consideration as you set forth on this path towards a new life. Of course, it will always depend on your individual situation and an experienced divorce attorney who you trust will be able to provide you with a good sense of what you are in store for cost-wise, but here a few aspects to consider.
Attorney Fees Are the Primary Cost Component
The primary costs that you will face in seeking a divorce are the fees that you will pay your attorney. Family law attorneys generally work by the hour, and the average cost for an attorney is in the range of $150-$500 an hour, depending on location, experience, and skill sets.
It is important to note that a lower fee per hour does not necessarily mean value for the client. If the $150/hour attorney takes three times as long to complete a task as the $350/hour attorney, and the lower-fee attorney actually obtains a worse outcome for the client in property distribution, alimony, or some other issue, costing you tens of thousands of dollars over the long run, then that $200 differential “savings” in fees could be anything but for the client.
Ways That Your Total Cost Can Be Lowered
According to The Huffington Post, the average cost of a divorce is around $15,000 to $20,000, which includes attorney fees, court costs, and other fees. But that cost can be dramatically higher or lower based on what is litigated during the divorce and the steps each spouse and their lawyers take to resolve matters.
The best way for spouses to reduce their costs in a divorce is to resolve to work together amicably to in sorting out the various issues in a divorce: distribution of marital property; spousal support (alimony); and child custody being the chief issues. Ideally, the spouses would already have a prenuptial agreement in place sorting out their financial issues.
If there is no prenuptial agreement in place, the spouses can work together with or without the assistance of their attorneys to reach a settlement agreement which can be submitted to the court for approval (oftentimes, working with an attorney who can explain how the law works can be the quickest way to reach an amicable agreement). If they do not do so, then the attorneys for both parties will have to litigate these issues in court and have a judge decide, which can increase the cost of a divorce quickly.
Another way to keep costs down is for both parties to stay motivated in getting the often-difficult work of finalizing their divorce and being receptive to the others’ needs. This may mean that each party has to be willing to make difficult concessions, but doing so can cut legal costs and lead to more stability for both parties in a timely fashion.
The Martin Law Firm | Family Law Attorneys
At The Martin Law Firm, our family law attorneys have the experience and commitment to client service necessary to help clients across Southeastern Pennsylvania in navigating all issues related to seeking a divorce. Whatever your legal goals and interests are, our family law attorneys have the experience to represent your rights and defend your interests in all spousal support matters. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.