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The Average Cost of a Divorce: Learn How to Finance Your Divorce Smartly

Justin Estes Updated: January 18, 2024 • 6 min read

Finances are often an important factor in divorces and can significantly affect how smoothly (or not) your split goes. In this article, we'll discuss some tips for financing your divorce so that you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family. We'll also look at some options available for paying for a divorce, including divorce loans. So read on for information that will help you get through this challenging time!

How Much Does it Cost to Get Divorced?

The cost of getting divorced varies widely based on several factors, including whether you hire a lawyer and the complexity of your case. According to a survey by Nolo:

  1. Divorce Costs With a Lawyer: The average cost of a divorce lawyer is around $11,300 in attorneys' fees, with a median of $7,000. Hourly rates for divorce lawyers average $270, but this can vary significantly.
  2. Divorce Without Lawyers: For those who handle their divorce without a lawyer, the average cost is about $925, with a median cost of $300. This does not include the cost of mediation.
  3. Divorce Mediation Costs: Private divorce mediation typically costs between $3,000 and $8,000, usually split between the spouses. Court-sponsored mediation services are often free, low cost, or based on income, but generally only cover child custody disputes.
  4. Online Divorce Services: These services can assist with divorce paperwork and procedures, costing about $150 to $500.

How Long Does a Divorce Take?

The duration of a divorce process can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the case's complexity, the level of agreement between the parties, and the legal requirements in the jurisdiction where the divorce is filed. On average, a divorce can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. However, uncontested divorces or those with fewer complications may be resolved more quickly, while highly contested divorces or those involving complex asset divisions can take longer. It's important to consult with a legal professional in your area for a more accurate estimate based on your specific circumstances.

What Is a Divorce Loan?

A divorce loan is a type of financing that can cover the costs associated with divorces, such as attorneys' fees, alimony, or property division. Divorce loans are typically personal loans with high interest rates and are often difficult to obtain. However, some lenders may be willing to work with borrowers with solid credit histories and good income levels. In general, divorce loans should be considered a last resort, as they can cost more in interest than they are worth. Borrowers should explore all other options before taking out a divorce loan.

Additional Costs to Consider During Divorce Proceedings

When considering the costs of divorce, particularly in relation to alimony, property division, and child support, it's important to understand that these costs can vary widely based on individual circumstances. However, here are some general insights and potential costs associated with each aspect:

  1. Alimony (Spousal Support):
    • Legal Fees: The complexity of negotiating alimony can increase legal fees. If alimony is a contested issue, attorney fees could rise significantly, potentially adding thousands of dollars to the cost.
    • Alimony Payments: The amount of alimony varies greatly and depends on factors like the length of the marriage, income disparity, and state laws. For example, a spouse might pay $500 to $3,000 per month in alimony, but this range can be wider.
  2. Property Division:
    • Appraisal Fees: Appraising the value of shared assets (like homes, cars, businesses) can cost from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per appraisal.
    • Legal and Expert Fees: Disputes over property division can lead to higher legal fees. In complex cases, you might also need financial analysts or forensic accountants, which can cost $200 to $500 per hour.
    • Refinancing Costs: If one spouse keeps the family home or other assets that require refinancing, this process can incur fees, typically a percentage of the loan amount.
  3. Child Support:
    • Legal Fees: Similar to alimony, contested child support issues can increase legal costs. These fees vary widely based on the dispute's complexity and the lawyer's rates.
    • Child Support Payments: The amount is typically determined by state guidelines and varies based on factors like income, the number of children, and custody arrangements. Monthly child support payments can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  4. Additional Considerations:
    • Custody Evaluation Fees: If custody is disputed, a professional evaluator may be required, costing anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 or more.
    • Tax Implications: Divorce can have significant tax consequences, especially for property division and alimony, which may necessitate consulting a tax professional.

Why Is Divorce So Expensive?

Divorce is often cited as one of the most expensive legal procedures a person can go through. While the average cost of a divorce varies depending on the specific situation, several factors can contribute to the high price tag. First, divorce lawyers typically charge by the hour, and the paperwork involved in filing for divorce can be extensive.

In addition, couples may need to pay for appraisals and other experts to divide their assets equitably. Finally, emotionally charged divorce proceedings can take a toll on both parties, leading to higher legal bills. While the cost of divorce can be high, it is essential to remember that the alternative—remaining in an unhappy or abusive marriage—can be even more costly in the long run.

Tips for Divorce Financing

Here are some tips to help manage and finance your divorce effectively:

  1. Understand the Total Cost: Before seeking financing, get a clear estimate of the total costs of your divorce, including legal fees, alimony, child support, and any division of assets.
  2. Consider Personal Loans: Personal loans can be a viable option to cover immediate divorce expenses. They are typically unsecured and can be obtained relatively quickly. Compare interest rates, fees, and repayment terms from various lenders to find the best deal.
  3. Budget Wisely: Create a detailed budget that accounts for your living expenses during and after the divorce process. This will help you understand how much you need to borrow and can afford to repay.
  4. Credit Score Impact: Be aware that applying for a personal loan can impact your credit score. A good credit score can secure you a loan with better interest rates.
  5. Explore Other Financing Options: Besides personal loans, consider other sources like savings, borrowing from retirement accounts (be cautious of penalties and taxes), or even help from family or friends.
  6. Legal Fee Arrangements: Some attorneys offer flexible payment plans or sliding scale fees based on income. Don’t hesitate to discuss payment options with your lawyer.
  7. Minimize Legal Expenses: If possible, negotiate and settle as many issues as possible with your spouse outside of court. Mediation can be a cost-effective alternative to a lengthy court battle.
  8. Plan for Post-Divorce Finances: Post-divorce financial planning is crucial. Consider the long-term impact of any financial decisions made during the divorce process.
  9. Seek Financial Advice: A financial advisor experienced in divorce matters can provide valuable insights into managing assets and debts during and after the divorce.
  10. Stay Informed and Involved: Keep track of all expenses and stay actively involved in the financial aspects of your divorce process. This will help you make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary expenses.

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Divorce can be a complicated and expensive process, but there are ways to finance it that can help ease the financial burden. In this blog post, we've looked at some of the different options available for paying for a divorce, including divorce loans. We've also discussed why divorces are so expensive and outlined some tips for managing the costs. If you're facing a divorce, be sure to explore your options and seek expert advice before making any decisions. With careful planning and consideration, you can get through this challenging time without putting yourself into debt.



Can I get a loan while going through a divorce?

It is possible to get a loan while going through a divorce, although the process may be more complicated than it would be otherwise. You may need to provide additional documentation to prove your financial stability, and interest rates may be higher than usual.

How are loans split after divorce?

In some cases, the loan may be in both parties' names, meaning that both parties are equally responsible for repaying the debt. In this case, it is generally up to the couple to agree on who will repay the debt. If they cannot reach an agreement, the court may order that the loan be refinanced in one party's name. In other cases, only one party may be responsible for the loan. In this case, that party will be solely liable for repaying the debt.

What is a wife entitled to in a divorce?

In most cases, a wife is entitled to a portion of the couple's marital assets. This includes any property acquired during the marriage and any savings or investments. In some cases, a wife may also be entitled to spousal support, which is a financial payment from her husband to help cover living expenses. The amount of support and the length of time it will be paid will vary depending on the couple's circumstances.

Written by Justin Estes