When couples agree to all the terms of their divorce, they can get their divorce decree much faster than if they contest one or more issues. Still, an uncontested divorce is not free. For one thing, there is a filing fee you will need to pay. You also might need the help of lawyers or a mediator to hammer out an agreement on some issues.
In our experience, there are three types of divorce: uncontested, not-quite-yet uncontested, and full-on contested divorce. Let’s look at the average costs of each.
Cost of an Uncontested Divorce
If you and your spouse agree on all issues, you can fill out paperwork and file it in court. All you will pay is the filing fee, which should be around $300. Call the court clerk to find out the exact amount and acceptable methods of payment.
Of course, some couples hire an attorney to fill out the paperwork for them, just to make sure they did everything properly. A lawyer might quote you a flat fee for this work, usually $500-800. You pay them, along with the filing fee, and they take care of the rest.
Cost of a Not-Quite-Yet Uncontested Divorce
Many couples “hope” to get a contested divorce. They agree on most issues:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Division of marital property and debts
However, they still disagree on at least one, maybe two. They might be close to reaching an agreement—but they aren’t quite there yet.
If this describes you, then you don’t quite have an uncontested divorce yet. That’s the goal—and a lawyer can help you get there. But you’re not there yet.
If you disagree on one or more issues, you can still get an uncontested divorce—but you’ll need to resolve your disputes first. You can pay a lawyer to help with negotiation and mediation, which is how many couples try to find common ground. A lawyer will charge you for this work. You should discuss with an attorney how much they charge per hour, or if they have a separate flat fee they use.
In general, you could pay $1,000-$3,000 to get a final “push” toward resolution. But it all depends on the lawyers you hire and how much work they end up doing. If you need months of negotiation, you will pay more than if all you need is one mediation session.
Price of a Contested Divorce
In a contested divorce, couples never reach an agreement on contested issues, like child custody or the division of marital property. Ultimately, they need to present evidence in a trial for a judge to decide.
Conservatively, most contested divorces cost at least $10,000. Other contested divorces will cost double that—or more. A U.S. News & World Report story from 2020 pegged the number at $15,000, but this included even uncontested divorces on average.
A contested divorce can take a year or longer before you ever get a judge to decide your case. Contested divorces require a lot of legal work, including regular court appearances, deposing witnesses, reviewing reports from a guardian ad litem, finding evidence, and other time-consuming tasks. Lawyers usually charge by the hour.
Speak with Our Divorce Lawyer
If you need help with a divorce, contact Alliance Law Group. We can discuss our fee structure in the first consultation and then get to work helping you achieve a divorce that works for you.