Divorce Cost: How Much Does It Really Cost?

by | Jan 9, 2024 | Divorce, Family Law, Finances, Mobile

A very common question we get asked is how much does divorce cost? While no one enters into marriage anticipating getting divorced, when a marriage is not sustainable, divorce can be the answer and the beginning of your new life. Of course, as with anything in life, divorce is not free.

However, there are ways to plan and choose the path that is most well-suited for your situation, needs, and budget.


Understanding the Price Tag: How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

Divorce is not “one size fits all” and the price of a divorce varies based on the facts. More complicated assets, finances, child custody, and fault allegations make divorces more complicated and often more expensive. Divorces with limited assets, more simple finances, and without child custody are often less expensive.

However, every divorce is different and the parties are the ones that often determine how much a divorce will cost. Pretrial hearings subpoenaed records, discovery, and the filing of motions and pleadings can cause divorce litigation to be more and more expensive.

The facts of the case are going to dictate the necessity of increased litigation expenses or the ability to avoid the same.


Affordable Options: Exploring the Cost of a Simple Uncontested Divorce

The cheapest option for divorce is an uncontested divorce.  This requires the parties to have an agreement and be agreeable to the terms of their divorce.

Upon an agreement being written up, it is signed and notarized by both parties and then filed with the Court along with any other necessary documents required by the clerk’s office.

Uncontested divorces require the parties to agree to all the terms of their divorce. Any disagreement as to the terms therein can prevent an uncontested divorce from being filed and leave the parties no closer to getting divorced.

In addition to facilitating uncontested divorce agreements, Herlihy Family Law, PC also offers the option for people to purchase an uncontested divorce package for $500 and fill out the necessary paperwork included in the package themselves using the detailed instructions included with them.

This can be a great option for parties that have had a short marriage, have few assets, and have limited finances. However, yet again if there is not an agreement the parties remain married and without a pending divorce case and eventual trial date.


The Role of Lawyers: How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost?

Most divorce attorneys either charge based on an hourly rate or have some sort of flat fee structure. Hourly billing is more common in family law as the time involved in a divorce or custody case can vary greatly from case to case, and flat fee structures often do not accommodate for complex and cases requiring heavy time commitments.

Costs of divorces billed by the hour will vary based on the amount of time required in the case, the number of hearings necessary, and amount of filings and documents involved.

Also, sometimes flat fee structures will either be high or low based on the complexity and attorney involvement needed in a divorce case.

Retaining the services of an attorney is going to allow for the highest level of guidance and attentive legal advice through your divorce; however this involvement is going to be more expensive than pursuing an uncontested divorce, but often unavoidable when a contentious divorce is at hand.


Filing for Divorce: Examining Additional Expenses Involved

In addition to legal expenses for attorneys, court filings, subpoenas, document production, and other expenses related to filing your contested divorce or uncontested divorce, there are other expenses that are involved when getting divorced. Parties’ normal household and marital expenses must continue to be paid pending divorce.

Additionally, if one person decides to move out pending divorce, those are additional costs a party may choose to incur based on circumstances.

Depending on how long it takes the parties to divorce, these status quo expenses could have to be upheld for quite some time before the parties receive their Judgment of Divorce.


Budgeting for Divorce

While it is hard to budget for divorce, knowing the many expenses involved, the timeline possible, and the options can make the process easier to prepare for.

Most people enter their marriage never expecting to get divorced, but it becomes necessary for many married people and affords individuals a new beginning.


Author: Walter Gewin

Attorney Walter Gewin is a native of Mobile, Alabama. After graduation from law school, Walter clerked for Circuit Court Judge John Lockett before pursuing a career in the private practice of law. Initially, practicing a wide variety of law; Walter’s practice has become more focused on family law, including juvenile, probate, and domestic relations matters. Walter also currently serves as a certified Guardian Ad Litem in Dependency, Delinquency, and Domestic Relations matters.