Average Cost of Divorce in the United States (and Cost of Marriage)


The average cost of a wedding in the United Sates is $28,000. That’s a lot of money to spend when you consider that many couples will be suffering the consequences of that significant bill for the first few years of their marriage. It even seems high when you consider that the rate of divorce is 50% in the US, and as much as 60% in certain areas of California.

Before you start complaining about your fellow citizens, the US does not have the worst divorce rate in the world. in fact, that 50% is very close to the international average, which is around 40%. The Californian rate is much higher than the national average, but even that doesn’t come close to the divorce rate in countries like Belgium, where it is as high as 70%.

But it is still a significant percentage when you consider that a divorce can be one of the most costly and stressful things we can go through, and that it follows a day that is supposed to be one of the best days in the bride and groom’s life.

So, if the wedding is $28k on average, then how much does it cost to undo all of that hard work and to end this costly union?

Where Does the Money go?

First, to understand why a divorce costs any money at all, you need to know why there is so much money involved and where it goes.

The first step will be to pay court fees. This is an industry that is worth nearly $30 billion a year and even if you have just a two day trial you could be looking at a bill of $25,000. That’s why formal arbitration is best, as you could bring that cost down to $5,000 with that method.

You could also just do it yourself with help from services like Divorce, but mediation is rarely easy following the breakdown of a marriage.

Splitting Money and Responsibilities

Even if things do go smoothly, then you have to factor in the chaos involved with joint debts, credit accounts and banks, as well as items that you own together. If you have a joint account and one of the couple ends up in debt, then the other will suffer. If you accidentally leave a joint account open and just suppose they are dealing with it, only for them to avoid it, then you could both suffer financially.

Debt can escalate, credit can go out of control and settlements can be hard to reach. That’s before you factor in child payments.

Total Cost

The total average cost of a divorce is about $20,000. Not quite as high as the average for a marriage, but still a lot of money. It means that a marriage can cost as much as $50,000 in total!

On the plus side, while it’s heartbreak for the two people involved, it’s big money for wedding planners and divorce lawyers (https://parvinlaw.com/divorce-estate-planning/), and the latter seem to be enjoying a golden age right now.