The CDC reports that the average divorce rate is down from 4 divorces per 1,000 marriages to 2.9 divorces per 1,000 marriages. Costs are causing many couples to be unable to divorce, leading to many couples staying separated yet not divorced.
A report shows that the cost of divorce varies on a case-by-case basis and greatly depends on the couple’s location.
The cost of divorce is highly dependent on who is hired to work through the proceedings, how long the divorce takes and how willing both spouses are to prolong the process. Bankrate reports that the average divorce costs in the US have risen to $15,000 per person. The survey conducted includes costs for filing for divorce, fees paid to attorneys, mediation fees, education classes and counseling or psychiatric evaluations, among other fees.
Costs also included refinancing fees, recording fees and additional fees paid to attorneys. The division of assets, and the costs associated with the process, were also included in the $15,000 figure.
Court filing costs had an average cost of $300, while attorney fees accounted for a minimum of $1,000. Contested divorces can cost $2,500+ on average, with cases that go to court taking just under 18 months to be completed. Out-of-court settlements can take 9 months, with many couples opting for divorce mediation to cut back on costs.
The majority of divorce cases, over 90%, end up with a settlement prior to going to court. Couples that go to trial can spend tens of thousands of dollars in court fees or even more, depending on the net worth of the couple and the duration of the divorce.
Mediators are recommended as an option of hiring an attorney and cost $100 to $200 per hour, or around half of the cost of an attorney. Mediation fees are an added expense when the couple cannot come to a divorce agreement and hire an attorney or go to trial.
Private therapy or counseling in an effort to save the marriage can cost $50 to $250 per hour. Parent education costs can range from $90 to $350.
Division of assets is a complex matter, with couples being required to pay lender fees, document fees and refinance the mortgage. Total average fees can be $1,000 to $3,000, with the average closing cost being 1.5% of the mortgage. A $200,000 mortgage would cost $3,000 in closing fees.
Alimony and child support fees are not included in the average cost and will add to the long-term costs of the divorce.
The report suggests that couples seek out mediation and come to an agreement out of court to save on divorce costs. Contested divorces or divorces where spouses do not agree to divorce terms and go to trial are the most expensive options. Mediators can help couples come to an agreement on divorce terms and settle before going to trial.
Divorces that include children add to the complexity and time of the divorce and can cost $16,000 or more per person. Nolo claims that the average divorce is around $15,500 per person.