How much does a divorce cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does a divorce cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does a divorce cost?

$7,000 – $15,000average total cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$7,000 – $15,000 average total cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Jennifer Carlson
Written by
Jennifer Carlson
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tom Grupa

Average cost of a divorce

A divorce costs $7,000 to $15,000 on average. Contested divorces cost more and take longer than amicable, uncontested divorces. Filing the paperwork yourself costs $200 to $900 for a simple divorce if you have no children or major assets.

Average divorce cost
National Average Cost $11,000
Minimum Cost $1,500
Maximum Cost $50,000
Average Range $7,000 to $15,000

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Divorce lawyer cost per hour

A divorce lawyer charges $100 to $400 per hour, depending on the case length and complexity. An experienced attorney typically charges more than a newer lawyer.

Most divorce lawyers charge an hourly fee or work on retainer. A retainer fee is an upfront amount paid in advance before any casework begins, similar to a downpayment. Many lawyers will offer free consultations before taking on your case.

Divorce cost without a lawyer

A self-represented, or pro se, divorce costs $200 to $900 on average. If you agree on how to split assets, you can file the paperwork without a lawyer. Just be aware it is a time-consuming process and may be delayed if there are any mistakes in the paperwork.

Check your state's court website for specific pricing for fees. You will also have to pay for a process server to formally serve the divorce petition to your spouse.

Online divorce services cost $150 to $500 and will file paperwork for you, eliminating the stress of unfamiliar legal language and potential mistakes. These services ask questions and automatically generate the proper forms for an uncontested divorce.

A couple signing divorce papers
A couple signing divorce papers

Contested vs. uncontested divorce cost

Divorce lawyers charge more if you and your spouse disagree on major topics like asset division or child custody. Fees increase sharply when the divorce goes to trial one or more times. An uncontested divorce costs much less and is over more quickly.

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Contested vs. uncontested divorce cost
Divorce type Average cost
Uncontested $1,500 – $6,000
Contested $10,000 – $23,000

Factors affecting the cost of divorce

The following factors affect the overall cost:

  • Lawyer vs. mediatorDivorce mediation costs $2,000 to $8,000 or $150 to $500 per hour and can be used instead of or in addition to a divorce lawyer. If your divorce is amicable or your assets are simple, you may want to hire a mediator instead of a lawyer.

  • State – Overall costs vary depending on location. The cost of divorce in California or New York typically falls on the higher end of the price range, compared to less-populated states like Montana.

  • Filing fees – Your court will charge $75 to $450 to file your divorce paperwork. You can apply for a fee waiver if you can't afford to pay it.

  • Disputes – You can save a lot of money if you reach a settlement agreement on your own. The cost of a divorce lawyer mostly depends on the number of contested issues and whether you have to go to trial to resolve issues.

  • Financial complications – Dividing retirement accounts, investments, or getting a business valuation will increase costs.

  • Custody planning – Divorces involving custody, child support, and alimony tend to be more complicated.

A couple sitting with divorce papers.
A couple sitting with divorce papers.

Additional costs during divorce

Other expenses outside of court may include:

  • Moving costs – The average cost to hire a moving company is $1,500 to $4,300+, depending on the distance and the amount of items being moved. During a divorce, one or both spouses will need to pay for the cost to move to a new home.

  • TherapyTherapy costs $100 to $250 per session without insurance or $20 to $60 per session for the copay with insurance. Divorce is stressful, and it may be helpful to have a therapist work through it with you or your children.

  • Childcare – Many courts have free childcare centers. However, your children may be more comfortable staying in a familiar environment. The cost to hire a babysitter to watch your children during meetings or court appearances is $14 to $25+ per hour, depending on the number of children.

  • Real estate – If you own a home, you may have to hire an appraiser or realtor to sell property or refinance the mortgage.

Divorce FAQs

How expensive is a divorce?

A divorce costs $7,000 to $15,000 on average with a lawyer. Uncontested divorces with no issues or trials cost less and take less time than contested divorces.

How much does a simple divorce cost?

If your divorce is amicable and both parties agree on all major issues, a simple divorce may cost $1,500 to $6,000 with a lawyer. Filing the paperwork and completing the divorce yourself costs $200 to $900.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

It takes 6 to 18 months to get a divorce, depending on your location and the number of disputes. Some states have mandatory waiting periods before the divorce can be finalized. These vary widely, from 20 days to 18 months.

Are divorce records public?

Divorce records are public, although most courts limit access to divorce documents to some degree. The court may seal documents from cases involving sensitive topics like domestic violence, but that requires a request and approval.

Where do you file for divorce?

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Divorce paperwork is filed at the county courthouse where you live. Some states have a separate division for family court cases. Check your local court's website for specific instructions.

A couple signing divorce papers with a divorce attorney
A couple signing divorce papers with a divorce attorney

How to choose the right divorce lawyer

When hiring a divorce lawyer near you, follow these steps:

  • Get 3+ estimates from different firms to compare.

  • Read reviews about previous cases on Lawful and Google.

  • Choose a lawyer with a good reputation and experience.

  • Verify that they passed the bar and are able to represent you in court.

  • Pick a lawyer who makes you feel comfortable and respected.

  • Get a written contract before casework begins.

Questions to ask

Ask these questions when looking for a divorce lawyer near you:

  • How long have you been practicing law?

  • When did you pass the bar?

  • Do you give free consultations?

  • Are you able to take on new clients at this time?

  • Do you specialize in divorce cases?

  • What are your rates? Do you charge by the hour, or do you have a retainer fee?

  • Will you give me a contract in writing?