The average cost of an American divorce, according to Forbes magazine, is around $15,000 dollars. The costs can really start racking up the longer the divorce takes, the more complex it is and the more assets you have to divide up. As costs rise and tempers flare it isn’t unheard of for an “average” divorce to cost closer to $30,000 when all is said and done. Of course if you’re a pop star or one of the Kardashian’s then you’re divorce will probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars so I’m guessing we’re all secretly a little glad we’re just average Joe’s right about now.
There is a way to save your life savings from being sucked down the long slow drain of divorce and that solution is to do all of, or most of, the work yourself. The DIY divorce is becoming increasing popular these days as many divorces are caused by money issues to begin with.
In a typical divorce the majority of that $15,000 price tag is directly attributed to legal fees. It’s no secret, being a divorce attorney is a very lucrative business. Of course you couldn’t pay me enough to be the daily referee between The War of the Roses, so I think I’ll keep my own day job. However, if your list of goals for divorce doesn’t including sending your lawyer’s kids to college, and your divorce is amicable and pretty straight forward, doing things on your own could be a good solution for you.
The second most costly divorce item you can easily avoid is the court costs of going to trial. The average uncontested divorce doesn’t need to spend two days in court. You will still have to file paperwork with a court and that paperwork does have fees.
You can download free and nearly-free divorce paperwork online and depending on your state fee’s you can get the cost of your divorce all the way down to between $50 – $250 bucks. However, many people who start out on the DIY track do sometimes use services such as paralegals or mediators. These services range in price but are all ultimately lower cost than a traditional divorce.
The length of time your divorce takes can have both an emotional and financial toll on you as well. Each state has its own divorce laws that affect the total amount of time it takes for your divorce to become finalized. Lawyers and court proceedings will slow that time down to a turtle’s pace sometimes taking six months or more from start to finish. If you want to speed things up, ditch the lawyers and learn to work things out without them. For extra help you there are numerous lower costs services you can turn to for advice.
The cost of a divorce should not be prohibitive if separation is the only healthy option for your relationship. By handling your own divorce you can save time, money and a small sliver of sanity!