If you’re divorcing soon, you may be devastated – or thrilled. Often, divorces aren’t so terrible – it’s the weeks, months and years leading up to the dispiriting end of the marriage that can be gut-wrenching. But while your emotions may be all over the place, one thing is constant in all marriages that end: Divorce is expensive.
So what does your wallet have to look forward to during a divorce? We’ll give you a financial breakdown of a breakup.
Average Cost of a Divorce
It’s a fool’s errand to look at numbers and compare your expenses to what the “average” divorced couple will spend. If you’re rich, you’re going to spend a fortune, and perhaps it’ll be far more expensive than average. If you’re middle class, you won’t spend what wealthy couples spend, but it’ll still be unpleasant.
Still, if you want a number, many sources suggest $15,000 as a total cost of a divorce. The legal website Nolo.com suggests that the average total cost is $12,900, including $11,300 in attorney fees and $1,600 for court costs and fees for tax advisors, real estate appraisers and other experts.
Those numbers, though, are in many ways far too low – if you start thinking about the expenses you’ll incur due to, say, paying spousal support or losing a spouse’s health benefits and having to cover them on your own. Plus, you may go from a two-income household to one.
So if you’re looking for a better picture of the types of expenses you’ll likely need to budget for in a divorce, here are some of them.
How Much Divorce Attorney Fees Cost
As noted, they can be high. Demetria Graves, a certified family law specialist and managing partner of The Graves Law Firm in Los Angeles, says that if both spouses hire an attorney, costs can range from $2,500 to $50,000.
Assuming some smelling salts have now revived you, keep in mind that how much you spend on a divorce attorney depends, according to Graves, on whether you have a simple dissolution taking up about five hours of an attorney’s time or a much more complex one, taking up around 20 hours. It also is based on what you’ll pay to divorce in Los Angeles. If you live in a town with a lower cost of living, you’ll pay less.
Generally, you pay these fees, according to Graves, on a retainer. She says: “If your matter exceeds the retainer, you are charged at the hourly rate of anywhere from $200 to $2,000 an hour.”
How Much Court Filing Fees for a Divorce May Cost
Expect to pay at least several hundred dollars. Graves says that there’s the initial filing fee – in LA, that’s $435 – motion fees ($90 to $115 in Los Angeles) and court reporter fees. She adds: “Most attorneys charge for travel to court hearings, depositions, parking for court hearings.” Well, you get the idea.
Court filing fees, meanwhile, vary by location. In Indiana, the filing fee is $157. In Maine, it’s $120. In Kentucky, it’s $148 without an attorney and $153 with one. If you live in Alabama, you’ll pay $400, and in Kansas, also $400. You’ll just need to type your state into a search engine along with “court filing fee cost,” and you can find your state’s figure.
How Much Selling a Home Costs When You’re Divorcing
It’s impossible to say what you’re going to pay, but this is your most valuable asset, and so whether you’re keeping it or letting the other person have it, you want to handle this carefully.
Just one example of what to consider when selling a home in the midst of a divorce:
“Many times when divorcing, couples decide to split the plan to sell the marital home. But oftentimes the house may be in need of updates or repairs to make it market-ready. So if one spouse is staying in the home with the intent to sell, be sure to keep in mind repair costs and commissions when you are factoring in possible net proceeds,” says Kathy Helbig, owner and broker of Experience Realty Partners in St. Louis. Helbig is a certified divorce real estate expert and specializes in helping divorced couples sell their homes.
The Cost of Living Expenses During a Divorce
Of course, spouses need to weigh the cost before embarking on a cryptocurrency hunt. Before starting, a spouse may complete an analysis to gauge how much money they may be trying to track down.
Your household revenue may be slashed if you’re going from a two-income household to a one-income one, while your living expenses may continue pretty much as always. You’ll have to think about your rent or mortgage, car payments, utilities and all of your living expenses. You know that, of course, but make sure you’re thinking about this when you budget. You’ll also want to put aside money for emergencies.
If you’re going to be paying for spousal support or child support, that’s something else to budget for.
Original article by US News.