You probably expect your divorce to be expensive, but you may have a little “sticker shock” once you actually start to tally things up.
That’s usually because people only calculate the cost of filing fees and retainers into their original cost estimates. They aren’t thinking about a lot of “hidden” expenses they’re about to face.
Where does the money go?
It’s estimated that the average cost of a divorce in the United States costs somewhere in the range of $15,000 to $20,000 – although individual costs can certainly be higher or lower.
You can definitely reduce your costs by working with your spouse to resolve all of the details of your split without court intervention so that you can have an uncontested divorce. If your divorce is contested (litigated), however, it’s not unusual for a divorce to hit the six-figure mark.
Some of the divorce costs you may not see coming, though. For example, the following expenses often take couples by surprise:
- Refinancing costs: Are you keeping the house? You’ll probably have to refinance it so that your spouse’s name is no longer on the mortgage, and that costs money. So does refinancing your car if it was jointly owned prior to your split.
- Paying off debts: Do you have any joint credit cards or loans with your spouse? You may need to pay those off before your split is final so that you and your spouse have no more shared liabilities.
- New accommodations: Are you moving? You have to put down a security deposit, hire movers or rent a truck and pay for new utility hookups and deposits.
- New furniture and household goods: You’re probably splitting the household items and furniture with your ex-spouse, but that means either buying new items or doing without.
Mitigating your expenses when you’re divorcing isn’t easy, but it can help to have experienced legal guidance from the start. The right support can make it easier to see what you need to handle first, and what expenses can actually wait a little.