Cost of Divorce in Pennsylvania
- Average cost of a divorce in Pennsylvania
- Key facts about cost
- Uncontested divorce cost
- Contested divorce cost
- How to save money on your divorce
If you’re seeking a divorce in Pennsylvania, one of your main concerns will probably be the cost. And with good reason. Divorce can be a long, expensive road to travel, but there are ways you can make the process more cost-effective.
What’s the average price for a Pennsylvania divorce?
How much will your divorce cost? That’s difficult to say.
While many averages exist out there, depending on your source, the bottom line is that the financial toll of your divorce can be significant, averaging into the tens of thousands of dollars.
The cost of a divorce in Pennsylvania depends on many variables. But the most important of those variables is how well you and your spouse can cooperate with each other to agree on your settlement terms. That’s because the more you and your spouse must involve attorneys and the court system in your divorce case, the more expensive your divorce will be. And many of these costs are impossible to quantify until you’re in the midst of it.
Key facts about the cost of divorce in Pennsylvania
There’s no denying that the cost of divorce is staggering, but most people don’t consider just how staggering until they are well on their way.
- Consultation fee: Some attorneys charge a consultation fee just to talk to them before you file. Depending on the lawyer, you may be looking at a couple of hundred dollars for a consultation fee.
- Retainer: Your attorney will request a few thousand dollars as a retainer fee to begin the process.
- Hourly rate: Divorce attorneys in Pennsylvania charge a substantial hourly rate for their work, including phone calls, negotiations, evaluations, and court time. Work will be logged and taken against your retainer until that retainer is depleted. Your attorney may then ask for another lump retainer or bill you monthly for their services.
- Staff costs: You will also be charged for anything your lawyer’s staff members do for you, although this will be at a different hourly rate.
- Counseling costs: The cost of counseling, if the court orders it, can also add up.
These costs don’t account for your childcare or time away from work to meet with your attorney or go to court.
Your relationship may impact your cost
Your ability to work with your spouse impacts what kind of divorce you have and how much you will need to rely on the legal system.
You will have to agree on many issues to come to a settlement agreement. If you and your spouse have serious disagreements, it can be very difficult to compromise and cooperate without professional assistance. And this assistance is where most of your divorce costs will come into play.
Cost of uncontested divorce in Pennsylvania
First, let’s look at the less costly scenario of uncontested divorce.
An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse can come to the terms of your divorce without relying on the court to make those final decisions for you. An uncontested divorce can still utilize attorneys or mediation strategies to further negotiations and get to a place of agreement.
The cost of an uncontested divorce still includes filing fees. But the uncontested divorce process usually involves far fewer back-and-forth exchanges and fewer legal fees.
If you and your spouse can come to agreements without the cost of adversarial attorneys and court involvement, your Pennsylvania uncontested divorce will cost significantly less than a contested one.
Need help coming to an agreement on your divorce settlement? Don’t want to go to court? Learn about online divorce mediation.
Cost of contested divorce in Pennsylvania
A contested divorce means that you and your spouse have not been able to agree to the terms of their divorce, no matter what means were attempted. You will have a contested divorce if:
- You disagree about your marital property division.
- You disagree about who will have primary custody of your minor children or how you will divide parenting time.
- You disagree about how much child support should be paid.
- You disagree about whether one of you is entitled to spousal support or the amount of that support.
If you and your spouse can’t find a compromise to all of these terms, you may have to rely on a judge to decide for you.
The cost of a contested divorce can include filing fees, attorney fees, court costs, and any other costs you incur while trying to negotiate an agreement. Depending on the number of unresolved issues, the intensity of your disputes, and the involvement of your attorneys, the overall cost of contested divorce in Pennsylvania is typically far more significant than that of an uncontested divorce. It can run into tens of thousands of dollars.
How much is the divorce filing fee in Pennsylvania?
Filing for a divorce in Pennsylvania will cost between $350 and $450, depending on the county you are filing in.
How much does a divorce lawyer cost in Pennsylvania?
Divorce attorneys in Pennsylvania charge an average of $275 to $375 per hour for any work they do for you, including phone calls, negotiations, evaluations, and court time. Consequently, the costs of a divorce attorney can mount quickly in a contested divorce. The more contentious the divorce, the more money the attorneys stand to make.
Every state offers some form of legal aid. Read our article, How to Get Free Legal Help in Your State.
How can I save money on divorce?
If you and your spouse are pursuing a divorce in Pennsylvania, the best way to save money is to come to mutual agreements whenever possible.
The more you disagree, the higher the cost of your divorce will be. If you can work together to find a middle ground and agreeable terms you can both live with, an uncontested divorce will save money over a contested one. If a complete and total agreement isn’t possible, there are ways you can find a path to compromise with professional assistance.
In divorce mediation, you and your spouse work through your sticking points with the help of a professional mediator. A divorce mediator is a neutral third party trained to bring divorcing couples closer to mutual agreement. Divorce mediation can be far less costly than having two separate attorneys battling contentious issues.
Some divorce attorneys specialize in collaborative divorce. This means their focus is to help couples find a non-contentious middle ground on divorce issues using a combination of mediation and negotiation. Even when two attorneys are involved in a collaborative divorce, the cost of divorce can be significantly less than litigation when the focus is on compromise.
Try a DIY divorce in Pennsylvania
Have you considered a DIY divorce? At Hello Divorce, we have made it our mission to offer plans that make divorce more affordable and accessible. Even if you and your spouse aren’t completely in agreement, we have divorce attorneys and mediators avaialable to help get you closer to your goals. Schedule a free call to learn more about how we can save you money on your divorce.