Cost of Divorce in Virginia
- Average cost of divorce in Virginia
- Key facts and factors
Virginia can be an expensive place to divorce, with the average divorce in Virginia costing nearly $15,000. Some divorces can cost even more, such as those that involve children.
But uncontested divorces cost much, much less. This is why it’s important to understand the specifics of a divorce to better estimate what it might cost. If you can avoid court by working out the details of your divorce via mediation, you can significantly reduce costs.
What is the average cost of a divorce in Virginia?
Divorce in Virginia leans toward the expensive side. The state is ranked ninth in the nation in terms of the average cost of divorce, with the average cost of a divorce without children coming in at about $14,500.
Key facts about the cost of divorce in Virginia
Here are some key facts to keep in mind regarding the cost of divorce in Virginia:
- The most expensive divorces are those that go to trial. However, this can usually be avoided if both parties are willing to work together and compromise.
- An uncontested divorce can easily cost one-tenth or less of what a contested divorce costs.
- While sometimes necessary, lawyers often significantly increase the cost of a divorce.
- If cost is a concern for you, the Virginia Poverty Law Center has a free online interview designed to see if you might be able to file for divorce without an attorney.
- If you can’t agree on some details of your settlement with your spouse, consider mediation. This conflict-resolution process can help you make compromises without going to court.
The type of divorce heavily impacts the overall cost
The type of divorce you get informs your total cost. Contested divorces cost a lot more than uncontested ones. In a contested divorce, parties cannot agree on issues related to their divorce such as custody or asset division. Because they can’t agree, they must go through a long legal process that ends with a judge deciding on the items in question for the parties.
An uncontested divorce is one where the divorcing parties do largely agree on the items that must be decided as part of their settlement. Both are willing to put that agreement into writing. While there may be some negotiation and discussion, it’s not a lengthy, complex legal battle. When possible, this is the ideal way to divorce because it can save you significant time and money.
Cost of uncontested divorce in Virginia
An uncontested divorce can cost divorcing parties under $1,000. It’s not usually necessary to hire attorneys for an uncontested divorce, so you would only have to pay court fees.
Cost of contested divorce in Virginia
As we mentioned, the average cost of a contested divorce in Virginia without children is $14,500. If the divorcing parties have children, the average cost is even higher, at around $21,800.
How much does it cost to file for divorce in Virginia?
The cost of filing for divorce depends on your county, but it usually costs under $100. For example, filing for divorce in Fairfax County costs $86. However, it would cost $108 to file in Fairfax if you also wanted to resume your maiden name.
Factors that affect the cost of a Virginia divorce
Some factors that affect the cost of a divorce include the following:
- Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested
- Whether one hires an attorney and, importantly, from what law firm the attorney is hired
- Whether mediation is chosen as a dispute resolution tool
- If the divorcing parties have a large, complicated estate or another complicated financial situation
- How cooperative the divorcing parties are when negotiating items relevant to their divorce
Cost-effective options for divorce in Virginia
Divorcing without a lawyer can be a major cost saver. This isn’t an option for all scenarios, however. Some divorces are legally complex (especially contested divorces), and a lawyer will be necessary to properly represent your interests.
But for uncontested divorces where you and the other party just want a fair, simple split of assets and agree on what that would look like, a lawyer may not be necessary.
Mediation is a cost-effective option if you don’t agree on some items that need to be settled in the divorce but are willing to negotiate.
ReferencesDivorce in Virginia. Pro Bono Net.
CCR-A-20 Civil Filing Fees and Instructions. (2023). Fairfax Circuit Court.
Divorce Costs Can Differ by Thousands of Dollars, Depending on Which State You Reside In. (January 2020). USA Today.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost in 2023? (July 2022). Forbes.