Can You Afford to Get Divorced?

Are you contemplating divorce but worried about the financial impact it could have on your life? Before you let the fear of financial hardships hold you back, take time to understand the true costs associated with divorce. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll feel confident as you make a decision and prepare for your future.

The cost of divorce

Let's break down the different types of fees related to divorce and explore ways you might reduce these costs.

Attorney fees

One of the most significant expenses in a divorce is hiring a lawyer to represent your interests in your settlement agreement. The average hourly rate for a divorce attorney ranges from $250 to $500, depending on the complexity of the case, where you live, and the attorney's experience. In more contentious divorces, legal fees can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars.

Fortunately, attorney fees are often avoidable. 

Filing fees

To start the divorce process, you'll need to pay a court filing fee. Court costs vary by jurisdiction but the average cost ranges from $100 to $400. Depending on your income, you may be able to get these fees reduced or eliminated.

Deposition fees

If your case requires depositions (formal interviews conducted under oath), you may incur additional expenses. Deposition fees can range from $500 to $2,000 per deposition, depending on the length and complexity of the testimony.

Mediation fees

Some couples choose divorce mediation as an alternative to litigation. Mediation fees typically range from $100 to $300 per hour, and the process can last several hours or even days, depending on the complexity of the issues involved.

Process-serving fees

To officially notify your spouse of the divorce proceedings, you'll need to hire a process server. These fees usually range from $50 to $150, depending on the location and difficulty of service.

Is there a way to reduce divorce costs? 

You may feel exasperated by the list of fees associated with divorce, especially if you’re watching your budget or trying to save money. Good news: There may be a way to significantly reduce your divorce costs. It depends on your situation. 

As mentioned earlier, if spouses cannot agree on property division, child custody, or other critical matters, the divorce process may require litigation and, thus, attorney fees. Indeed, the need for a divorce lawyer and battle time in court can significantly increase the total cost of a divorce.

In addition to a financial burden, divorce can take an emotional toll – especially an embittered and litigated one. In turn, this can lead to further expenses. Therapy and counseling services, for instance, can provide much-needed support during this challenging time, but these services may come at a cost.

Opting for an uncontested divorce, where both parties agree on all terms, can save a considerable amount of money. If compromising on your contested issues doesn’t seem possible, mediation may help you and your spouse resolve divorce terms, and mediation generally costs a lot less than a divorce attorney’s fees.

Are you looking for an affordable alternative to a high-cost divorce? Read about Hello Divorce’s flat fees and payment options here.

The cost of not getting divorced

Some people stay in their unhealthy marriages due to fear of change, societal pressures, financial concerns, or the belief that they can fix their partner or the relationship. But staying in a toxic, abusive, or unhappy marriage has a cost: depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor mental and emotional health, and sometimes poor physical health or safety.

The emotional strain of an unhappy marriage can manifest in physical symptoms, such as sleep disturbance, weight fluctuation, and chronic stress-related conditions.

The impact of an unhappy marriage extends beyond the couple: Children exposed to a hostile environment may develop emotional and behavioral issues, affecting their future relationships and overall well-being.

Recognizing the need for change and seeking help is a crucial step in addressing the problems of an unhappy marriage. Professional counselors and therapists can provide valuable guidance and support as you navigate these complex emotions and decisions. They can help you explore your feelings, identify unhealthy patterns, and develop strategies for coping with the challenges of leaving a toxic relationship.

Support groups can also play a vital role in the healing process. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can provide a sense of community, understanding, and encouragement, making it easier to navigate the emotional turmoil that often accompanies the end of an unhealthy marriage.

Read: Divorce Support Groups and Coping with Divorce

Solutions when money is tight

When money is tight, there are resources you can turn to. You may be able to get a fee waiver for divorce court fees. Explore your options for getting a divorce loan to help you cover the expenses. Legal aid could be an option when you need legal help but can't afford a lawyer. Finally, Hello Divorce offers affordable online divorce plans to help you resolve your divorce case as quickly and easily as possible.


Founder, CEO & Certified Family Law Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Insights, Legal Insights
After over a decade of experience as a Certified Family Law Specialist, Mediator and law firm owner, Erin was fed up with the inefficient and adversarial “divorce corp” industry and set out to transform how consumers navigate divorce - starting with the legal process. By automating the court bureaucracy and integrating expert support along the way, Hello Divorce levels the playing field between spouses so that they can sort things out fairly and avoid missteps. Her access to justice work has been recognized by the legal industry and beyond, with awards and recognition from the likes of Women Founders Network, TechCrunch, Vice, Forbes, American Bar Association and the Pro Bono Leadership award from Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Erin lives in California with her husband and two children, and is famously terrible at board games.