How Financially Damaging is Divorce?

You’re getting divorced, or you’re contemplating going through the divorce process. How much is it going to cost you? How much damage will it do to your finances?

It's a legitimate concern. Divorce, if not handled judiciously, could create a significant dent in your financial armor. This blog will dissect the financial aspects of divorce, providing you with insights and tips to mitigate the monetary impact. 

Financial aspects of divorce that are negotiable

Negotiation is a huge component of the divorce process. In your divorce proceedings, with or without external help, you must go through the intricate task of dividing your shared assets. This can be an arduous and confusing process.

Some key assets are negotiable. What are these assets, and how might their negotiation impact your financial status post-divorce?

Real estate

When we discuss real estate, for most couples, the primary piece of property in this category is the family home. It usually forms a significant part of a couple’s assets.

In your divorce negotiation, you might sell the house and split the proceeds. Or, one party may buy out the other's share. Alternatively, if children are involved, the custodial parent might continue living in the house until the children reach adulthood.

Each option carries its own financial implications, and it's crucial to weigh these against your post-divorce financial plans.

Other types of property

Beyond your marital home, other significant pieces of property may include your vehicles, furniture, jewelry, and other valuable items obtained during the marriage. The division of these can be negotiated based on their value or sentimental attachment. 

Keep in mind that the distribution of assets between the two of you should aim for a balance. Neither party should be disproportionately disadvantaged.


Marital debt is another critical aspect to be divided in divorce. This includes shared mortgages, credit card debt, loans, and more. Both parties are typically responsible for any debt incurred during the marriage. You could negotiate who pays what, but do consider how this could impact your credit score and long-term financial health.

Retirement benefits

Retirement benefits can also be divided in a divorce. Factors such as the length of the marriage and the value of the individual retirement accounts can influence this division. You could negotiate for a fair share of these benefits, but be aware of the potential tax implications.

If you’re overwhelmed and need help with your division of assets, consider working with a certified divorce financial analyst. Read more about these specialists in our articles, What Is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst? and 4 Ways a CDFA Can Help You Win Your Divorce.

Alimony and child support

While not assets, alimony and child support are significant financial aspects in a divorce. These are determined by various factors such as income, employment, and child custody. Negotiating these payments can greatly affect your financial stability post-divorce.

Costs of divorce that are (somewhat) within your control

When navigating the financial maze of divorce, it's crucial to understand that certain costs are somewhat within your control. These hinge on your personal choices and circumstances, and while they might seem peripheral, their impact on your post-divorce financial health can be substantial.

Where you live

Your place of residence can significantly influence the financial outcome of your divorce. Different states have different divorce laws, affecting everything from asset division to alimony. 

If relocation is a possibility, it might be worth considering how the divorce laws in other jurisdictions may work more favorably for you. But remember that moving has its own set of expenses. And, to get divorced in a new state, you'd need to meet that state's residency requirements

Where you work

Your employment status and income level play a significant role in your divorce-related financial settlements. They influence child support and alimony payments as well as the division of assets. 

If you're contemplating a job change or career shift, consider the potential implications. A higher income might translate to a higher support obligation toward your children or ex. A significant drop in income could impact your ability to maintain your lifestyle post-divorce.

Lifestyle choices

After divorce, you might need to reassess your lifestyle choices. This could involve downsizing your home, modifying your spending habits, or even reevaluating your retirement plans. 

While these changes can be challenging, they offer an opportunity to establish a firm financial footing post-divorce.

Inevitable costs of divorce

Some divorce expenses are unavoidable. Understanding them is key to managing your finances during this challenging period.

Filing fees

The person who initiates a divorce proceeding must file a petition in court. This action comes with a filing fee, which varies by state and can range from $100 to over $400. In most cases, it’s a mandatory cost – the price of entry into the legal system for divorce proceedings.

Note: If you have a low-income or indigent status, you might qualify for a filing fee waiver

Attorney fees

If you choose to hire an attorney, be prepared for the accompanying fees. These can vary widely based on your location, the complexity of your case, and the attorney's experience. While attorneys provide valuable legal advice and representation, the cost can add up quickly, especially in contested divorces.

Mediator fees

Mediation is an alternative to traditional litigation. It’s appealing because it can be less contentious and less expensive than working with a divorce lawyer. A divorce mediator helps both parties reach a mutually agreeable settlement. 

While mediator fees can add to your divorce costs, they're often significantly lower than the potential cost of a protracted courtroom battle.

We’ve listed attorney fees and mediator fees as “inevitable” costs of divorce, but not all divorces need an attorney. You might be able to work out the logistics of the divorce on your own or with the help of an online divorce team like Hello Divorce. 

Solutions from Hello Divorce

Now, let's talk about solutions. At Hello Divorce, we understand that the costs of divorce can feel overwhelming. That's why we offer an affordable alternative. 

Even if you're currently in a contested divorce, our flat-rate mediators may help steer you toward an uncontested divorce, significantly reducing your final bill. Our services are cost-effective, providing the guidance you need without the hefty price tag often associated with divorce.

While some divorce costs are inevitable, they can be managed. By understanding your potential expenses and making informed decisions, you can navigate your divorce without unnecessary financial strain. 

At Hello Divorce, we're here to support you through this journey, offering affordable and accessible solutions tailored to your needs.

Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.