How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

Plenty of people think about divorce. In one study, one in four spouses thought about divorce in the prior six months. If you're considering a split, you're not alone. But you must also think about how much a divorce costs and how to keep those costs down. 

The median cost of an American divorce is $7,000. But your final fee could go up or down based on plenty of variables, including some you can control. 

In general, the best way to keep your costs down is to stay out of the courtroom. The more you can collaborate with your partner, the less you'll spend on the divorce. If you can't stay out of court, hiring only a few experts and handling details yourself can also help you reduce your overall cost. 

💡 Quick Tip: 95% of divorce cases settle out of court meaning you may not need an attorney at all saving you thousands. Speak with our info call team to find out how: Schedule Now

What factors impact the cost of a divorce?

How much will you pay to split with your partner? Will the final bill be the same as one you paid for a car or one you paid for a bicycle? While every divorce is different, fees tend to fluctuate due to a few shared factors. 

Type of divorce

While every divorce results in a split, plenty of paths lead to that destination. You could choose from the following options:

  • DIY divorce: The cheapest way to split with your partner is to engage in a DIY divorce, in which you settle all of your issues together, file the paperwork, and move on without the help of lawyers or other outsiders. 
  • Collaborative divorce: You both hire lawyers, and you work through the divorce without entering the courtroom. This option can save a lot of money, too. 
  • Standard divorce: You enter a courtroom with lawyers and handle the estate with their help. This is the most expensive way to split.

Know that these categories aren't exclusive. Some couples pull tactics from one and use them in another. 

Complexity of the case

Couples with few assets and debts have little to argue over. But if you share many properties, lots of obligations, and several children, you have multiple problems to sort through. Cases like this tend to cost more than their simpler cousins. 

Couple's relationship 

Stereotypical divorcing couples argue over everything. Reality is more complicated. For example, up to 15% of couples reconcile after they separate. 

Couples that can communicate, collaborate, and connect tend to spend less money on a divorce than couples who argue over every single thing. You don't have to harbor plans to get back together to work together. You just must be committed to the process and your future. If you can cooperate, it makes for a smoother resolution. 

Your state

Filing fees, lawyer rates, and more can vary from one location to another. If you live in an expensive and populous state, you’re likely to pay more than those in other locations. 

💡 Quick Tip: A software-led process combined with divorce specialists can help make things more affordable, less stressful and more efficient. Speak with our info call team to learn more: Schedule Now


Typical divorce vs. DIY: What’s the cost?

Significant cost differences separate a typical, courtroom-based divorce from the DIY version. If you're hoping to save money, the easiest way to do that is to opt for DIY. 

Experts say a typical court divorce can come with a price tag in the high five digits. A DIY divorce, on the other hand, could cost just $200. Our plans start at $400 and involve a combination of DIY guided form-filling software and personal support from a dedicated team member for your case.

Why does a court divorce cost so much? Far more people, processes, and steps are involved.

Associated Costs

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Filing fees





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Expert witnesses

Often needed

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Time away from work


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Filing fees are the only expenses that these two divorce types share. If you move forward with a typical divorce, you have so much more to pay for. 

How much does a divorce lawyer cost?

If you opt for a typical divorce, both parties must hire lawyers. That one decision could add up to big fees. 

On average, attorneys charge $391 per hour and up. Your case could take hours to prepare for, and your attorney must spend time in court too. 

Your lawyer could charge more due to the following:

  • Experience
  • The complexity of your case
  • Billing type (hourly or per case)

The more high-powered your lawyer, the bigger your bill will be. 

💡 Quick Tip: We know Hello Divorce's process may not be a fit for everyone. That is why we teamed up with Marble to give you 10% off if you are considering using a lawyer: Learn More

4 other divorce expenses

While lawyers represent a large part of your divorce budget, most couples face additional expenses as they prepare to split in court. Those fees typically fall into one of four categories. 

1. Real estate appraisals

How much is your house worth? How much is your rental property worth? What about your vacation home? Until you understand the true value of your real estate holdings, you can't split your property equitably. 

Couples that can't agree on property disbursement hire experts to appraise each property, and that work comes with a hefty fee.

2. Mediation

Couples hoping to shorten courtroom time can hire mediators to work through difficult issues like child custody and spousal support. Most mediators charge between $200 and $800 for their services, and the more couples have to discuss, the more they'll pay.

In some states, mediation is mandatory for couples with children. Sometimes, the states will cover those costs, but sometimes, parents must pay. 

3. Therapists

In extended custody battles, parents look for proof that a child will live a better life with one partner instead of the other. Therapists can provide that expertise, but they can charge $250 or more per session. If you ask these professionals to come to court, they will usually charge for their time there too. 

4. Accountants

Has your spouse reported all sources of income, or is something hiding? How much is a retirement package worth? 

Accountants can answer these questions, and they can play an important role in a contested divorce. But they can charge high fees too. 

Three other ways to lower the cost of your divorce 

Staying out of court and hiring only a few outsiders can keep costs low. If that's not possible, you can still ensure you don't pay too much to split. These options may help:

1. Negotiate with your partner

Clear, effective communication between two people isn't always easy. But the more you can talk with your spouse and work things through together, the less you will spend. 

Pick just one or two tough topics and work them out together. You could build on that momentum and settle all your differences without ever going to court. 

2. Use attorneys sparingly

You're not required to hire a lawyer to help you with the entire divorce process. Your attorney could help with one aspect (such as child custody) while you negotiate with your partner about everything else. 

3. Try separation first

Emotions run high in the months following your split, and it's hard to think clearly. Separation could help you get a handle on how you feel and what you want. When you've had time to cool off, you can start the divorce process with a cooler head. 

Most states have some type of separation process available, which could save you a lot of money. You may want to investigate this option first.


How Many Married People Have Thought About Divorce? (November 2015). Institute for Family Studies.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost in 2023? (July 2022). Forbes
Divorce Dilemma: Settle or Go to Trial? (February 2020). Forbes
Why Many Divorced Partners End Up Remarrying Each Other. (June 2022). Psychology Today. 
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost? (October 2022). MetLife. 
How Much Does Mediation Cost? CostHelper. 
Have You Budgeted Enough for Your Kids' Mental Health Needs? If Not, Here's How to Start in 2022. (July 2022). Parents.

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.