Divorce is painful, both on your emotions and on your finances. No matter whether your or your spouse filed, no one enjoys going through it. But while you cannot control how divorce makes you feel, you can find ways to make the financial hurt sting less.
You may think that divorces are expensive. They certainly can be. But understanding the costs that go into one can help you save money during the process.
In South Dakota, filing a simple divorce costs $95. Yet these costs could increase if you have children. You will incur fees every time you file a child support modification. And changing your name requires payment, too. While these sums seem small in the grand scheme of divorce, they can add up fast.
Both parties in a divorce need individual lawyers to help them work toward a fair settlement. If your split is amicable, your attorney’s fees could remain as low as $1,000. Keep in mind, though, that the average hourly rate for a divorce attorney is $270. And the more contentious your divorce becomes, the more you will pay for legal defense. The amount you pay also depends on the length you work with your attorney, and if you pay them hourly or through a retainer. And you may also have to pay them to file documents for you in court.
Mediation can save you from a costly court battle. The process does not eliminate other legal fees. But it can lead to a quicker, more amicable settlement, so long as that’s possible. Mediators charge between $100-300 per hour. If your divorce is straightforward, a mediator may cost you as little as $500, though the average national spend on one is around $1,500 per divorce.
Child custody evaluation fees
You and your spouse may not see eye to eye on a custody plan, even with the help of a mediator, the court or your attorneys. In this case, you will undergo a child custody evaluation. A government evaluation costs between $1,000-2,000, whereas a private one can exceed $10,000.
The grand total
Your divorce could cost you anywhere from $1,500 to over $15,000 – the average cost of a divorce in the United States. These figures might make you worry that getting divorced will bankrupt you. Working with a family law attorney can help you find a way to ease the process.