If your marriage woes have come to a head and separation seems to be the only option you have left, consider the state you’re living in before filing for divorce. Depending on the state you’re from, the cost of a divorce in the United States can range anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000, mostly because of varying divorce lawyers’ fees. Divorce laws also vary between states, and couples who live in states where lawyers charge less and divorces take less time to resolve have a much smoother experience than those don’t. Conversely, couples who live in states with complicated divorce laws and lawyers who charge higher fees have no choice but to pay thousands to dissolve their marriages.
GOBankingRates, a financial advice website, recently released the results of a survey showing the best and worst states to file a divorce. For its criteria, the survey included filing fees, lawyers’ fees, and divorce laws across all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia.
The Most Expensive States for a Divorce
California takes the top spot on GOBankingRates’ list of most expensive cities to file a divorce. At $435, California has the highest divorce filing fee in the United States, while the average hourly rate of $402 for a divorce lawyer is the country’s third highest. On average, divorces take at least 6 months to resolve.
Coming in at second place is New Jersey, where a divorce will set you back $300 in filing fees and $365 an hour for your divorce lawyer. New Jersey, however, stands out for the average length of divorce proceedings, where they normally run at least 12 months to complete. Perhaps it’s why this state has the lowest marriage rates in the country, with only 5.4 married couples in every 1,000 residents, according to data from the CDC.
The Cheapest States for a Divorce
Maine offers one of the lowest divorce fees in the country. At $120, it has the eight-lowest filing cost, as well as the fifth-lowest average rate, at $207, for hourly lawyers’ fees in the United States. Separating couples can also breathe a sigh of relief thanks to the state’s 60-day average processing time for divorces.
Although filing fees are a bit higher in Texas, Texas does allow for divorces to be finalized after a 60-day waiting period. Making it possible to complete divorces pretty quickly as well.
South Dakota is the third most affordable state for divorces, with the filing fee of $95 and hourly divorce lawyer fee of $262 well below the national average. Divorces in South Dakota also resolve quickly, adding up to cost-effective separations.
The Award for Cheapest State Goes to
Filing for a divorce in Wyoming will only set you back $70 in some court districts, a mere third of the $215 national average and the lowest in the entire country. Wyoming’s divorce lawyers also charge an average of $187 an hour, which is 36% lower than the U.S. average of $294.
To learn more about your options for filing a divorce in your state, talk to the divorce and family law experts of Lyttle Law Firm. Visit our website or call our offices at 512-215-5225 to schedule a consultation.