How Much Does a Divorce Cost By State?
While many factors can change the overall cost, it is typical for each spouse to spend $10,000 or more to complete their divorce.
Keep in mind it is not just divorce attorney fees. You may also need to pay for things like:
- Filing at your county courthouse (filing fees per state are listed on this page)
- Education classes on the divorce process or co-parenting
- Mediation (this can replace attorney fees or be in addition to attorney fees)
- Psychiatric evaluations for adults or children
- Refinancing a mortgage
Cost Difference Between Uncontested and Contested Divorce
An uncontested divorce (or an amicable divorce that uses mediation) will typically cost less. An uncontested divorce is possible if you can negotiate together and agree on big-ticket items such as who keeps the house. If you want the court to help you determine how things are split (in a contested divorce), you will rack up additional attorney's fees.
Average Fees for a Divorce Lawyer
It is typical for new lawyers to charge $100+/hour and experienced attorneys to charge $300+/hour. You can expect to see outlier pricing that ranges from $30 to $500/hour as well.
Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. The cheapest attorney per hour might need to spend more time researching the law than someone who has been practicing for years, and may not have the same level of know-how regarding the process and courts.
Do Divorce Lawyers Offer Payment Plans?
Yes, most law firms or independent attorneys understand that an average divorce costs a large sum of money, and may need a payment plan.
There are no state laws on offering payment plans, so this is solely up the firm you want to hire. Ask them in your first meeting if they offer payment plans.
Attorney Fee Factors in Divorce Costs
In every state, a variety of factors will change the hours required to negotiate and find a divorce agreement such as:
- Child custody
- Amount of property
- Tax advice
- Alimony (spousal support)
Consider how complex your divorce is when estimating how much it might cost. If you and your spouse own a lot of property and don't agree on its division, for example, you are looking at a longer and more costly divorce. The same is often true in divorces with children.
Divorce Filing Fees and Typical Attorney Fees by State
Average Filing Fees
Other Divorce Costs and Attorney Fees
|Alabama||$400 ($50 administrative fee included)||Average fees: $10,000|
|Alaska||$250 (additional $75 fee to file a modification for child custody, visitation, or support, or for spousal maintenance or property division)||Average fees: $10,000+|
|Arizona||$280||Average fees: $10,000+|
|Arkansas||$165||Average fees: $8,000+|
|California||$435 (Ask for a fee waiver)||Average fees: $14,000|
|Colorado||$230||Average fees: $11,000+|
|Connecticut||$360 (excluding paternity legal action)||Average fees: $12,000+|
|Delaware||$165||Average fees: $12,000+|
|District of Columbia (Washington D.C.)||$80||Average fees: $10,000|
|Florida||$409 (Cost changes per county. Example from Duval County Circuit.)||Average fees: $10,000+|
|Georgia||$400||Average fees: $11,000+|
|Hawaii||$215 (without minor children), $265 (with minor children)||Average fees: $9,000+|
|Idaho||$154 (without minor children), $207 (with minor children)||Average fees: $8,000+|
|Illinois||$334 (District specific fees. This example is from Lake County Circuit.)||Average fees: $10,000+|
|Indiana||$157||Average fees: $9,000|
|Iowa||$185||Average fees: $9,000+|
|Kansas||$400||Average fees: $8,000+|
|Kentucky||$148 (without an attorney), $153 (with an attorney)||Average fees: $8,000+|
|Louisiana||$150 to $250||Average fees: $10,000|
|Maine||$120||Average fees: $8,000+|
|Maryland||$165||Average fees: $11,000|
|Massachusetts||$200||Average fees: $12,000+|
|Michigan||$175 (without minor children), $255 (with minor children) (District specific fees. This example is from Wayne County Circuit.)||Average fees: $10,000+|
|Minnesota||$365||Average fees: $9,000|
|Mississippi||$400||Average fees:: $8,000+|
|Missouri||$133.50 (without minor children), $233.50 (with minor children) (District specific fees. This example is from Jefferson County Circuit.)||Average fees: $10,000+|
|Montana||$170||Average fees: $6,000+|
|Nebraska||$158||Average fees: $8,000+|
|Nevada||$217 (first appearance), $299 (joint petition)||Average fees: $10,000+|
|New Hampshire||$400||Average fees: $9,000+|
|New Jersey||$300||Average fees: $12,000+|
|New Mexico||$137||Average fees: $6,500+|
|New York||$335||Average fees: $13,500+|
|North Carolina||$75 (absolute divorce), $150 (for civil cases in district court)||Average fees: $10,000+|
|North Dakota||$80||Average fees: $8,000+|
|Ohio||$350 (District specific fees. This example is from Washington County Circuit.)||Average fees: $9,000+|
|Oklahoma||$183||Average fees: $9,000+|
|Oregon||$301||Average fees: $10,000|
|Pennsylvania||$201.75||Average fees: $11,000+|
|Puerto Rico||$400||Average fees: $10,000|
|Rhode Island||$400||Average fees: $10,000+|
|South Carolina||$150||Average fees: $10,000|
|South Dakota||$95||Average fees: $8,500+|
|Tennessee||$184.50 (without minor children), $259.50 (with minor children)||Average fees: $9,500+|
|Texas||$300 (depending on child support or custody factors)||Average fees: $12,500|
|Utah||$325||Average fees: $10,400|
|Vermont||$90 (if you are a resident of the state), $295 (without a stipulation)||Average fees: $9,000|
|Virginia||Use this calculator to find your district's fees.||Average fees: $11,500|
|Washington||$314||Average fees: $10,000+|
|West Virginia||$134||Average fees: $8,000+|
|Wisconsin||$184.50 (with no child support or alimony), $194.50 (with child support or alimony)||Average fees: $8,500+|
|Wyoming||$85 (District specific fees. This example is from Laramie County Circuit.)||Average fees: $9,000|
*You should expect small differences in fees for photocopies, notary fees mailing, process server fees, judge's funds, and other charges. These are specific to the state and county where you file.
**Fees are always changing per state and county. Contacting your county clerk's office is the best way to find accurate fees.
Getting a Divorce When You Don't Have The Money
While the costs seem high, an important takeaway is that divorce is still attainable. Do not refuse to get a divorce just because you cannot afford it. You may be able to reduce costs by:
- Asking your attorney for an affordable payment plan
- Discussing tactics to reduce time in court with your attorney
- Resolving issues through divorce mediation
- Working with a lawyer on just some parts of your case (this is called limited scope representation)
- Getting free advice at a family law clinic (available at some family law courts)
- Speaking with a legal aid organization to see if you qualify for free services
Many attorneys offer free consultations, so it is doesn't hurt to call one or more experienced divorce lawyers in your area to discuss your divorce. During your consultation, ask them how much they charge and how much time they think your divorce might take.
Note: If you are facing abuse or domestic violence and want a divorce, talk to the police and an attorney immediately.