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Get a divorce FAQs

  • Do I need a lawyer to get a divorce?

    It is not required that you hire a lawyer to get a divorce. If you and your spouse communicate well and are not disagreeing on major topics, you can get a divorce without a lawyer. If you do not have children and minimal assets, it is even easier. You can complete a divorce worksheet together to decide on how assets and debts will be divided. You may also benefit from working with a mediator, which are much more affordable than lawyers.

    If you and your spouse are disagreeing on major topics such as child custody and division of large assets, you may benefit from hiring a lawyer. A lawyer can also help you discover assets and debts you may not have been aware of, which can be greatly beneficial if spouses have large variances in income and assets.

  • How much does it cost to get a divorce?

    Divorces can be financially and emotionally costly; however, some are actually quite low-cost. State filing fees vary, but a simple divorce may only cost you and your soon-to-be former spouse a few hundred dollars.

    Additional divorce costs may include:

    • Filing fees: $70+
    • Mediator: $100-$300 per hour
    • Child custody evaluation: $1,000+
    • Lawyer (flat-fee, uncontested): $1,000 to $5,000
    • Legal fees (contested, $250+ per hour): $15,000+
  • How long does it take to get a divorce?

    Many factors contribute to how long it may take for a divorce to finalize. Even if you and your spouse agree on everything, you still may be subject to mandatory "cooling off" or waiting periods and the time it takes the court to process your case. Sometimes the waiting period can be as long as six months.

    The time for a divorce to be finalized may be affected by:

    • Your state laws
    • Contention over the terms of the divorce
    • The time it takes to discover all assets and debt
    • The time it may take to assess property values
    • How long it takes to create an agreeable parenting plan, if applicable
    • The court schedule
    • A spouse filing a fault-based divorce
    • Inability to locate one of the spouses
    • Not satisfying the states residency requirements
  • How is spousal support calculated?

    State laws dictate how much spousal support may have to be paid, if at all. A spouse can also refuse spousal support, which should be in writing before final divorce papers are filed. If it is decided that spousal support should be paid, the judge may calculate the amount due based on a variety of factors including:

    • Wages of each spouse
    • Emotional and physical health of each spouse
    • Standard of living during the marriage
    • Length of the marriage
    • Earning capacity of each spouse

    The payments may be required for a set amount of time until the courts declare an end date, or until the receiving spouse remarries. Often the time is based on how long it may take the lower earning-spouse to be able to earn a living wage.

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