How Much Can a Divorce Cost?
Lawsuits cost money. Divorces cost money. Unfortunately, there’s no way around it. There are ways to limit the costs of a divorce, but there will typically be some costs involved. If the parties have few assets and agree on all matters pertaining to the divorce, the costs should be minimal. If, on the other hand, the parties have significant, complex assets and disagree about many issues including property division, child custody, and support, then costs are likely to be much higher. The longer and more involved the court proceeding, the more expensive the divorce will be. Reach out to a seasoned Bronx divorce attorney with any questions or for assistance if you are considering divorce in New York.
Costs of a Typical Divorce
The cost of a divorce will vary wildly depending on the nature of the parties, their circumstances, and their relationship. Parties with few assets and few disagreements can proceed through the divorce relatively quickly and with fewer costs. Parties with complex assets and who continue to disagree, prolonging the court proceedings, are likely to incur much more significant costs. Parties who take the case to trial can expect to spend a lot of cash.
Divorce costs rack up quickly. Each party can and should retain its own divorce attorney, especially if the divorce is contested. Divorce lawyers typically cost between $300 and $400 per hour in New York, although for tasks that paralegals can handle (making copies, mailing discovery requests, etc.), they’ll likely charge a lower rate. Parties will also need to pay fees for any experts they retain for the case or their own personal advice, including actuaries, real estate appraisers, accountants, and others. If there’s a dispute about child custody, the parties might need to retain child psychology experts and others to testify. All of these experts are likely to charge several hundred dollars per hour for their services. Of course, parties who do not hire an attorney or retain the appropriate experts will likely lose out on more of their assets and their money as a result; there’s a reason people pay for these services.
In addition to the experts, parties will need to cover court costs (filing fees, motion fees, etc.) and costs for obtaining and producing documents. If you need to obtain records from credit card companies or financial institutions to make your case or provide full disclosure to your spouse, you’ll likely need to compensate these companies.
Again, the sooner the parties can reach an agreement, the more limited the costs will be. Alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation used to reach a settlement before filing can also help limit costs. If the parties proceed all the way to trial, however, they can expect to incur tens of thousands of dollars each in attorney fees, expert fees, and other costs, if not more.
Cost of an Uncontested Divorce
Uncontested divorces are far quicker and much cheaper than a standard, contested divorce. An uncontested divorce is a special divorce proceeding in New York that is available when both parties agree to end their marriage, agree on the grounds for divorce (typically, no-fault), and have settled all major issues in the divorce, including property division, child custody, spousal support, and alimony. The parties must file appropriate documentation showing their agreement and complying with court procedure. If everything is in order and the parties agree, the parties can typically avoid even having to appear in court.
In an uncontested divorce, the parties will still need to fill out the relevant paperwork, get both parties to sign, and file with the county clerk. One party will need to pay the filing fee and other relevant court costs, which will be at least $335. If the parties have little or no shared property and no children, there should not be much added cost. Parties with limited income may be able to obtain a fee waiver. Many lawyers will charge a flat fee to help parties file an uncontested divorce if all of the issues have been resolved.
If the parties have significant assets, however, they will still need to incur other costs to reach a proper settlement. If the parties wish to be thorough about their settlement, they’ll want to retain attorneys, consult with accounts and tax experts, and ensure that they cover all bases. Fees for all of those, as well as obtaining and producing copies of financial documents to one another, can cost a few thousand dollars in total (depending on the complexity of the assets and other matters involved), but will still run lower than the costs of a full contested divorce.
Trusted Legal Advice and Representation For Your Bronx Divorce
If you are considering divorce in New York, talk to an experienced and considered New York divorce attorney at the Bronx offices of the Kohn Law Firm at 718-409-1200.