When you are considering divorce, you may be concerned about how much it will cost. After you learn the average or more complex divorce costs in attorney fees and associated expenses, you may ask yourself if you can even afford to get a divorce. But knowing the approximate cost, you can better choose how to proceed.
Attorney fees vary widely, and the total cost of a divorce depends on multiple factors, including whether the spouses involved are combative or cooperative, extent of assets or lack thereof, existing property, alimony, child support and custody issues and more. With that in mind, this article provides some estimates and ideas about what a divorce may cost along with the variables that make our dollar predictions even greater.
Using Martindale-Nolo’s recent research, we’ve created an overview of what a divorce may typically cost in Connecticut.
A No-Asset, No Children Divorce without Alimony
If it’s a simple, no asset, uncontested divorce, especially when children aren’t involved, and neither spouse is seeking alimony, the cost could be as low as $159 if you handle the paperwork and filing yourself. However, for this case, if you still want an attorney to handle your divorce, the average hourly attorney fee in Connecticut is $290.
Regardless of the complexity of your divorce, attorney fees comprise the major cost, but expenses will rise with court filings, photocopying, document sharing and, when applicable, compensation for expert witnesses, financial analysts, property and real estate appraisers, tax advisors, child psychologists and custody evaluators, among other professionals.
Child Support and Custody
When spouses battle over custody of and financial support for minor children, this can become the most emotionally charged area of family law. When spouses can’t agree over child issues, often a lengthy, contentious fight will ensue. Hopefully, the respective attorneys can help them resolve their disagreement and come to a resolution. If that doesn’t occur, the dispute may be forced into court. In either case, contentious minor child disputes become very costly.
Moderate Assets and Property Division
The more factors involved in the dissolution of a marriage, the more expensive it becomes. To determine how to divide assets fairly (not necessarily equitably) will require more time and, therefore, higher costs. For a less complicated uncontested divorce, the total cost of a divorce in Connecticut averages $15,600.
High Net Worth, Property, Investments, Retirement, and Savings Accounts, Pensions
When marital assets include substantial property and/or spouses have brokerage, retirement and savings accounts, pensions and high-value vehicles among other goods that must be divided, the cost of an attorney may average $39,600, not necessarily including the cost of financial analyses needed from outside attorneys, appraisers, and tax experts.
At Fault Spouse
In Connecticut, if a marriage’s failure is alleged to be the fault of one spouse due to adultery, alcohol or drug abuse, domestic violence, emotional and mental abuse, desertion and/or any other spousal actions that the court considers would lead to failure of a marriage, the allegations must be proven. Assembling the evidence and documentation of an at-fault partner will raise the cost of attorney fees and may include an acquisition of costly depositions and production of official documents, which may further raise costs. If a spouse is found to be egregiously at fault for the failure of the marriage, the court may award the aggrieved spouse a greater portion of assets and alimony.
Because spouses often disagree about future financial obligations to one partner, alimony can become a contentious dispute that requires more attorney negotiation and resolution time. Typically, the more one spouse wants in alimony, the more the opposing spouse will pay to fight it. In the matter of alimony, when a spouse stayed home to raise children and missed professional opportunities or when one spouse earns significantly more than the other, a financial analyst may be required to evaluate whether and how much alimony one spouse should pay the other. This is likely to complicate the divorce negotiations and proceedings, raising the cost significantly.
While this article discusses the expected cost of a divorce, the more complicated it becomes, the higher the cost, making it impossible to predict a dollar cap, especially when complex, contentious divorce proceedings can last for years.
Generally, cost-wise, reaching a settlement to resolve spousal disputes before a trial becomes necessary is advisable. But when this isn’t possible, costs can rise into the tens of thousands.
To keep costs down, a spouse may choose to have an attorney handle a limited scope of divorce issues. For instance, perhaps they’ll hire the attorney only to negotiate alimony payments but not the division of property or negotiate child custody but not asset distribution. In one report, clients said they paid as little as $50/hour and as high as $600/hour. But the average cost of a divorce hovers around $15,600 to $39,600, depending upon the complexity of the divorce proceedings.
Attorney Bruce Gordon and his legal team know how difficult, stressful and painful a divorce can be. With the utmost sensitivity to your sensibilities and needs, we are dedicated to providing superior, compassionate, and skilled representation during your divorce while controlling, and when possible minimizing, costs. Or if you don’t yet know if a divorce is the best choice, we will be happy to sit down with you and discuss the options and variables.
Backed by 30 years’ experience representing hundreds of our Connecticut clients in divorce proceedings, we will vigorously work for what’s fairly yours and achieve the most optimal settlement possible.
For your free, understanding and respectful consultation with attorney Gordon, call 203.259.1100 24/7 to schedule a meeting at our conveniently located Southport office. Or, if you prefer, send us a confidential note about your concerns and questions on our contact form.