The much talked about incoming divorce tsunami has failed to hit our shores. Indeed, the divorce rate is at one of lowest levels we have seen in decades. Indeed, out of 1,000 marriages, only about 15 are ending in divorce, according to the Institute for Family Studies. Of course, this was still 746,000 divorces in 2021, and one of the biggest questions that come up before a couple files, is how much?
On average, throughout the country, couples pay about $10,000 each in legal fees over the course of the divorce. Children will greatly increase this number, according to 24/7 Wall St. and Self Financial, Inc.
The primary factor is wealth. The more wealth a couple accumulates, the more expensive a divorce will be. This is borne out in the fact that divorces are more expensive in higher income states, which is likely because the more wealth that is involved the more time, experts and court time is needed. Another key aggravating factor is children. On average, children increase the cost of divorce by nearly 40%.
Most and least expensive
As one of the highest income states, California has, by far, the most expensive divorce cost average at over $14,000. Conversely, Montana’s divorce cost is about $6,000.
What about New York?
Of course, our Westchester and White Plains, New York, readers want to know about our state. It likely comes as no surprise that New York is number two at $13,835 per spouse. With kids, that average balloons up to $18,853 per spouse, and without children, that average drops to $12,401 per spouse. Of course, these figures represent averages. Costs can vary greatly from one case to the next.
Keeping costs in check
In particular, high-asset divorces often cost much more. The process of dividing property in these cases is likely to be much more complex and time-consuming than for the average divorce, and so the costs are higher. The key for all couples is to keep divorce costs down is to make as many decisions as possible without the need for litigation or the intervention of a judge.