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Good Luck Getting a Divorce If You Live in One of These States

Gabrielle Olya

Getting a divorce can be emotionally draining — and it can also drain your bank account. Between filing fees, attorney’s fees and other costs, you should expect to spend thousands of dollars to end a marriage.

The cost of divorce is higher in some states than others, however, and you should have an idea of how much you could be on the line for if you file in your state. GOBankingRates looked at the average court filing fees and average attorney’s fees in each state plus Washington, D.C., to determine the 20 most expensive states to get divorced.

20. Nevada

  • Average divorce filing fee: $225
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $10,800

Although the court doesn’t require you to hire a divorce attorney, many people need one to help them sort through their case. And with average fees of over $10,000 in Nevada, attorney’s fees are one of the biggest costs of divorce.

19. Arizona

  • Average divorce filing fee: $256
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $10,300

After you file for divorce in Arizona, there’s a 60-day “cooling off” period before it can be finalized.

18. Georgia

  • Average divorce filing fee: $200
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $11,600

It’s pricey to get a divorce in Georgia. Being realistic about how much the process will cost is one of the main things you need to know about money as you divorce.

17. Delaware

  • Average divorce filing fee: $155
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $12,800

If you want to get a divorce in Delaware and you’re a mom or dad, you’re required to take a parent education class. The divorce won’t be processed until you obtain a certificate of completion.

16. Colorado

  • Average divorce filing fee: $230
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $11,400

Before you file taxes for the first time as a divorced parent in Colorado — or anywhere else in the U.S. — make sure you understand who claims the children under the new tax laws.

15. Pennsylvania

  • Average divorce filing fee: $250
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $11,300

You should be prepared to pay more than the divorce filing fee and attorney’s fees if you’re getting a divorce in Pennsylvania or elsewhere. There could be additional costs for hearings about alimony, child support and marital property. According to the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, these costs can be very high. However, people who have low income and little money to pay court costs might be excused from paying these fees.

14. Massachusetts

  • Average divorce filing fee: $200
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $12,600

Whether you’re filing for divorce in Massachusetts or another state, any divorce lawyer will tell you that it’s essential to plan for your post-divorce finances before filing. Find out more secrets only divorce attorneys know.

13. Louisiana

  • Average divorce filing fee: $325
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $10,000

In Louisiana, spouses who have minor children must live apart for a full year before a divorce will be granted, according to HG.org. The exceptions to this rule are if a spouse committed adultery or a felony.

12. Oregon

  • Average divorce filing fee: $325
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $10,000

If you weren’t in charge of your marital finances before splitting up, going through a divorce might force you to really look at your money. If you’re separating in Oregon, be prepared to lose a lot of that money through the process of actually getting the divorce.

11. Illinois

  • Average divorce filing fee: $289
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $10,900

Illinois couples who have been married for less than eight years and don’t have children might qualify for a “joint simplified dissolution of marriage,” which is easier to obtain than a traditional divorce. Couples who choose this method must meet income requirements and sign an agreement to divide their marital assets.

10. District of Columbia

  • Average divorce filing fee: $120
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $14,800

Be ready to pay your divorce lawyer big bucks if you split in Washington, D.C. The capital city has the highest average divorce attorney’s fees in the U.S.

9. Utah

  • Average divorce filing fee: $320
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $10,400

Beware if you live in Utah and work as a logistician — it’s one of the careers that are most likely to lead to a divorce. And, if you file in Utah, you’ll be spending a lot on the proceedings. 

8. Washington

  • Average divorce filing fee: $314
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $10,600

In Washington, the division of property and assets that occurs as part of divorce proceedings isn’t always a 50-50 split. That’s because “an ‘equitable’ division is not always an ‘equal’ division,” according to the state’s Family Law Handbook. It states: “The court may divide property and debts unequally for a number of reasons. For example, the court might give one spouse less than 50 percent of the assets if that spouse can recover from the economic setback of the divorce faster than the other.”

7. Minnesota

  • Average divorce filing fee: $405
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $9,000

If you’re a baby boomer, your chances for divorce have doubled since the 1990s. And, if you’re a baby boomer getting divorced in Minnesota, you’ll pay about $9,400 between filing fees and attorney’s fees.

6. New York

  • Average divorce filing fee: $210
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $13,500

If you want to avoid paying hefty attorney’s fees in New York, you can opt for a divorce mediation, which occurs out of court and can save you money and stress. In divorce mediation, a neutral third party helps the couple reach a mutually agreeable settlement. 

5. New Jersey

  • Average divorce filing fee: $300
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $12,300

New Jersey is one of the states that accept “no-fault” divorces, in which neither spouse has to prove that the other is responsible for causing the marriage to end. No-fault divorces can be granted on the basis of separation or irreconcilable differences.

 

4. Texas

  • Average divorce filing fee: $300
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $12,400

If you’re filing for divorce in Texas, you’re one of many. According to Texas Legal, 75,000 people in the Lone Star State get divorced each year.

3. Florida

  • Average divorce filing fee: $380
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $10,700

Attorney’s fees can be high in Florida, but it’s important to note that it’s illegal for a divorce attorney to work on a contingency fee basis — which means that the attorney’s fee is based on a percentage of the amount awarded to the client — according to the Florida Bar. 

 

2. Connecticut

  • Average divorce filing fee: $360
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $12,200

Connecticut is one of the few states that don’t differentiate between marital and separate property when dividing assets, according to Legal Zoom, so keep that in mind when filing for divorce. It means that even if you bought a house before you were married, your spouse might still be entitled to a portion of its value.

1. California

  • Average divorce filing fee: $435
  • Average divorce attorney’s fee: $13,800

Overall, California is the most expensive state to file for divorce. The Golden State has the highest average divorce filing fee and the second-highest average divorce attorney’s fees of all the states.

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Methodology: These findings are the result of a GOBankingRates study of divorce fees and conditions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey used two fundamental criteria to generate rankings for all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The first was court fee to file a divorce, collected from local court sites and online fee schedules. Some states have flat rates, but most have filing fees that vary locally by county. Fees were sourced from individual state and county court websites. For states that don’t have a flat rate, the average of the range of local divorce filing fees was taken. The second was average attorneys’ fees, sourced from Lawyers.com. All data was sourced on Jan. 24, 2019.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Good Luck Getting a Divorce If You Live in One of These States