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The Most and Least Expensive States for Divorce

Before you decide to file for divorce, it’s important to find out exactly how much a divorce costs so you can budget accordingly. The average divorce filing fee in the U.S. is $215, and the average divorce attorney’s fees are $10,180. However, the cost of divorce varies greatly from state to state, and some are much more expensive than others.

To determine the most and least expensive states for divorce, GOBankingRates compared the average divorce filing and attorney fees across the country. Starting with the most expensive states, see how much it costs to get a divorce in your state.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Most and Least Expensive States for Divorce

Before you decide to file for divorce, it’s important to find out exactly how much a divorce costs so you can budget accordingly. The average divorce filing fee in the U.S. is $215, and the average divorce attorney’s fees are $10,180. However, the cost of divorce varies greatly from state to state, and some are much more expensive than others.

To determine the most and least expensive states for divorce, GOBankingRates compared the average divorce filing and attorney fees across the country. Starting with the most expensive states, see how much it costs to get a divorce in your state.

51. California

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

California has the highest average divorce filing fee and the second-highest average divorce attorney’s fees in the U.S., making it the most expensive state overall to get a divorce. In fact, here are some of the most expensive divorces that rocked Hollywood.

50. Connecticut

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

Connecticut has the fourth-highest average divorce filing fee as well as the eighth-highest average divorce attorney’s fees when compared to other states.

With other high expenses, Connecticut is also one of the worst states for the middle class, according to separate GOBankingRates study.

49. Florida

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

The average cost to file for divorce in Florida is the third-highest of any state, making it one of the most expensive states for divorce.

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48. Texas

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

Texas is one of the most expensive states to obtain a divorce due to its high average divorce attorney’s fees. The fees are the sixth-highest in the nation.

47. New Jersey

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

New Jersey’s average divorce filing fee and divorce attorney’s fees are both among the top 10 most expensive in the U.S. Inside Gov ranked N.J. the second-worst state for divorce because of its high fees and long processing times — the minimum total processing time for a divorce in the state is 360 days.

46. New York

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

New York’s divorce filing fees are just below the national average. But, its average divorce attorney’s fees rank third-highest of all the states, which keeps New York among the 10 most expensive states for divorce.

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45. Minnesota

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

You’ll have to pay a hefty fee to file for divorce in Minnesota. The state has the second-highest average filing fee in the U.S.

44. Washington

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

Washington has the eighth-highest average divorce filing fees in the U.S., making it one of the most expensive states for divorce.

43. Utah

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

Utah’s average divorce filing fee is the seventh-highest of all the states. For divorce attorney’s fees, Utah is No. 20, but overall it’s still a very expensive state for divorce.

42. Washington, D.C.

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

Hiring a divorce attorney can be a large financial burden in Washington, D.C., where the average divorce attorney’s fees are the highest in the U.S.

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41. Illinois

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

Both the divorce filing fee and divorce attorney’s fees in Illinois are above the national average, placing it in the 10 most expensive states for divorce.

40. Oregon

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

Save money on divorce — even in expensive states like Oregon — by taking advantage of some of the secrets only divorce attorneys know, such as writing off alimony payments on your taxes.

39. Louisiana

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

If you want to save on Louisiana’s divorce attorney fees, consider using a mediator instead. A mediator facilitates an agreement, rather than working on behalf of either party.

38. Massachusetts

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

In Massachusetts, the filing fee is below the national average, but the attorney’s fees are high. When getting a divorce, keep in mind that everything is fair game. Even if an asset is in your name, your spouse can claim it.

37. Pennsylvania

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

Before filing for divorce in Pennsylvania or any other U.S. state, you might want to make any big purchases you’ve been planning to make. In many states, you might be prohibited from making large purchases once you have filed.

36. Colorado

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

In Colorado and other states, be sure to keep track of your spouse’s spending when filing for divorce. Keep tabs on whether your spouse has been opening new lines of credit because any added debt might have an impact on you.

35. Delaware

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

Delaware has a lower-than-average divorce filing fee but higher-than-average attorney’s fees. When filing for divorce in Delaware and elsewhere, make sure you’ve gathered key financial evidence such as photos of assets, copies of account statements and any important numbers before walking out the door.

34. Georgia

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

If you have joint property in Georgia or any other state, get it appraised before filing for divorce. You can’t get your fair share of assets if you don’t know how much everything is worth.

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33. Arizona

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

You might be tempted to hide assets before filing for divorce in Arizona or other states, but this is an illegal practice. If you are caught, it could ruin your credibility during the divorce proceedings. And, you could be penalized according to local laws.

32. Nevada

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

If your spouse is currently supporting you financially, consider getting job training or further your education before filing for divorce. This can help you get your own career so you’re not dependent on spousal support. In any case, getting a divorce in Nevada is pricey compared to most other states.

31. Tennessee

Average divorce filing fee: $264
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $9,900

Be sure to familiarize yourself with your finances before filing for divorce in Tennessee or any other state — especially if your spouse usually handled bills and financial decisions.

Not knowing your financial standing can cause a power imbalance during negotiations.

30. Ohio

Average divorce filing fee: $263
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $9,900

Make sure you know what your biggest asset is when filing for divorce in Ohio or anywhere else. Many people mistakenly believe it’s their house, when their retirement account is actually worth more.

29. North Carolina

Average divorce filing fee: $230
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $10,300

You might not want to spend more money on top of North Carolina’s above-average divorce filing fee and divorce attorney’s fees. But if your lawyer recommends that you hire a private investigator, it might pay off to do so — especially if your spouse is a business owner, as this can provide crucial insights into their finances.

28. New Hampshire

Average divorce filing fee: $251
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $9,700

You will already have to pay an above-average divorce filing fee if you file in New Hampshire, so save money on attorney’s fees by keeping in mind that the most expensive lawyer isn’t necessarily the best one. Find a lawyer that is experienced, but is also a good personality fit for your needs.

27. Alabama

Average divorce filing fee: $225
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $9,900

Make sure you understand your debt obligations if you get divorced in Alabama or anywhere else. If a debt is in your name, you might be held responsible for paying it back, even if it is a joint debt.

26. Virginia

Average divorce filing fee: $150
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $11,500

Once you’ve finalized your divorce in Virginia or any other state, make sure you remove your spouse from beneficiary designations.

25. Michigan

Average divorce filing fee: $203
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $10,200

If you are receiving financial support from your spouse, he or she might be court-ordered to contribute to your attorney’s fees — which could help offset Michigan’s above-average fees. If so, make sure to draft an agreement clarifying how much money must be paid and by what date so that you can enforce it if they fail to pay.

24. Maryland

Average divorce filing fee: $165
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $11,000

Before you shell out thousands of dollars for a Maryland divorce lawyer, take advantage of free consultations to get basic advice and find the attorney who’s the best fit for you.

23. Hawaii

Average divorce filing fee: $240
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $9,200

Be mindful of the date when initiating a divorce in Hawaii or in any U.S. state, especially if you have a major asset that could increase in value by a certain date.

22. Oklahoma

Average divorce filing fee: $213
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $9,800

Make sure you have a post-divorce financial plan before filing in Oklahoma or elsewhere. If you need help, hire a financial advisor.

21. Missouri

Average divorce filing fee: $170
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $10,600

Gather any documents related to assets that you believe to be separate property. It’s important to have a paper trail before filing for divorce in Missouri or any other state.

20. Rhode Island

Average divorce filing fee: $160
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $10,400

Even though the average divorce filing fee is below the national average in Rhode Island, Inside Gov ranked the state as the third worst for divorce because of its lengthy minimum processing time of 510 days.

19. Alaska

Average divorce filing fee: $150
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $10,300

The average divorce attorney’s fees are slightly above the national average in Alaska. But the state was ranked as the easiest state for divorce by Inside Gov due to its relatively low filing fees and short minimum total processing time of 30 days.

18. Iowa

Average divorce filing fee: $185
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $9,300

Your likelihood of getting a divorce in Iowa could be related to your job, as some careers are more likely to lead to divorce.

First-line enlisted military supervisors have the highest divorce rate, followed by logisticians and automotive service technicians and mechanics, a previous GOBankingRates study found.

17. Idaho

Average divorce filing fee: $207
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,800

If you’ve gone through a divorce in Idaho or elsewhere and have kids with your ex-spouse, make sure you know who claims the children on taxes. Only one parent can claim a child as a dependent, per federal tax regulations.

16. Wisconsin

Average divorce filing fee: $200
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,900

There are certain things you need to know about your money as you divorce in Wisconsin or other U.S. states. If you have a shared bank account, open your own before filing so that you’re sure to have access to money.

15. South Carolina

Average divorce filing fee: $150
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $10,000

When filing for divorce in South Carolina or elsewhere, don’t let emotions cloud your judgment when making financial decisions throughout the process.

14. Vermont

Average divorce filing fee: $193
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,900

If you get divorced in Vermont or any other state and have a mortgage or other loan with your ex-spouse, even if your ex is ordered to pay for it, a lender can come after you if they do not pay. Refinance any joint loans so that your name is removed.

13. Kansas

Average divorce filing fee: $177
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,600

It might seem daunting to save money after being hit with all the costs of getting a divorce in Kansas. However, be sure to prioritize setting aside enough money for three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund, because you no longer can count on your spouse’s income if you lose your job.

 

12. Indiana

Average divorce filing fee: $153
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $9,000

When getting divorced in Indiana or elsewhere, keep retirement benefits in mind. When you divide your assets, consider the future value of each asset rather than just its present value.

11. Arkansas

Average divorce filing fee: $150
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,800

Even though Arkansas has relatively low average divorce filing fees and average divorce attorney’s fees, Inside Gov ranked the state as the worst state to get a divorce because it has the longest minimum processing time of any state: 540 days.

10. Montana

Average divorce filing fee: $238
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $6,600

Montana has the lowest average divorce attorney’s fees in the U.S., making it one of the 10 least expensive states for divorce.

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9. West Virginia

Average divorce filing fee: $160
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,200

West Virginia has the third-lowest average divorce attorney’s fees in the country, as well as a below-average divorce filing fee.

8. Nebraska

Average divorce filing fee: $158
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,200

Nebraska is tied with West Virginia and North Dakota for third-lowest average divorce attorney’s fees in the U.S.

7. New Mexico

Average divorce filing fee: $145
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,400

New Mexico’s average divorce filing fee is the seventh-lowest in the country. Its average attorney’s fees are sixth-lowest.

6. Maine

Average divorce filing fee: $120
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,800

Maine is one of the least expensive states for divorce because it has the fifth-lowest average divorce filing fee in the U.S.

5. Kentucky

Average divorce filing fee: $150
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,100

Kentucky has the second-lowest average divorce attorney’s fees compared to other states, placing it in the top five least expensive states for divorce.

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4. South Dakota

Average divorce filing fee: $95
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,600

Not only does South Dakota have one of the lowest average divorce filing fees in the country. But, it also has one of the lowest minimum processing times of 60 days, according to Inside Gov.

3. Wyoming

Average divorce filing fee: $70
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $9,000

Wyoming has the second-lowest average divorce filing fee in the U.S. More good news: Inside Gov reports this state has a relatively short minimum processing time of 80 days.

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2. Mississippi

Average divorce filing fee: $63
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,700

Mississippi has the lowest average divorce filing fee in the country. It has below-average divorce attorney’s fees as well.

1. North Dakota

Average divorce filing fee: $80
Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,200

North Dakota has the third-lowest average divorce filing fee and average divorce attorney’s fees. It has the overall lowest average cost of divorce in the U.S.

Do You Live in One of the Most Expensive States for Divorce?

Going through a divorce is usually a costly process, both financially and emotionally. If you have the option to file in multiple states, keep in mind relative costs, as some states are more expensive than others. The least expensive states for divorce are:

1. North Dakota
2. Mississippi
3. Wyoming
4. South Dakota
5. Kentucky
6. Maine
7. New Mexico
8. Nebraska
9. West Virginia
10. Montana

The most expensive states for divorce are:

42. Washington, D.C.
43. Utah
44. Washington
45. Minnesota
46. New York
47. New Jersey
48. Texas
49. Florida
50. Connecticut
51. California

Click through to discover the No. 1 financial deal breaker for couples in every state.

More on Saving Money in Relationships

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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 D.C.: (1) The average cost of an attorney for the divorce process, sourced from Lawyers.com; (2) Court fee to file for 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. For states that don’t have a flat rate, the average was calculated from the range of local divorce filing fees.