How much a divorce costs depends on several factors. One of the most important is how much the spouses can agree on, whether through a prenuptial agreement, through negotiations or via alternative dispute resolution. In general, contentious divorces take longer and cost more, as the case drags out in court.
According to CBS News, the state in which you live — and get divorced — is another factor. Some states charge lower fees and have a shorter time frame for getting divorced, which can save the spouses some money. CBS recently listed what it called the five most expensive — and five cheapest — states in which to get divorced.
Minnesota does not make either list, though both North and South Dakota ranked among the five cheapest divorce states. Wyoming was the least expensive, with an average hourly attorney fee of $187 and a filing fee of $70. Mississippi rounded out the bottom five in cost.
On the other end of the spectrum were much more densely populated states: California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida and Pennsylvania. In California, it costs $435 to file for divorce, more than six times the fee in Wyoming, and the average hourly rate for a divorce lawyer is $402. California divorces also tend to take longer, lasting an average of six months before it’s over.
You likely cannot control which state’s courts will handle your divorce, but you may be able to take steps to control costs. Keeping your case out of court as much as possible will save you time and money, and leave you and your spouse with less bitterness and desire to appeal.