When you walked down the aisle, you never dreamed that you would one day be Googling divorce attorneys. But, unfortunately, life doesn’t always turn out the way we planned.
Deciding to get a divorce is difficult enough without having to worry about the expense of it. But all those internet searches likely showed you something you already suspected: Getting divorced can be costly.
So, just how expensive is a divorce? According to a survey by Nolo , the average cost of a divorce is $15,500. The total costs of a divorce can range from as little as a few hundred dollars to well over $100,000, or even into the millions if you’re a Hollywood starlet or Wall Street tycoon.
Why so expensive? In addition to obvious costs like attorney’s fees, there are costs for other things like time off work, court costs, mediator costs, real estate fees, a financial planner’s fees, accountant’s fees, and maybe even a plane ticket to the Bahamas so that you can take a break from it all.
Before you get worried about your divorce costing six figures, let’s break down the real cost of divorce and discuss some ways to finance it.
A Breakdown of Typical Divorce Costs
Are you crossing your fingers and hoping that you’ll have one of those divorces that only costs $400? If your divorce is not contested, or you agree on everything from the distribution of your assets to who gets your kids during the holidays, it could be relatively simple and inexpensive. Often couples draft up their own agreement and just bring it to a lawyer to make it official.
But let’s be honest, when was the last time you agreed on everything with anyone, let alone with your ex-spouse about things that important? Couples often need at least a mediator to help them come to an agreement.
If you disagree over dividing your finances (and you don’t have a prenup), or you can’t decide who should have custody of the kids, then you’ll likely both look to hiring attorneys.
Further, you could end up going to court if you’re not able to reach a settlement. Attorney’s fees make up the bulk of divorce costs with the average couple in Nolo’s survey paying $12,800 in lawyer’s fees to break up.
After that, there are court costs, and the cost of experts to bolster your case. Not sure what experts you could possibly need? Think child custody evaluators, accountants, and real estate evaluators. Speaking to any or all of them can continue to rack up a tab.
The Hidden Divorce Costs You’ll Need to Prepare For
Unfortunately, the total costs of your divorce are broader than just what it takes to reach a financial settlement and custody agreement. You might have to sell your home even if the market is not so great, or sell investments during a downturn.
There are real estate and closing costs, down payments on new houses, and moving costs. That alone could cost thousands and might include one costly trip to Ikea. If you have kids, you might even need to buy extra clothes and toys for both houses so that your kids don’t feel like they’re living out of a suitcase.
There are also other hidden costs that come with going to court. You might miss out on work and income in order to meet with lawyers, or have to pay for child care while you’re both meeting to finalize the details. You might also need help from your financial planner or accountant as you separate your finances and plan for your own financial future. If you have shared debt, there could even be costs associated in figuring out how to divide it or pay it off.
Then there are ongoing costs related to child support or alimony. If one partner used to stay home with the kids but is now re-entering the workforce, day care or after-school care could be another added ongoing expense. Counseling could also be necessary to deal with the difficulties and changes in your life—for both yourself or your kids.
That’s not even counting all the pints of chocolate ice cream or books about restarting your life after divorce that you may or may not impulse buy.
How a Personal Loan Can Help Finance a Divorce
The challenge with divorce costs is that they are often all due around the same time. Since we don’t generally save for a potential divorce in an account labeled Divorce Fund, there’s often not enough cash on hand to cover everything.
Many people resort to using credit cards, but expensive interest rates only make your divorce cost more in the long run. Getting a divorce loan might sound strange, but it’s often a crucial way to pay for your divorce without going into credit card debt.
A divorce loan is essentially a personal loan that you take out to finance your divorce. If you have good financial history and a good job, you’ll be might be eligible to qualify for a much lower interest rate on a personal loan than a credit card would offer.
A personal loan can pay for divorce attorney’s fees or allow you to pay the movers. It can help you pay off existing joint debt, and even be put towards a new budget.
Having the funds from a personal loan can give you time to space out the costs over a longer period of time so that you don’t have to sell that painting your Aunt Mary left you. A personal loan to fund divorce costs could mean breathing room, peace of mind, and respite in a difficult time.
If you think a personal loan sounds like the plan for you, check out SoFi’s personal loans to help finance your divorce.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.