This Is How Much It Costs to Get Divorced in Every State

January 16, 2020 by Steven M. Peters

January is unofficially known as divorce month. Divorce filings spike as the holiday season ends. One possible explanation is a desire to start the new year — and a new period in a person’s life — fresh.

Working through a separation is still a very stressful experience. While much of the stress is emotional, there is often a financial element as well.

24/7 Tempo reviewed data presented in Martindale Nolo Research’s 2015 divorce study to determine the average cost of a divorce in each state. All other factors being equal, the cost of a divorce can be as little as $8,400 or as much as $17,500.

Couples who want to legally end their marriage often hire lawyers to negotiate the terms of the divorce for them. But legal representation doesn’t come cheap. The average attorney fee in the United States during divorce proceedings is $12,800, with an average rate of $250 per hour, according to a study released by Nolo, a self-help legal publisher.

The typical divorce costs $15,500. It’s no surprise, then, that many couples choose to separate but remain legally married – they simply can’t afford to officially go their separate ways.

While lawyers’ fees make up the bulk of the financial cost, the divorce process can very quickly become even more expensive if the couple have children and assets to divide. This is when even amicable separations turn sour and require a trial – and a trial will add another cost to the split.

These factors and others, like regional differences in living costs, can mean considerable variations in the costs of divorce from state to state. Divorces are generally less common in the states where the process is most expensive, but it is unclear if the high cost actually discourage divorce. States with higher divorce costs tend to have overall higher costs of living. Of the 10 states where divorces are most expensive, only two have a lower than average cost of living.

Bitter arguments are common. They prolong the divorce proceedings, making them even more expensive and resulting in unusual and even extreme clauses – here are 17 really weird divorce conditions and settlements.

Click here for the average cost of divorce in every state. 

Methodology

To determine the most expensive states to get a divorce, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on the average cost of a divorce from self-help legal publishing company Martindale Nolo Research’s 2015 divorce study, the latest year for which data is available. Overall costs of living by state are from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and are for 2017. The shares of the population 15 and older that are divorced are for 2018 and are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Divorce rates are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are for 2018. Regional price parity for 2017 is from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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Alabama
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $12,500 (23rd lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $18,800 (22nd lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $150 – $300
> Cost of living: 13.3% less than the national average
> Median household income: $49,861 (6th lowest)
> Divorced population: 12.4% (12th highest)

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Alaska
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $13,100 (20th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $19,600 (22nd highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $150
> Cost of living: 4.4% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $74,346 (8th highest)
> Divorced population: 11.3% (25th highest)

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Arizona
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $13,000 (22nd highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $19,500 (23rd highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $158 – $353
> Cost of living: 3.6% less than the national average
> Median household income: $59,246 (24th lowest)
> Divorced population: 12.2% (15th highest)

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Arkansas
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $11,100 (11th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $16,700 (12th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $130 – $170
> Cost of living: 13.5% less than the national average
> Median household income: $47,062 (3rd lowest)
> Divorced population: 13.1% (5th highest)

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California
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $17,500 (the highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $26,300 (the highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $435
> Cost of living: 14.8% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $75,277 (6th highest)
> Divorced population: 9.2% (5th lowest)

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Colorado
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $14,500 (9th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $21,700 (10th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $230
> Cost of living: 3.2% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $71,953 (11th highest)
> Divorced population: 11.8% (20th highest)

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Connecticut
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $15,500 (7th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $23,300 (7th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $360
> Cost of living: 8.0% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $76,348 (5th highest)
> Divorced population: 10.9% (18th lowest)

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Delaware
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $16,200 (3rd highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $24,300 (3rd highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $150 – $160
> Cost of living: 0.1% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $64,805 (16th highest)
> Divorced population: 11.0% (21st lowest)

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Florida
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $13,500 (15th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $20,300 (16th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $350 – $410
> Cost of living: 0.1% less than the national average
> Median household income: $55,462 (14th lowest)
> Divorced population: 13.2% (4th highest)

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Georgia
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $14,700 (8th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $22,000 (8th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $150 – $250
> Cost of living: 7.5% less than the national average
> Median household income: $58,756 (23rd lowest)
> Divorced population: 11.3% (25th highest)

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Hawaii
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $11,700 (19th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $17,500 (17th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $215 – $265
> Cost of living: 18.5% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $80,212 (3rd highest)
> Divorced population: 9.0% (4th lowest)

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Idaho
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $11,200 (13th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $16,800 (13th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $207
> Cost of living: 7.0% less than the national average
> Median household income: $55,583 (15th lowest)
> Divorced population: 12.0% (19th highest)

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Illinois
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $13,800 (13th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $20,700 (14th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $210 – $388
> Cost of living: 1.5% less than the national average
> Median household income: $65,030 (15th highest)
> Divorced population: 9.8% (9th lowest)

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Indiana
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $11,400 (17th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $1,710 (the lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $130 – $176
> Cost of living: 10.2% less than the national average
> Median household income: $55,746 (17th lowest)
> Divorced population: 12.3% (14th highest)

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Iowa
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $11,700 (19th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $17,600 (18th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $185
> Cost of living: 10.2% less than the national average
> Median household income: $59,955 (25th highest)
> Divorced population: 11.0% (21st lowest)

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Kansas
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $10,900 (8th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $16,400 (9th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $156 – $197
> Cost of living: 10.0% less than the national average
> Median household income: $58,218 (21st lowest)
> Divorced population: 11.2% (23rd lowest)

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Kentucky
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $10,200 (2nd lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $15,300 (3rd lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $120 – $180
> Cost of living: 12.1% less than the national average
> Median household income: $50,247 (7th lowest)
> Divorced population: 12.8% (8th highest)

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Louisiana
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $12,600 (25th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $18,900 (25th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $200 – $450
> Cost of living: 9.9% less than the national average
> Median household income: $47,905 (5th lowest)
> Divorced population: 11.3% (25th highest)

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Maine
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $11,100 (11th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $16,700 (12th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $120
> Cost of living: 1.6% less than the national average
> Median household income: $55,602 (16th lowest)
> Divorced population: 14.5% (the highest)

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Maryland
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $14,000 (12th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $21,000 (13th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $165
> Cost of living: 9.4% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $83,242 (the highest)
> Divorced population: 10.2% (12th lowest)

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Massachusetts
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $15,900 (4th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $23,900 (4th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $200
> Cost of living: 7.9% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $79,835 (4th highest)
> Divorced population: 9.7% (8th lowest)

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Michigan
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $12,900 (23rd highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $19,400 (24th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $150 – $255
> Cost of living: 7.0% less than the national average
> Median household income: $56,697 (20th lowest)
> Divorced population: 11.6% (22nd highest)

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Minnesota
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $11,400 (17th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $21,300 (12th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $390 – $420
> Cost of living: 2.5% less than the national average
> Median household income: $70,315 (13th highest)
> Divorced population: 10.3% (13th lowest)

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Mississippi
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $11,000 (9th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $16,500 (10th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $50 – $75
> Cost of living: 14.3% less than the national average
> Median household income: $44,717 (2nd lowest)
> Divorced population: 11.6% (22nd highest)

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Missouri
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $13,500 (15th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $20,200 (17th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $140 – $200
> Cost of living: 10.5% less than the national average
> Median household income: $54,478 (12th lowest)
> Divorced population: 12.2% (15th highest)

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Montana
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $8,400 (the lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $12,600 (2nd lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $225 – $250
> Cost of living: 5.4% less than the national average
> Median household income: $55,328 (13th lowest)
> Divorced population: 12.4% (12th highest)

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Nebraska
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $10,400 (5th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $15,600 (6th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $158
> Cost of living: 10.4% less than the national average
> Median household income: $59,566 (25th lowest)
> Divorced population: 10.1% (10th lowest)

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Nevada
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $13,700 (14th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $20,600 (15th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $150 – $300
> Cost of living: 2.4% less than the national average
> Median household income: $58,646 (22nd lowest)
> Divorced population: 14.2% (2nd highest)

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New Hampshire
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $12,300 (20th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $18,500 (19th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $250 – $252
> Cost of living: 5.8% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $74,991 (7th highest)
> Divorced population: 11.7% (21st highest)

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New Jersey
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $15,600 (5th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $23,400 (6th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $300
> Cost of living: 12.9% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $81,740 (2nd highest)
> Divorced population: 8.5% (the lowest)

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New Mexico
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $10,700 (6th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $16,000 (7th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $135 – $155
> Cost of living: 6.7% less than the national average
> Median household income: $47,169 (4th lowest)
> Divorced population: 13.1% (5th highest)

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New York
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $17,100 (2nd highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $25,600 (2nd highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $210
> Cost of living: 15.8% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $67,844 (14th highest)
> Divorced population: 8.8% (2nd lowest)

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North Carolina
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $13,100 (20th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $19,700 (21st highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $225 – $235
> Cost of living: 8.7% less than the national average
> Median household income: $53,855 (11th lowest)
> Divorced population: 10.8% (17th lowest)

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North Dakota
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $10,400 (5th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $15,600 (6th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $80
> Cost of living: 9.9% less than the national average
> Median household income: $63,837 (18th highest)
> Divorced population: 9.4% (6th lowest)

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Ohio
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $12,500 (23rd lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $18,800 (22nd lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $175 – $350
> Cost of living: 11.1% less than the national average
> Median household income: $56,111 (18th lowest)
> Divorced population: 12.1% (18th highest)

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Oklahoma
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $12,500 (23rd lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $18,700 (20th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $175 – $250
> Cost of living: 11.0% less than the national average
> Median household income: $51,924 (8th lowest)
> Divorced population: 13.1% (5th highest)

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Oregon
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $12,700 (24th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $19,100 (25th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $250 – $400
> Cost of living: 0.5% less than the national average
> Median household income: $63,426 (19th highest)
> Divorced population: 12.7% (9th highest)

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Pennsylvania
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $14,300 (11th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $21,500 (11th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $150 – $350
> Cost of living: 2.1% less than the national average
> Median household income: $60,905 (21st highest)
> Divorced population: 9.7% (8th lowest)

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Rhode Island
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $13,200 (18th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $19,800 (19th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $160
> Cost of living: 1.4% less than the national average
> Median household income: $64,340 (17th highest)
> Divorced population: 10.8% (17th lowest)

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South Carolina
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $12,600 (25th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $18,900 (25th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $150
> Cost of living: 9.6% less than the national average
> Median household income: $52,306 (9th lowest)
> Divorced population: 11.2% (23rd lowest)

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South Dakota
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $10,900 (8th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $16,300 (8th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $95
> Cost of living: 11.8% less than the national average
> Median household income: $56,274 (19th lowest)
> Divorced population: 11.0% (21st lowest)

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Tennessee
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $12,600 (25th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $18,900 (25th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $150 – $378
> Cost of living: 9.6% less than the national average
> Median household income: $52,375 (10th lowest)
> Divorced population: 12.2% (15th highest)

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Texas
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $15,600 (5th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $23,500 (5th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $250 – $350
> Cost of living: 3.0% less than the national average
> Median household income: $60,629 (24th highest)
> Divorced population: 10.5% (14th lowest)

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Utah
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $13,200 (18th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $19,800 (19th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $310 – $330
> Cost of living: 3.0% less than the national average
> Median household income: $71,414 (12th highest)
> Divorced population: 9.0% (4th lowest)

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Vermont
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $11,200 (13th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $16,900 (15th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $90 – $295
> Cost of living: 2.5% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $60,782 (22nd highest)
> Divorced population: 12.5% (11th highest)

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Virginia
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $14,500 (9th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $21,800 (9th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $100 – $200
> Cost of living: 2.1% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $72,577 (10th highest)
> Divorced population: 10.2% (12th lowest)

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Washington
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $13,400 (17th highest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $20,100 (18th highest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $314
> Cost of living: 6.4% greater than the national average
> Median household income: $74,073 (9th highest)
> Divorced population: 11.5% (24th highest)

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West Virginia
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $10,400 (5th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $15,600 (6th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $135 – $185
> Cost of living: 13.0% less than the national average
> Median household income: $44,097 (the lowest)
> Divorced population: 13.8% (3rd highest)

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Wisconsin
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $11,300 (14th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $16,900 (15th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $180 – $220
> Cost of living: 7.6% less than the national average
> Median household income: $60,773 (23rd highest)
> Divorced population: 10.8% (17th lowest)

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Wyoming
> Avg. cost of divorce without children: $11,400 (17th lowest)
> Avg. cost of divorce with children: $17,200 (16th lowest)
> Avg. divorce filing fee: $70
> Cost of living: 4.8% less than the national average
> Median household income: $61,584 (20th highest)
> Divorced population: 12.7% (9th highest)

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