For most people, the decision to pursue a divorce is not a decision reached lightly nor without considerable contemplation. If you have come to the conclusion that divorce is the best choice for you, you may now be wondering “ How much will a divorce cost? ” The question is certainly understandable. In fact, the financial costs involved in a divorce are often the reason people remain legally married long after they made the decision to end the relationship. Unfortunately, there is no simple way to calculate what the costs will be in your divorce ahead of time. Consulting with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney can provide you with an estimate of the costs involved; however, it is virtually impossible to anticipate all of the possible issues that could come up during a divorce proceeding. Knowing the major factors that will determine the ultimate cost of your divorce, however, may be helpful.
- Adversarial or amicable – by far, the single biggest factor that determines how expensive your divorce will be is whether the divorce is amicable or adversarial. A high asset divorce with minor children can end up costing considerably less than a divorce with no children and few assets if the parties are able to reach a settlement agreement that covers all of the issues in the divorce early on in the process. Put simply, the more you and your spouse fight the more your divorce will cost.
- Children – as a general rule, a divorce that involves minor children will cost more than one without children simply because there are additional steps involved and additional legal paperwork that must be completed and filed with the court. If the parties cannot agree on custody and/or parenting time with the children, the cost of the divorce will increase dramatically.
- Assets and debts – typically, the more assets the parties own and the more debts included in the divorce the higher the cost. Again, even if the parties agree on the division of debts and assets, there is more work involved putting that agreement into practice when there are significant assets involved.
- Support – if the issue of child or spousal support is part of your divorce it can increase the costs involved because the income of both parties must be reviewed in depth. If spousal support is an issue, there are over a dozen factors, including need and ability to pay, and earning capacity of each party, that must also be analyzed to decide whther an award should be granted and then the appropriate amount. Expert testimony may also be needed to prove the amount of support requested is actually necessary and fair. Anytime experts are needed it increases the overall cost of the litigation exponentially.
If you want to know what your own divorce is likely to cost, consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney.