One of the first and most daunting questions people ask when contemplating a divorce is: How much will my divorce cost? According to Ohio statistics, the average cost and fees for a divorce in Ohio is between $4000 and $8,000. While the cost of divorce varies tremendously depending on your own factual situation, this blog will help provide some insight into the amount of money you can expect to spend and some of the numerous variables to a divorce that will need to be considered. Please note that costs vary according to county and complexity of your case.
Court & Process Server Costs for Filing a Divorce?
The filing fee on average ranges from $200 – $500 depending on the county and whether the divorce involves minor children. You will also have to pay a process server fee in order for the Complaint to be served on your spouse, which is approximately an additional $75.
A retainer is a down payment on the expenses and fees that will be incurred during your case. The majority of law firms require you to pay a retainer fee before they agree to take on your case or complete any work on your case. Retainers vary depending on the complexity of your case and the amount of work that will need to be completed. Roughly, a minimum retainer for a divorce is around $2,000 (which takes into account the necessary filing fees stated above). Depending on the circumstance, you may spend more or less than your quoted retainer. If you spend less, you will receive your money back. If you spend more, you will receive an itemized bill detailing the work done on your case and a monthly bill of the additional funds you owe.
Some Examples of More Complex Issues and Additional Costs
- Children of the marriage? Disputes over child custody and child support will certainly increase the cost of your divorce if you and your spouse cannot agree.
- Real Estate? If you and your spouse cannot agree on a reasonable value of the property, you will likely need to hire an expert to figure out the value. The cost of a home appraisal, for instance, will likely vary anywhere from $250 to $400. Additionally, if the expert has to testify at trial, they will charge an hourly rate.
- Retirement/Pension/Investment accounts? If any of these funds were earned outside of the marriage (i.e., your retirement account was opened in 2001 and you began your married in 2005), then an expert will likely need to be hired in order to calculate what is considered your pre-marital money. The cost of an expert will vary depending on the complexity of the account that needs to be evaluated.
- Owner of a Business? If you or your spouse owns a business, then an expert will need to be hired to determine the marital value of the business and all of the assets involved.
- Personal Property in Dispute? For example, say your spouse purchased numerous expensive firearms or tools during your marriage; you can hire an expert to value the personal property in order to determine your one-half marital interest in the property.
- Separate (Non-Marital) Property Claim? If you have a separate property claim (i.e., you put a $15,000 down payment on a home prior to marriage or you inherited money), the burden will be on you to “trace” that money and account for every penny. This may also require an expert.
Even though the above list is not complete as to what complicates a divorce case, hopefully, it will allow you to gain some insight into the divorce process. As you can see, without a crystal ball, it is difficult to provide an answer as to how much your divorce will cost without knowing all of the facts of your case. It is important to understand that you may have to spend money during your divorce process in order to obtain more money for the future. The exact cost will ultimately depend on the complexity of your case and how willing you and your spouse are to come to an agreement.
Questions about how much your divorce will cost? Schedule a Free Consultation Today!
At Kirkland & Sommers, Co. LPA., located in Dayton and West Chester, Ohio, divorce and family law is not just something we do…it is all we do! To learn more, go to our website www.KirklandSommers.com. Or, please contact us at (937) 223-0697 or (513)563-3166 to schedule an appointment for an initial consultation.