Divorce is one of the most stressful events that can occur in someone’s life. Much of the stress that divorcees suffer is emotional, however many people in this situation experience financial stress as well due to the costs associated with getting divorced.
If you are preparing to divorce—or already in the middle of divorce proceedings—it’s important to hire a skilled Roanoke divorce lawyer to help you understand how much you should expect to spend on ending your marriage.
How Much Does A Divorce Cost in Virginia?
The cost of a divorce includes your attorney’s fees in addition to miscellaneous expenses such as court filing fees and expert witness fees. According to a recent study conducted by Nolo, the average divorce in the U.S. costs approximately $15,500.
The researchers who conducted this study also broke down the average cost of divorce by state. According to them, Virginia is the 8th most expensive state to divorce in, with an average cost of $14,500.
But, the cost of a divorce can vary on a case-by-case basis, which means you could end up spending far less or more than average. If you want to keep costs low, make sure you understand what drives the cost of divorce so you can spend as little as possible.
What Factors Affect the Cost of A Divorce?
A number of factors can affect the total cost of a divorce in Virginia, including children. Married couples with children tend to spend more than couples without children during divorce proceedings. In fact, the average cost of a divorce in Virginia increases by $7,300 to $21,800 when children are involved.
Why? Couples with children must resolve certain issues during divorce proceedings such as child custody and child support. This could lead to additional miscellaneous court fees in addition to higher attorneys’ fees since more time will be spent on the case.
Having a dispute over alimony can also affect the cost of a divorce. Attorneys clock a lot of hours preparing for alimony hearings, and in some cases, they may need to hire financial or accounting experts to testify on behalf of their clients. For this reason, an alimony dispute can significantly increase the total cost of a divorce.
Having a high net worth can increase the total cost of your divorce, too. During the divorce proceedings, the couple must decide how to divide their marital assets. First, all of the marital assets must be identified.
Then, the parties must go over each asset of significant value and decide who it should be awarded to until all of the assets have been awarded to one spouse or the other. Couples with a lot of assets will spend more time in this phase of the divorce proceedings, which will increase the amount they have to pay their attorneys. If property appraisers, accountants, or financial experts are needed during this phase, this can increase the cost of the divorce even more.
How to Minimize the Cost of A Divorce in Roanoke, VA
Certain factors that affect the cost of a divorce, such as the regional cost of living, are out of your control. However, there are a number of steps you can take to minimize the cost of your divorce.
First, make an effort to keep your divorce as conflict-free as possible. Going to trial is expensive, so couples should try to reach agreements in mediation before taking their case to court. If the case winds up in court, each party will have to spend more on attorneys’ fees, court filing fees, and expert witness fees.
The longer the trial goes on, the more each party will have to pay. On the other hand, couples that successfully resolve issues related to child support, child custody, spousal support, and the division of assets outside of the courtroom can drastically reduce the cost of their divorce.
Enter negotiations with an open mind and see if you can reach an agreement without the judge’s help. It helps to work with your attorney to make a list of your priorities before you start negotiating. This exercise will help you determine what you are and are not willing to compromise on during the negotiations.
Divorce attorneys often bill clients by the hour, and many lawyers charge for the time they spend on the phone with you. If you want to lower the cost of your divorce, make sure you only contact your attorney when you have legal questions about your case. If you call your attorney whenever you’re feeling upset or angry about the divorce, the legal fees can quickly add up and increase the total cost of your divorce.
But, the party that has filed the paperwork must provide proof that the other party is actually at fault for reasons such as adultery, cruelty, or abandonment. Proving this is not easy, so you may end up spending more time in the courtroom and more money on your divorce if you choose to place the blame on your spouse.
Speak to your attorney to determine the best grounds upon which to file your divorce. If you determine you do not want to fight over the grounds of divorce, filing for a divorce based upon living separate and apart for the required length of time may be the option in your case.
The more you spend on your divorce, the less you will have to spend in the next chapter of your life. For this reason, it’s beneficial to minimize the cost of your divorce by closely following these tips.
Seek Legal Representation From A Roanoke Divorce Lawyer At Once
If you are planning on filing for divorce, or if your spouse has already initiated the divorce proceedings, it’s important to seek legal representation from a Roanoke divorce attorney as soon as possible.
Our attorneys will stand by your side throughout the divorce proceedings to ensure your rights are protected. We will work tirelessly to reach a divorce settlement that is in your best interests. Don’t go through this challenging process alone—let me help.