One of the most interesting things about the United States is the fact that each state has the freedom to approach divorce in its own unique way. Laws and regulations can vary tremendously from one end of the nation to the other. With these differences in mind, it should come as no surprise that some states have a reputation for being irksome and expensive for spouses who are trying to get divorced. 

In a financial context, some states may be more demanding than others. Spouses may be forced to pay considerable fees just to file for divorce. Others may face a wide range of other expenses in certain states. That being said, the financial “ease” of getting a divorce depends on the actual circumstances of the divorce as much as the location in which it is filed.  

Where is the Divorce Being Filed?

In some states, divorce filing fees are very minor. In North Carolina, it only costs $75 to file for divorce. On the other hand, certain states require couples to pay hundreds of dollars in order to file for divorce. These states often have long processing wait times as well. Here are some of the most expensive states for divorces in terms of filing fees:

  • Nebraska: Couples who are filing for divorce in Nebraska must pay a $157 fee before a 420-day processing period. Couples must live in the state for one year, and then spend a further two months waiting during a “cooling-off period.” 
  • New York: If you want to get divorced in New York, you must first pay a $335 filing fee. Next, you will need to wait 360 days while your divorce is being processed. New York is also notable because of its high number of contested divorces. 
  • California: Couples in California must pay a fee of $395 if they want to file for divorce. This is among the highest filing fees in the entire nation. It also takes 360 days for the divorce to be processed. Furthermore, you must go through a six-month “cooling-off” period after you file. 

The Average Cost of a Divorce

The average cost of a divorce in the United States is almost $13,000. Obviously, this number goes down significantly if the divorce is uncontested with no major issues. In these situations, most divorces cost about $4,000. As soon as disputes emerge over child custody, child support, or alimony, the cost of a divorce skyrockets for the average couple. 

It All Depends on the Unique Circumstances of the Divorce

Of course, the real cost of a divorce depends on the unique circumstances of each divorce. If a financially dependent spouse commits adultery, they probably would not want to get divorced in Georgia. In the Peach State, spouses who commit adultery cannot receive alimony, period. 

A “community property” state like California might be a wealthy individual’s worst nightmare. They would have to split all of their assets with their former spouse in a 50-50 manner. On the other hand, a financially dependent spouse might not enjoy getting divorced in an equitable distribution state, where their financial contributions to marital assets are taken into account.