Just How Much Money Can You Lose in a Bad Divorce?



A bad divorce can cost you, both financially and emotionally. While you are grieving the loss of your relationship, you are also having to endure some new financial hardships. But just how costly can a bad divorce be?

Every case is different, so yours might be more than the average divorce. The more prolonged and contentious a divorce becomes, the pricier it can get. Let us take a look at how much money you could lose in a bad divorce and why it can be a good idea to hire an experienced divorce lawyer to help settle your case.

The Average Divorce

The average divorce is not cheap. The average divorce cost per person in the United States is about $15,000. This has quite a bit of variance by the situation and by state. There are a few crucial things that factor into the final cost of a divorce. Some of those factors include:

  • Attorney fees
  • Court filing costs
  • Mediation fees
  • Paying for parenting education courses
  • Guardian ad litem fees
  • Evaluation costs (e.g., psychiatric evaluations)

You might also have to pay more if you and your spouse co-own a property. If this is the case, there might be fees for government records, refinancing the property, and extra hourly fees from your attorney.

Litigation and Mediation

Litigation or mediation can cause a divorce price tag to skyrocket. Litigation is something you might need to opt for if you and your spouse cannot agree on settlement terms. Attorney’s fees are generally paid up-front and can vary based on where you live. If you and your spouse have a custody dispute, the courts will appoint a guardian ad litem on your child’s part. The longer and more you and your spouse disagree, the higher the costs will be.

Mediation involves an unbiased third party acting as mediator. Having a mediator can help you wrap things up more quickly and cost less. On average, a mediator might cost you $100 to $200 per hour. This method also lets you take the reins on settlement terms, working with your spouse in collaboration to find an agreement that works for everyone.


Some couples choose to represent themselves in divorce proceedings. This is best left for couples who have no children, no shared property, and who have not been married long. It can make the divorce process simpler and more affordable, but if you and your spouse are experiencing custody or property disputes, then self-representation might not be ideal.

Length of Time

Divorces can take some time depending on the settlement terms. On average, in Idaho, once you have your paperwork filed in the court, the process might take between 30 and 90 days. The judge’s signed final Decree of Divorce really depends on how big of a caseload the court already has and how soon a judge is available to sign.

Trimming Down Costs

There are a few ways to cut your costs. The biggest step is hiring a divorce lawyer. If you are financially strapped, know that some attorneys will work out a payment plan with you. Also, if you do not have any children or property with your spouse, you can easily fill out the petition and file it yourself, thereby saving some money on filing fees.

Bear in mind that being amicable with your spouse can help reduce the cost for each of you. Of course, not all situations are mutually friendly, which is where hiring a lawyer comes in handy. Justice Law Idaho is here to help you navigate the divorce process and get the best resolution possible.


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