Every couple that decides to end their marriage wonders, “How much does a divorce in Washington state cost?”. There is no simple answer to this question since the cost of divorce in Washington state may range from $500 for simple cases to several thousand dollars for complex contested divorces. Usually, spouses think that the average divorce cost is extremely high. However, in some cases, they can avoid unnecessary expenses if they are cooperative. Let’s take a closer look at the factors that influence the divorce price.
What Affects the Cost of Divorce in Washington?
1) Type of marriage dissolution.
There are two types of divorces – uncontested and contested ones. The difference lies in the ability of spouses to reach an agreement on divorce-related issues. In case of an agreed-upon uncontested marriage dissolution, spouses can represent themselves in court without lawyers or save on their services considerably.
2) The lawyer’s fee.
As a rule, the lawyer’s fee constitutes the major part of the total expenses during the divorce process. The average hourly rate for an attorney’s service in Washington state is $250-$300. In the case of contested dissolution of marriage, it is difficult to predict the total duration of the divorce process. The more disagreements the spouses have, the longer it takes to reach a consensus, and, as a result, the higher the total cost of legal services is.
3) Amount of legal assistance.
As evident from the abovementioned point, legal fees are the biggest divorce expense. Therefore, a DIY (do-it-yourself) divorce, where spouses prepare and file the forms without legal assistance, is the cheapest option to terminate the marriage. If spouses have trouble preparing the documents, they can use our reliable online service to get all the necessary forms specific to their case. They will also receive a filing guide, meaning they can save a lot of money and manage their divorce without hiring a lawyer.
4) The location of filing.
The cost of legal representation in big cities and small towns varies. To make an informed choice, it is best to check the price for the lawyer’s service in the county where you file for a divorce.
5) Child custody and support.
Divorces with minor children are usually costlier than cases without kids. If spouses cannot make child custody and support arrangements on their own, the lawyers will need more time to suggest suitable options. Sometimes, courts or lawyers involve specialists in child custody and support, who analyze the social and financial situation of the spouses and help them find the best solution for the child, which will also be fair to the parents.
It is common when one spouse wants to receive alimony, but the other doesn’t want to pay it or disagrees on the amount and duration of payments. Many factors may influence the alimony, such as the length of a marriage, sacrifices made by either spouse to maintain the family stability, etc. Lawyers have to take into account as many of them as possible when deciding on the options spouses and the court may find suitable. In some cases, spouses also need to hire financial advisors, which adds to the total divorce price.
Cost of Uncontested Divorce
Uncontested divorce in Washington state becomes an option when spouses have reached a mutual agreement on all divorce-related issues, and its price usually ranges from $500 to $5000. The average cost of uncontested divorce depends on whether the couple hires lawyers:
- If the spouses turn to legal assistance, the cost of uncontested divorce can be around $5000.
- With a DYI divorce, the total price can be less than $500, including the filing fees and expenses to serve the respondent.
Even if spouses decide not to hire a lawyer, it is beneficial to use an online service. For the fixed price of $139, you will get all the necessary forms relevant to your case and detailed filing instructions.
Cost of Contested Divorce
The cost of contested divorce in Washington state ranges between $12,000 and $20,000 and depends on the complexity of the case. Moreover, contested divorce in Washington state is usually more expensive when you have children. Contested divorce cost also depends on the amount of the property and assets to be divided and the willingness of spouses to reach a mutual agreement. The most expensive cases require multiple hearings and involve additional experts, like mediators, financial advisors, etc.
Divorce Lawyers Fees
As mentioned above, the average cost for divorce lawyer in Washington state is $250-$300 per hour, amounting to an average of $12,500 per case. If spouses filing for an uncontested divorce can avoid hiring a lawyer, couples with a lot of contested issues should be ready to spend more than $10,000 on legal assistance.