Complete guide to the divorce filing process

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When my ex threatened divorce, it seemed impossible. When he kept threatening to leave, I started googling — who would get the kids? Would I get child support? Who keeps the house in divorce?

When he served me with divorce papers, I panicked. The terminology was so foreign. The process was incredibly intimidating. Would we go to court? Would there be a trial? What happens now? Do I have to hire a lawyer? Where do I find a divorce attorney? How will I pay for it?

In the end, it was a traumatic experience, but like for most people who divorce, my separation was not as high-drama as daytime TV would suggest. Here is what you need to know as you consider or start the divorce process, and advice how to get through it in the most affordable, fast and civilized way possible:

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Common divorce terms

These are common legal terms related to the formal, legal divorce process.

Learn more about definitions you will encounter in these posts:

What you need to know about child custody in divorce

All about child support

All about division of property in divorce

Petition for divorce

This is the initial filing for divorce. Typically, one spouse (or their attorney) files a petition for divorce in the local courthouse, and then is required to serve — or have officially delivered — the divorce papers to the other spouse. The decree will have a hearing date on which both parties are legally obliged to appear before the judge.

Once the other party is served, the spouses may negotiate a settlement between themselves, with a mediator or attorneys. Or, if they cannot agree, they can appear before the judge.

Petitioner

The petitioner is the person filing the divorce petition papers.

Respondent

In divorce the respondent is the spouse that responds to the petition.

Service

As with any lawsuit, if you are filing a petition, you must serve the respondent (in other civil matters this party is called the defendant) within a specified time frame.

You can typically either give your spouse these papers yourself if you trust they will respond and appear in court, or you can hire a service processor or pay your local sheriff’s office to deliver the papers to your spouse. The processes server will then have to sign an affidavit — or legally binding statement — stating that the papers were indeed delivered to the right party at a certain time and place specified in the affidavit.

Answer

An answer in legalese is simply a response to the petition he or she was served. The answer can be in the form of a court appearance, a phone call directly to the petitioner or through attorneys.

Default, amicable or uncontested

Default, amicable and uncontested and no-fault divorce mean the same thing: You both agree to get divorced, agree to the terms of the divorce, file. The end.

Learn more about uncontested divorce in this complete guide.

Contested divorce

You go to trial or multiple appearances before the judge to work out terms of your divorce.

Spousal abandonment or desertion

Abandonment was commonly used in olden times of divorce law, before no-fault divorce as mainstream, as a reason to file for divorce. Today, it doesn’t matter to a judge which spouse files first, or walks out on the other spouse, or decides to leave the relationship.

Legal separation

Often couples file in court to legally separate, which means they are still legally married, but also legally separated, and typically live separately. Depending on the state, this status offers some legal protections for both parties while also forcing them to come to temporary agreements on immediate important items including time and legal responsibility of the kids, separating bank accounts, and preventing the sale of shared assets.

Divorce settlement

Contrary to popular belief, most divorces do not go to court, and even those that do are usually settled out of court between the two parties. A divorce settlement is a document that outlines the terms of the divorce regarding division of property and debt, time and legal rights to the children, and any ongoing child support or alimony, among other items.

A divorce settlement is a legal document that is required to file divorces in all states. In amicable and online divorces, the husband and wife (or two husbands, or two wives) can agree to the terms of their divorce without attorneys, mediators or judges and sign the divorce settlement by themselves.

Divorce hearing

A divorce hearing is typically one of the appearances you and your spouse must make to finalize the divorce. In some states, there is no divorce hearing required.

Divorce trial

It is increasingly rare for couples to go to trial for divorce, but in the event that you cannot come to terms of a divorce settlement outside of court, you must appear before a judge. Typically, each spouse will be represented by an attorney, and a judge will make a determination as to the details of the divorce.

Dissolution of marriage

Dissolution means the marriage is finally, formally and legally over, and a divorce decree can be issued.

Divorce decree

This is the final, signed and sealed divorce document issued by the state confirming details of the divorce. You may need a divorce decree to prove to various institutions that you are divorced — including your bank or brokerage, insurance companies, or local governments in which you own any real estate or business.

Divorce certificate

A divorce certificate is different from a decree in that it is simply a formal, legal document accessible to the public proving the date and finalization of the divorce. This is similar to a marriage, death or birth certificate, registering the event with a local government.

How to decide whether or not to get divorced — pros, cons and how to tell your wife or husband you want a divorce.

Common types of divorce

Amicable divorce (a.k.a. friendly divorce or no-fault divorce)

An amicable divorce means that both spouses agree to the terms and conditions without a court trial, and without lengthy attorney negotiations. Couples divorcing amicably typically either agree to terms of the split by themselves, with the help of a mediator, a therapist, or through the collaborative process.

Mediated divorce

Mediation in divorce is a way to work out the details and differences of ending the marriage with your soon-to-be ex-spouse without going to court, and outside of lawyers battling for a win. You may use a professional divorce mediator, a therapist, someone from your church or temple, or even a friend to mediate divorces. A family court or divorce court judge may order you work with a mediator to settle divorce disputes.

5 tips for a quick divorce

Annulment or nullity

An annulment voids a marriage, essentially removing it from existence.

Collaborative divorce

Collaborative divorce is gaining popularity. In this process, each spouse hires his or her own attorney, and then there is a third, neutral lawyer or other mediator works to resolve any disagreements and come to an amicable solution without going to court, and with the lowest cost and conflict possible. This is in contrast to the traditional “winner takes all” approach to divorce. Most couples use a local divorce or family lawyer to file for divorce, even if you agree on most terms, and file yourself. It can be a good investment to have an experienced attorney look over your forms.

Difference between a fault divorce and a no-fault divorce

Starting in the late 1960s, states started passing no-fault divorce laws — which is not the norm in all states. No-fault divorce means you can just get divorced because one spouse wants to. Fault divorce requires one party to prove the court that they have reason to be granted divorce, and prove fault of the other party.

These states have true, no-fault divorce, which means you do not have the option to file a reason for divorcing:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

In these states, people do not have the option of asserting the other person is at fault for the divorce, though almost 100% of the time irreconcilable differences is cited. There is no good legal reason to fight over reasons for the divorce.

In the rest of the states, you can choose to file a reason for your divorce, but most people go with irreconcilable differences and get on with it. Citing grounds for divorce is usually a sign of wanting a fight, and there is no advantage to proving any reason for divorce.

On what grounds can I divorce my husband or wife?

Reasons to cite for fault in divorce can include:

  • Adultery
  • Addiction
  • Abandonment
  • Bigamy
  • Prison
  • Mental illness
  • Incest
  • Impotence
  • Abuse

But again, no judge wants to hear about why you are seeking divorce. Just file either no-fault, or irreconcilable differences and move on!

Grounds for divorce: X examples of irreconcilable differences

What does ‘irreconcilable differences’ mean in a divorce?

Filing for divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences is the same as filing for a no-fault divorce. Neither spouse seeks to prove wrongdoing that caused the end of the marriage.

8 examples of irreconcilable differences

Thanks to no-fault divorce being the law and norm throughout the United States and world, you don’t need to share details about why you don’t want divorce, and it is advised that if your state requires a reason to stick with irreconcilable differences.

Here are examples of irreconcilable differences:

  • Fighting over money
  • Sexual incompatibility
  • Different values/politics/religion
  • Lack of shared household work / childcare
  • Different parenting styles
  • In-law interference
  • You don’t get along
  • Grew apart

How do you prove irreconcilable differences?

The beauty of claiming irreconcilable differences as the reason for divorce is that you don’t have to prove anything! Your reasons for divorcing are your own. Check the box and move on.

What is the first thing to do when getting a divorce? Checklist for preparing for divorce

If you are initiating divorce, or just learned that your spouse is ready to separate:

  1. Get money in your own name, in your own account that no one else has access to. However, do NOT take money that is legally both of yours (which may mean that income from your job may be legally your husband or wife’s, too).
  2. Make sure your bills are paid, and paid on time. Keep an eye on your credit score.
  3. Call a few attorneys in your area to understand what you can expect. You don’t necessarily need to hire a divorce lawyer, but insight from attorneys in your area will be very helpful.
  4. Do not do anything rash. Do not move out of the house (yet). Do not take the kids away from their other parent. Do not quit your job, spend a bunch of money, or flaunt a new girlfriend or boyfriend publicly. Be an adult.
  5. Be kind and decent at all cost. This is horrible for everyone. Keep the drama as low as possible — at least for now.

RocketLawyer has free divorce checklist to help you get started.

Steps in the divorce filing process:

  1. Obtain divorce forms
  2. File a petition for divorce
  3. Serve divorce papers to your husband or wife
  4. Negotiate a settlement
  5. Go to divorce trial and finalize the judgment (sometimes)

1. Obtain divorce forms

If you are working with an attorney, he or she will do this on your behalf. Or, you can obtain the papers from a local court house, or use an affordable online divorce papers service. Here is our list of the best DIY online divorce companies.

Alternatively, you could hire an attorney who would contact your spouse directly, or contact their attorney if they have one. From there, one of you could choose to file in the courts, or agree on your own terms before filing any petition.

2. File a petition for divorce

Once you file your divorce petition with the local court, this initiates the legal process. A court date will be set. In some states, this step can be used to initiate a legal separation.

Alternatively, if your goal is an amicable divorce, you may sit down with your husband or wife and work out the terms of a divorce (the settlement), work with a mediator, or each of you could hire attorneys to work out a fair divorce before anyone files anything with the courts.

3. Serve divorce papers to your spouse

This is the formal way to let your spouse know you are ready for divorce. You may have told them that you were filing, so this becomes a formality. An amicable divorce is a way to avoid this step.

How to serve divorce papers

When you serve someone with any legal document, this means that you must officially have the papers delivered to the other party. In some cases, you can do that yourself, you can hire a process server, or a professional who will go to the home, work or other place to officially deliver the papers, or you can pay your local sheriff’s office to deliver them.

The court house or your attorney will explain the rules about the papers. These will include:

  • Who legally can serve the papers
  • Deadline for serving the papers
  • Other details required that make the service admissible
  • Any affidavit or notarization required

Do divorce papers have to be notarized?

Typically, each party signing the divorce papers must notarize them, and witnesses may also be required, depending on your state. This ensures that the spouses who are divorcing are actually signing the papers

Where to find a notary for divorce papers

To notarize divorce papers, typically you simply either use a notary public near you through your attorney, court, or a local notary — there is usually one on staff at your bank or credit union, local post office, AAA (a free benefit to members), UPS store, or a friend who is a notary. Many accounting offices, law firms, and real estate businesses also employ notaries. Expect to pay a fee of $2 to $5 per document, though your bank may offer this service for free.

For online notary service, you can use Notarize.com, which charges a steep fee of $25 per document. Not all states accept electronic notaries, so check first.

4. Negotiate a settlement

Here is our list of what to ask for in divorce, with more advice on preparing for the separation, process and life post-divorce. Important items include:

  • Custody, time-sharing and co-parenting children
  • Division of assets like investment, brokerage and bank accounts, real estate as well as debt. Guide to division of assets in divorce
  • Any ongoing financial arrangements, including cost-sharing for children, health insurance, estate planning, life insurance, child support and alimony.

5. Go to divorce trial and finalize the judgment (sometimes)

Less than 10% of divorces go to trial, according to Lawyers.com, but almost all divorces that are initiated are finalized. Hopefully, you settle out of court, agree to a settlement, and then file the settlement and other paperwork required by your states at the local court house.

In some states, you are required to appear for the final judgment, but some will finalize the divorce, and mail each of you the final decree.

Remember that while the division of assets will be finalized once your divorce is finalized, custody and child support are never final — and you can revisit these terms with your ex — whether between the two of you, through lawyers, or your local family court, where you can represent yourself for free, if possible.

Divorce process without a lawyer: How do I start filing for divorce? What do I do?

Today, most states allow divorcing couples to complete at least some, if not all, of the divorce process online. This is a completely legit and good way to resolve the end of a marriage and can be the least expensive, and least stressful way, too.

As in all the divorce options, it is usually advisable that a divorce attorney at least review the final divorce settlement to make sure all issues are addressed, and the formal details are completed correctly so that the courts do not reject the final filing. Also, you likely will have questions along the way. Divorce is a big deal, it is emotional and often complicated.

There are several quality online divorce services that help couples file divorces online, themselves, while also making available real-life lawyers to help.

If you have a generally healthy relationship with your ex (no abuse, toxic habits, screaming, belittling), hashing out the details of divorce on the family sofa may work for you. This is especially true if you already co-parent well, and don’t need help establishing a schedule, cost-sharing or other communication, this is certainly the least expensive option.

Some states require divorcing couples to legally separate for a set period of time. Other states, including Texas, do not offer legal separation as an option.

If you are 100% ready to end the marriage, you are ready to divorce.

What’s the difference between legal separation and divorce?

Reasons people stay legally married, but attain a legal separation include:

  • Uncertainty about ending the marriage
  • Health insurance
  • Staying married for a certain period longer allows one spouse to be eligible for the other’s pension or other retirement benefits
  • One or both spouses want to avoid divorce for religious reasons
  • Tax reasons

When you should consider an amicable divorce

If you and your spouse are amicable, you can collect all the divorce papers from the local courthouse, sit down with a divorce settlement worksheet and agree to terms of the split yourselves. Then, you can file with the local courts. Depending on where you live, you may need to make an appearance in court to finalize the breakup.

Even if the divorce is friendly, before you officially file for a divorce, it helps to talk to an attorney or mediator to make sure that you are protecting your children, yourself and your financial interests.

If you are not working amicably with your spouse on the divorce, you may need to hire an attorney who will manage this process for you. Your ex then will also likely hire an attorney. Then, both camps can hash out a divorce agreement, which will then be filed in the courts. Or, you may have to go to trial if you can not come to a divorce agreement outside of court.

What is an amicable divorce?

An amicable divorce means that both spouses agree to the terms and conditions without a court trial, and without lengthy attorney negotiations. Couples divorcing amicably typically either agree to terms of the split by themselves, with the help of a mediator, a therapist, or through the collaborative process.

Online counseling for couples or individuals can be an affordable, convenient choice. Learn more …

These agreements include property division, spousal and child support, visitation and custody. Amicable divorce does not mean that the spouses are friends, or even friendly — but they are not at war, either.

Why an amicable divorce is best for your children

You can convince yourself that your children are not affected by the conflict of your divorce, but that is a lie. Your children pick up on all the tension between you and their other parent.

Also, it is very hard to move from a high-conflict divorce into an amicable, healthy co-parenting relationship. By committing to a low-conflict, amicable breakup now, you start your new life as peacefully for the whole family.

Amicable divorce paves the way for equal, happy co-parenting, which has been proven by 60 peer-reviewed studies to be the best arrangement for children in separated families.

In other words: Do not create any more bad memories or things to fight over during the divorce. You did that already when you were married.

How much does an amicable divorce cost?

While an average divorce costs each spouse $15,000 each in attorney fees — or $30,000 total — a DIY divorce can cost as little as $100 or less, depending on the filing fees in your state.

What is part of an amicable divorce checklist?

Whether you are working with a mediator, or directly with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, it is helpful to have a divorce settlement checklist to make sure you have all the paperwork and agreement items covered:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Prenup
  • Wills, trusts and other docs that may need to be amended after the divorce
  • Login information for all your shared financial and legal accounts
  • Documentation of any outstanding debt, and a plan to share that debt, including student loans, credit card, personal, medical, home and auto notes
  • All bank account statements, and an agreed-upon plan for how any funds will be shared
  • Retirement and investment account statements, and a plan for sharing these funds
  • Documents about any real estate that is part of the marriage, and how related assets, debt or rental income will be divided
  • Documents about any business that is part of the marriage, and how related assets, debt or rental income will be divided
  • Agreement for who is responsible and who gets any automobiles owned
  • 2 years of tax statements, and plans for tax filing in the divorce year
  • Custody, time-sharing plan for children
  • Plan for expense sharing for children
  • Any child support or alimony to be paid

How to have an amicable divorce

  1. Focus on being fair and honest, and aim for compromise.
  2. Be kind — to our ex (this is hard for him, too), yourself, and those around you. This is a loss and change for everyone.
  3. Find a positive tribe. One study found that when divorcing couples receive negative feedback from their friends and family (“Take him for all he’s worth!” “I always hated that bitch! Make her pay!”) the divorce conflict was higher than in separating couples who had kinder support networks.
  4. Recognize that this process establishes the tone of your new relationship going forward. If you share children, your husband or wife will be in your life for a long time.

Everything you need to know about notarizing, serving and filing your own divorce papers

Depending on whether you are using a single mediator, representing yourself or each of you have your own attorney, the spirit of an amicable divorce hearing is the same: Each of you wants to get out of the marriage in a way that is fair, quick and low-drama. In some states you must appear before a judge to finalize your divorce, but often your attorney or you can file settlement papers with the courts directly and do not have to appear.

What to expect at an amicable divorce hearing

Today, you can expect that hearing to be via Zoom or another online meeting platform. Attorneys and judges are backlogged thanks to Coronavirus shutdowns, and it will likely take longer than usual to finalize your divorce.

What is the best amicable online divorce company?

The best way to file an amicable divorce is by yourself — with no company at all! That said, even the friendliest of divorcing companies choose to have an attorney look over their paperwork to make sure it is all filed correctly, and many rely on sites like 3StepDivorce.

3StepDivorce gives you all the divorce forms, and settlement agreements that you need for your state, to file your divorce by yourself, for a $299 flat fee — including detailed filing instructions for your state. A+ Better Business Bureau rating and free 24/7 phone support. Get started now with 3StepDivorce and qualify for a $50 rebate, or read our review.

Learn more about DIY online divorce, or get started with 3StepDivorce now and get a $50 rebate >>

When you should consider an annulment vs. divorce

Divorce and a civil annulment (not religious annulment) are similar in that they both legally end a marriage.

What’s the difference between annulment and divorce?

While you can get a divorce based on any reason, or no reason at all, in most states, to attain an annulment, you have to prove that it should be nullified, or canceled. Annulments can be lengthy, expensive and complicated — especially compared with an online divorce.

It is often possible to get a religious or church annulment, as well as a civil divorce.

If you’re making more money than your spouse, you may want an annulment because there’s usually no alimony in an annulled marriage.

What are the reasons for an annulment?

Grounds for annulment include:

  • Unsound mind. You must prove one spouse gave consent to marry under the influence of drugs or alcohol or was otherwise mentally impaired. Drunk in Vegas may count.
  • Force or coercion. One spouse was coerced into the marriage by force or threat.
  • Fraud. The marriage is based on lies made by one spouse — such as hiding large debts, or being dishonest about your willingness or ability to have children, or a marriage solely to obtain a green card.
  • Physical impairment. This typically refers to sexual impotence, though if you knew about your spouse’s impotence before marriage, this cannot be used to nullify a marriage.
  • Invalid marriage. The following situations deem a marriage invalid from the beginning since they are illegal in the United States:
    • Bigamy
    • Incest
    • Underage marriage

How long before you can get an annulment?

Each state has its own statute of limitation for annulments and can vary by situation, including underage marriage, impotence or fraud.

How do you annul a marriage?

Check with an attorney, as each state has different laws and practices around annulment. In some states, if both spouses agree, you can get an annulment without a hearing.

In many cases, your can handle your own annulment, online, using an online platform. Rocket Lawyer has online forms and instructions to help you file an annulment, online, for a low cost. RocketLawyer has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

When you should consider divorce with a mediator

A mediator makes sense when you and your spouse are on the same page, more or less, about ending the marriage, but may hate each other too much to be able to calmly work out the details of dissolving your marriage. Mediators are also helpful, in that a skilled or certified mediator has legal insights that can help ensure that you address all the immediate and future topics that make for a solid divorce and separation agreement — and that both parties’ interests are fairly accounted for.

Also, a mediator is far, far less expensive than each party hiring an attorney, and much more likely to ensure that the process is fast and as low-conflict as possible.

Some mediators work with couples from the beginning of the separation process and schedule a set number of sessions with both you and your spouse — some together, and some separately — until the final divorce agreement has been mutually agreed upon and signed. Other times, you may choose to come to the mediator with specific questions to be addressed or simply to look over the final settlement agreement to make sure all relevant issues are addressed.

How to file for divorce with a mediator

Depending on your mediator’s credentials, and your needs your mediator may file your divorce on your behalf, or they may help you address all the necessary items to come to an agreeable divorce settlement, which you can then file yourself in your local courthouse. The mediator should provide all of the legal documents necessary to finalize your divorce in your state.

When you need a divorce lawyer

I can attest to how helpful and comforting it can be to have an attorney at your side who can guide you and advocate on your behalf. But, lawyers aren’t cheap. If you use a divorce attorney to end your marriage, the average cost is $15,000 nationwide. In California and New York, divorce with a divorce lawyer on retainer can easily cost each individual up to $25,000.

Keep in mind: The nastier the divorce, the more money lawyers make. Family attorneys are financially motivated to create more conflict, not diffuse animosity.

That said, there are many quality divorce attorneys that will serve in litigation, mediation, or simply as consultants to review a divorce settlement that you and your soon-to-be ex hashed out peacefully at the kitchen table.

The cost of a high-conflict separation and divorce is not just financial. The cost is also emotional — to the whole family. Research finds that it is not divorce itself that is harmful to children, but the conflict between parents, whether married or divorced. The more drama now, during your divorce, the less likely you are to successfully co-parent long-term.

How to co-parent peacefully with even the most toxic ex

Thankfully, there are ways to divorce for very low-cost. In fact, most states allow individuals to represent themselves in the divorce process, and 80 percent of divorces involve at least one party representing themselves.

Here are some situations where you need to hire an attorney:

  • You need a divorce lawyer if there is abuse in the relationship, or against the children.
  • There is a severe addiction, cognitive impairment, or severe mental illness that prevents one spouse from being an equal co-parent.
  • You need a family attorney for your divorce if there are large sums of money, assets, property or a family business that are complicated and require professionals to divide equitably.
  • There are international visa issues at hand.
  • It is not possible to proceed with an amicable divorce or annulment.

How to find a divorce lawyer you like and trust

If you are not working amicably with your spouse on the divorce, you may need to hire an attorney who will manage this process for you. Your ex then will also likely hire an attorney. Then, both camps can hash out a divorce agreement, which will then be filed in the courts. Or, you may have to go to trial if you can not come to a divorce agreement outside of court.

How do I file for divorce with a lawyer?

Typically, if attorneys are involved, each spouse hires their own lawyer, and between the two parties, an agreement is reached, and then filed in court. Sometimes a couple agrees to use one attorney to mediate the agreement, which is a lower-conflict, and more affordable way to divorce. If you cannot agree on a settlement, you may go to court. A judge may order a mediation or arbitration, in which a third-party will help you come to terms of agreement, typically in line with what a judge would order.

Keep in mind that a good attorney will advise you as to what to expect should your case be heard before a judge, so you and your spouse can settle without the expense, time and stress of a hearing.

Contrary to popular belief: Divorce cases are not heard before juries.

How to file for divorce with a lawyer

If you decide you’d like to speak with a lawyer, start with the Rocket Lawyer attorney directory. Ask around to friends for a local attorney referral. Lawyers will typically take an in-bound call and give you a free or reduced-price initial call to see if the two of you are a good fit. Be honest about your case, and take notes. You can learn a lot from these sessions.

Questions to ask a divorce attorney before agreeing to work with them:

  • What is your rate?
  • How often do your clients settle out of court, vs go to trial?
  • What is your philosophy about low-conflict or amicable divorces?
  • Do you provide mediation services if we agree that is a fit?
  • How many men vs women are your clients?
  • What are your personal feelings about (alimony, 50-50 custody, parents moving out of state, or any other issue that is important or worrisome to you)?
  • Will I be working with you, or one of your associates?
  • What kind of response time can I expect from you?
  • How will we communicate — email, phone, text, video, fax?
  • Given what you know about my case, what do you expect my outcome will be in terms of speed of reaching a settlement, and getting what I want?

If you work with an attorney for your divorce here is what you can expect:

  • Sign an agreement to work with your attorney, including their hourly rates. Most divorce lawyers require a retainer — or a sum of money up front against which their hourly rate will be billed.
  • Set up a time to meet and work through the main information and create a strategy — will you first file for divorce and then serve your spouse? Or will your attorney reach out directly to the other spouse’s attorney?
  • You, your soon-to-be ex and your respective lawyers will likely meet in a ‘four way’ meeting to discuss terms of a settlement. There may be several of these meetings, with emails and calls between the parties to negotiate details.
  • Ideally, a settlement is agreed to, all parties sign, and one attorney files in court.
  • Some states require an appearance in front of a judge, who will review the divorce papers, and either sign them and issue a divorce decree (congratulations — you’re divorced!), or ask for revisions. Other states allow divorcing spouses to file their divorce papers online, in which case a magistrate or judge will finalize them and send you the signed divorce papers.

Do I need a divorce lawyer if we agree on everything?

If you and your spouse are amicable, you can collect all the divorce papers from the local courthouse, sit down with a divorce settlement worksheet and come to terms of the split yourselves. Then, you can file with the local courts. Depending on where you live, you may need to make an appearance in court to finalize the breakup.

Even if the divorce is friendly, before you officially file for a divorce, it helps to talk to an attorney or mediator to make sure that you are protecting your children, yourself and your financial interests.

Learn more about our #1 online divorce company recommendation, 3StepDivorce, or get started with divorce papers in your state:

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Frequently asked questions about divorce

What happens after filing for divorce?

If you and your spouse are not on reasonable terms, you or your attorney may hire a process server to serve the divorce papers to your soon-to-be ex. Then, you may either appear in court to hash out the divorce, or each of you will hire an attorney who will attempt to settle the divorce outside of court — and then file the separation or divorce agreement with the courts.

You may also both hire and work with a mediator to reach a settlement, or come to terms of the divorce between the two of you. In this case, a divorce paper service can be helpful.

Are divorce records public?

Some divorce records are public, though family court records generally are not — both depend on your state. The terms and details of your divorce are usually not public. Divorce certificates are public.

What makes a divorce final?

Your divorce is final when it is signed by a judge and you are issued a divorce decree.

How long does it take to get final divorce decree?

The length of time it takes to get your final divorce decree after filing for a divorce depends on your state laws, how backed up your local courts are, and whether you filled out all the divorce papers properly.

Do I have to sign final divorce decree?

Typically, both spouses and a judge must sign the final divorce decree to render it legitimate and binding.

Where are divorce decrees recorded?

Divorce decrees are filed and recorded in your local county count house.

My husband abandoned me. What can I do?

First step, call a local divorce attorney and ask what your options are in your state. If you know where your spouse is, you have the option to file DIY, and have him served with divorce papers. In the meantime, make sure you have the following secured, in your own name, and don’t sit around waiting for a big divorce settlement or alimony check:

  • Checking account
  • Credit card
  • Home
  • Car
  • Job

My wife walked out on me. What are my rights?

Your rights in divorce are the same no matter who walked out, which spouse initiated the divorce, or whose feelings were hurt more. No-fault divorce means that the court does not take into consideration which spouse left first.

Why you should skip OnlineDivorce.com and use this divorce papers company instead

Frequently asked questions about the cost of divorce

How much does filing for divorce cost?

If you DIY divorce, the price to file divorce papers can cost a few hundred dollars in filing fees. If you hire an attorney, you will pay $200-$1,000 per hour, with an average cost per spouse of $15,000 or more.

An online divorce papers service like 3StepDivorce.com costs $299 — and you get a $50 cash refund if you file within one business day.

What is the cheapest way to get a divorce?

Filing an amicable divorce yourself after getting all the divorce papers from your local courthouse, and agreeing to a settlement directly with your husband or wife, is the cheapest way to get divorced.

How do I afford a divorce?

The average divorce with attorneys costs $15,000 — and that is just for the initial separation, and for one party (your ex will likely pay similarly). If you are thinking of leaving your marriage, you likely also need to consider the expense of managing two homes on an income that once managed just one home — plus, possibly, the cost of child support and/or alimony, as well as extra child care expenses.

If using an attorney, mediator or a collaborative divorce option, ask about fees, hourly rates or retainers up front. Cut costs by hiring a lawyer to handle a portion of your divorce such as preparing or reviewing documents, and complete the paperwork yourself with a reputable online divorce paper service like 3 Step Divorce.

How to get through divorce without going bankrupt

Divorce is one of the greatest indicators of bankruptcy, property foreclosure, poor credit, and other financial challenges. Each state has its own laws regarding debt, bankruptcy and divorce. Learn more in our post about bankruptcy and divorce, which explains how to avoid filing Chapters 11 or 13, and how those filings work in the event that you are forced into insolvency.

Frequently asked questions about how to file for divorce in your state

Divorce in Alabama

How much does a divorce cost in Alabama?

The fees to file an uncontested divorce in Alabama vary by county, but filing and completing a divorce will cost between $200 and $300. Couples with children pay more. You may apply for a hardship fee waiver. 

How long does it take to get a divorce in Alabama?

Alabama divorces take at least 30 days, starting from the day you file. A contested divorce can take six or more months.

How is property divided in a divorce in Alabama?

Alabama is not a community property state, so marital property will be split according to a doctrine of “equitable distribution” which tasks the court with determining a fair division of property. Though this may result in an even 50/50 division of property, this is not guaranteed. In Alabama, property acquired before your marriage is considered separate property and is not subject to division during your divorce.

Is Alabama a 50/50 custody state?

Alabama law favors joint legal custody of children during divorce, with both parents sharing responsibility for major decisions, though the state defaults to “best interest of the child” when it comes to time-sharing schedules. Typically, one parent is awarded primary residential custody, with the other parent given ‘visitation rights.’

How much is child support in Alabama?

Child support in Alabama is determined by an income shares model in which both parents’ incomes are factored into the payment sum, which typically is paid by the noncustodial parent, and/or the parent with the higher income.

Extenuating circumstances may impact each parent’s expected contribution.

Divorce in Alaska

How much does a divorce cost in Alaska?

Filing for divorce in Alaska costs $250. If you need to file a modification to either child custody, visitation, support, property division, or spousal maintenance, you’ll need to pay an additional $75.

If you choose to hire a divorce lawyer, the average divorce lawyer in Alaska charges approximately $300 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Alaska?

Getting a divorce in Alaska will take at least 30 days after you have filed, due to a mandatory waiting period.

How is property divided in a divorce in Alaska?

Alaska is not a community property state, which means that any marital property will be divided according to a doctrine of equitable distribution. Under this doctrine, the courts are responsible for determining what a fair division of property will look like. Though this may result in an even 50/50 split of all marital assets and debt, this isn’t guaranteed; the court may decide that an uneven division is actually more fair. By Alaskan law, property and debt acquired before a marriage is considered to be separate or individual property, and is not subject to division during your divorce.

Alaskan law is unique in that it allows either spouse to opt-in and make their property community property if they so choose. If you choose to go this route and make your marital property community property, then it will be split 50/50 between you and your spouse.

Is Alaska a 50/50 custody state?

In Alaska, parents are typically encouraged to reach a custody agreement (also called a parenting schedule) on their own, without the intervention of the courts. If you can’t reach an agreement, then custody will be determined by the courts based upon what is in the best interest of the child. Though Alaskan law presumes that it is in the best interest of the child for parents to share legal custody, this doesn’t always translate into shared physical custody or 50/50 time-sharing.

In cases where there is a history of domestic violence, Alaskan law presumes that the parent who committed the domestic violence will not get custody or visitation unless they meet specific requirements.

How much is child support in Alaska?

In Alaska, if one parent is awarded primary physical custody, then the non-custodial parent must pay child support until the child either graduates from high school or turns 19 years old, whichever is sooner.

Child support in Alaska is calculated by multiplying the non-custodial parent’s adjusted gross income by a certain percentage depending on the number of children:

  • 20% for one child
  • 27% for two children
  • 33% for three children
  • an additional 3% for each additional child thereafter

The minimum child support is $50 per month, and payors may be subject to a cap if their income is more than $126,000 annually.

Divorce in Arizona

How much does a divorce cost in Arizona?

In Arizona, to divorce the petitioner is required to file for a “Petition for dissolution of marriage” which costs $234, and the responding spouse must pay a fee of $159. You can apply to qualify for a waiver for financial hardship. Petitions for annulments and legal separations also cost $234, while responses to these filings cost $159 each.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Arizona?

Arizona requires both spouses be residents for a minimum of 90 days before filing for divorce. Arizona requires couples filing for divorce adhere to a 60-day waiting period before the decree is eligible to be finalized. Local attorneys report that contested divorces in which there are at least a few issues that must be presented to a judge, take between 90 and 120 days on average to be finalized.

How is property divided in a divorce in Arizona?

Arizona is one of the few states with a community property law that defaults to both spouses equally owning all property and debt acquired during a marriage. This can be overridden by a prenup, or mutual agreement.

Is Arizona a 50/50 custody state?

Arizona child custody laws are written to maximize equal parenting time with both parents, even though there is no language in the law that dictates 50/50 or equal parenting time. Arizona is considered a leader in the equal parenting movement for this reason. Further, as of 2013, Arizona removed the word “custody” from its statutes, and replaced it with terms “legal decision-making” and “parenting time.”

How much is child support in Arizona?

Arizona’s child support calculator factors in residential and nonresidential income, as well as how much parenting time the non-residential parent has with the child, and vice versa. Extra add-ons are factored into the final payment, as are travel expenses in the event that the parents must travel more than 100 miles for parenting time.

Divorce in Arkansas

How much does a divorce cost in Arkansas?

Filing fees for divorce in Arkansas vary depending on the county in which you file, though Arkansas filing fees range from $165 to $185.

If you decide to hire a lawyer, the average divorce attorney in Arkansas charges around $275 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Arkansas?

Arkansas has a 30-day waiting period for divorce, though it can take longer for your divorce to be finalized if the court has a backlog of cases on its docket, or if the divorce is contested.

How is property divided in a divorce in Arkansas?

Arkansas is not a community property state. This means that any marital property (property that is acquired over the course of the marriage) is subject to equitable distribution. Though equitable distribution may result in an even 50/50 split of all assets, debt, and property, this is not guaranteed. The courts will weigh a variety of factors in determining what equitable distribution of property looks like for your case.

Is Arkansas a 50/50 custody state?

Arkansas law favors joint legal custody, granting both parents equal say over major decisions in a child’s life.

While the law also expresses a preference for parents to share physical custody as equally as possible, the court will ultimately come to their own determination as to what is in the best interests of the child. In cases where joint custody is granted, one parent will be designated as the primary residential custodian, and the other parent will have visitation rights. Arkansas courts often consider the parent who provided the majority of care for the child during the marriage.

At the judge’s discretion, parents may be required to take a parenting course.

How much is child support in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, the non-custodial parent must pay child support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school (whichever is later).

Like many other states, Arkansas uses an income shares model to determine the level of child support owed. This takes into account both parent’s income, dividing the support amount proportionally between both parents.

Divorce in California

How much does a divorce cost in California?

Divorce paper filing fees in California are $435.

How long does it take to get a divorce in California?

California requires a six-month minimum waiting period after the defendant is served the initial divorce paper filings. However, the actual divorce can take longer.

How is property divided in a divorce in California?

California is a community-property state, so any assets or debt acquired during the marriage is split 50/50 at the time of divorce. California also adheres to quasi-community property laws, in that any assets or debts acquired outside the state of California during the marriage are also subject to California’s community property laws if the divorce takes place in California.

Is California a 50/50 custody state?

California leaves much of the legal and parenting time arrangements up to judges, though joint legal custody is preferred. There is no presumption of equal parenting time or physical custody in California.

How much is child support in California?

Child support in California is calculated based on each parent’s income, as well as physical custody time. A 50/50 parenting time arrangement does not automatically mean that there is no child support in play.

Divorce in Colorado

How much does a divorce cost in Colorado?

Filing for divorce in Colorado costs $230. It costs an additional $222 to file for the allocation of parental responsibilities (custody). Filing a response with the court will cost $116, and filing a motion to modify the case will cost $105. Serving your spouse with divorce papers in Colorado will range between $50 and $70.

If you choose to hire a divorce attorney, the average Colorado divorce lawyer charges between $230 and $280 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Colorado?

Colorado has a mandatory 90-day waiting period for divorce. The 90-day waiting period begins on the date of the filing, if the filing was made jointly by both spouses. If the filing was made by just one spouse, then the 90-day waiting period begins the day that the non-filing spouse is served their papers.

That being said, most divorces in Colorado are finalized within 6 to 9 months. A contested divorce will typically take much longer. If the court has a backlog of cases, this can also lengthen the amount of time required to finalize your divorce.

How is property divided in a divorce in Colorado?

Colorado is not a community property state. This means that if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement as to how marital property should be divided, the court will use a doctrine of equitable distribution to come to its own decision about what a fair division of property will look like. Though this may result in an even 50/50 split of marital property, including assets and debts, that is not guaranteed. The court will use a number of factors, including the length of the marriage and each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition of marital property, to determine what a “fair” division looks like.

In Colorado, separate property, which includes those assets that each spouse acquired before the marriage, as well as property acquired by gift or inheritance, is not typically subject to division during divorce.

Is Colorado a 50/50 custody state?

In Colorado, legal custody of children is typically shared 50/50 between both parents. Colorado law also shows a preference for parents sharing physical custody as evenly as possible. That said, the court will typically award primary physical custody to a single parent based upon what is in the best interests of the child. In these cases, the other parent will typically have visitation rights.

Sole legal and physical custody can be granted in cases where physical, emotional, or sexual abuse has been committed by one parent against the child, or in cases where the child has witnessed domestic violence by one parent against the other.

How much is child support in Colorado?

In Colorado, child support is required until the child turns 19 (if they have graduated from high school) or 21 (if they have not).

The Colorado child support calculator uses an income shares model to calculate how much child support is owed. This model adds both parents’ income together, and then multiplies it by a certain percentage (often around 20% for the first child and an additional 10% for each additional child). This number will then be divided between both parents depending on the number of overnight stays the child spends with each parent and whether or not alimony is due or received. Generally speaking, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent.

The minimum amount of child support required in Colorado is:

  • $50 for 1 child
  • $70 for 2 children
  • $90 for 3 children
  • $110 for 4 children
  • $130 for 5 children
  • $150 for 6 or more children

Divorce in Connecticut

How much does a divorce cost in Connecticut?

It costs $350 to file for divorce in Connecticut. Serving your spouse with divorce papers will cost an additional fee of approximately $50, though this may vary depending on the process server you hire. If you have children, you will be required to complete a parenting education class, at a cost of $125.

If you choose to hire a divorce attorney, you will of course also need to pay that lawyer’s hourly rate. In Connecticut, divorce attorneys typically charge between $250 and $450 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Connecticut?

Connecticut has a mandatory 90-day waiting period required by law. This waiting period begins the date of the filing, if the filing was made jointly by both spouses. If the filing was made by one spouse, this waiting period will begin approximately 30 days after the filing (the “return date”).

In some instances, it is possible to waive this 90-day waiting period. Typically, this will require that you and your spouse agree on all issues (including alimony, child support, custody, and the division of property) before filing for divorce.

A backlog of cases in the court’s docket can significantly increase the amount of time that it takes to finalize your divorce.

How is property divided in a divorce in Connecticut?

Connecticut is an equitable distribution state, not a community property state. This means that if you and your spouse do not come to an agreement on the division of marital property, the court will decide what a fair division of property looks like for your marriage. It is possible, but not guaranteed, that this might result in an even 50/50 split of all assets and debt.

In Connecticut, it’s important to note that divorce courts have the authority to divide separate property in cases where it is deemed that doing so would be equitable. This is different from how many states treat separate property.

Is Connecticut a 50/50 custody state?

In Connecticut, the court tends to presume that legal custody is shared, and equally shared parenting time is the preferred outcome. This is not guaranteed by law, however, and most cases end with a “primary custodial parent,” and a “non-custodial parent.”

If both parents are able to come to an agreement on custody, the courts will typically defer to that agreement unless it finds that the agreement would cause damage to the child. In cases where parents cannot come to an agreement, the court will typically require mediation. If an agreement still cannot be reached even through mediation, the court will come to a decision on custody based upon what the court determines is in the best interests of the child.

Connecticut couples who are separating / getting divorced and have children under age 18 are required to participate in a 6-hour parenting program within 60 days.

How much is child support in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, the non-custodial parent will typically be responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent.

Connecticut’s child support calculator uses an income shares model to determine how much child support is owed. This means that both parents’ income will be factored into the final amount that is owed, which will then be split between both parents proportionally based upon their income. Other expenses, such as health insurance, medical expenses, child care, etc. are also split proportionally between both parents, in addition to this basic child support amount.

Child support in Connecticut ends once a child has either turned 19, or has both graduated high school and turned 18.

Divorce in Delaware

How much does a divorce cost in Delaware?

Filing for divorce in Delaware will cost you $165. Filing for alimony, property division, or separation agreement will each cost an additional $90 per action.

In Delaware the average divorce attorney charges between $100 and $300 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Delaware?

In order to get a divorce in Delaware, you and your spouse must first have been legally separated for a minimum of 6 months. It is only after this separation has taken place that the courts will move forward with the divorce process. Once divorce proceedings have begun, a divorce can be finalized in as little as 2 to 3 weeks, depending on how busy the court’s schedule is.

The 6-month separation period can be waived, and divorce proceedings initiated immediately, if the divorce is being filed on grounds of misconduct (including physical, mental, or psychological abuse, adultery, or spousal desertion) so long as misconduct can be proven.

How is property divided in a divorce in Delaware?

Delaware is not a community property state, but instead follows the principle of equitable distribution. This means that when divorcing spouses cannot come to an agreement about how they will divide property, the courts will be tasked with determining what is “fair” for the marriage.

Equitable division of property might result in a 50/50 split of all assets, but this is never guaranteed. Marital debt is divided in a likewise fashion. In Delaware, separate property which was acquired by either you or your spouse before the marriage is typically not divided during a divorce.

Is Delaware a 50/50 custody state?

In Delaware, courts typically work under the assumption that both parents should retain equal legal custody of the child.

Because it is also typically assumed that it is in the best interests of the child for the child to have regular and ongoing contact with both parents, most cases will also result in joint physical custody as well. It’s important to note, however, that this does not necessarily translate into both parents having the child for equal periods of time.

Usually, one parent will be granted “primary custody” of the child. This parent, also called the “residential parent” or the “custodial parent” has physical custody of the child for the greater percentage of time. The other parent is typically referred to as the non-custodial parent.

If the parents are able to come to an agreement on time-sharing and visitation schedule, the court will typically accept that agreement. Otherwise, the court will create a visitation schedule based on what is in the best interests of the child. Some factors that are taken into consideration include each parent’s work schedule, the child’s school and extracurricular schedules, whether or not siblings are involved, and the child’s preference.

Both parents must complete a parenting class, and obtain certificates of completion before the court will initiate proceedings.

How much is child support in Delaware?

In Delaware, the non-custodial parent is typically required to pay child support to the custodial parent based on a formula that takes both parents’ income into consideration. Monthly cost of healthcare, health insurance, child care, and other court-approved expenses will also be proportionally split between both parents.

Calculations factor in a minimum amount of income necessary for a parent to remain productive in a workplace, or “a self-support allowance: of $1,110.

Once the primary support obligation is calculated, you will also need to calculate the standard of living adjustment (SOLA). This is additional support designed to ensure that the child will enjoy the same standard of living that they would have enjoyed if the family did not break up. SOLA is typically calculated by subtracting the primary support obligation and certain other deductions from each parents’ income, and then multiplying that number by a percentage that changes depending on the number of children being supported (12% for one child, 17% for two, 21% for three, and 2% more for each additional child). Child support in Delaware ends when the child turns 18 if they have graduated from high school, or 19 if they have not.

Divorce in Florida

How much does a divorce cost in Florida?

In Florida, a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage initiates the case and requires a fee that varies by count, though most charge $408 or $409 — and some charging a $12 penalty if you do not have an attorney.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Florida?

A divorce in Florida can take as little as a few weeks, though more realistically, most Florida divorces are completed within six months. One of the spouses must be a Florida resident for at least six months.

How is property divided in a divorce in Florida?

Florida is an equitable distribution state, so property and debt acquired during the marriage are split relevant to how it was acquired.

Is Florida a 50/50 custody state?

While Florida law does not presume equally shared parenting schedules, the statutes do call for equal responsibility: “The court shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.” Florida joins states that have replaced its use of the term “custody” in its laws with “parenting time.”

How much is child support in Florida?

Child support in Florida is calculated based on both parents’ incomes and the number of overnights each parent has with the children. An arrangement of 50/50 time-sharing dramatically reduces the sum of child support owed. Extra expenses like child care and medical and insurance bills are calculated on top of basic child support.

Divorce in Georgia

How much does a divorce cost in Georgia?

Filing for divorce in Georgia will cost between $200 and $220, depending on which county you are filing in. If you need to serve divorce papers to your spouse, you’ll need to pay an additional $50 service fee to the court.

If you choose to hire a divorce attorney, the average divorce lawyer in Georgia charges between $250 and $300 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Georgia?

Georgia has a mandatory 30-day waiting period. In cases where the divorce is filed jointly, this waiting period begins the day after the filing. In cases where the divorce is filed by one spouse, the waiting period begins the day after the other spouse is served with divorce papers.

How is property divided in a divorce in Georgia?

Georgia is an equitable distribution state. This means that if you and your spouse fail to reach an agreement on how to divide marital property (i.e., property acquired during the marriage), then the task will fall to the court, which will be tasked with dividing the property fairly — though not necessarily 50/50.

Typically, the judge will take a number of factors into consideration when dividing property, and marital debt is divided in the same way.

Separate property in Georgia is not typically subject to division during divorce. Generally speaking, you leave a marriage with what you brought into it.

Is Georgia a 50/50 custody state?

In Georgia, custody law specifically states a preference for granting parents custody on as equal a basis as possible during a divorce case. Due to this, the courts will generally default to granting equal legal custody, which allows both parents equal say over decisions such as healthcare, education, etc.

While joint physical custody of the child is typically the preferred outcome as well, it is important to note that this doesn’t always equate to an even 50/50 split of how much time the child spends with each parent. In fact, out of a desire to create stability for the child, it is not uncommon for a judge to rule that the child resides with one parent for the majority of the time while granting the other parent visitation rights. In these cases, the parent who has the child for the majority of the time is referred to as the “custodial parent” while the other parent is known as the “non-custodial parent.”

If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement on how the child will spend time with each of you, the court will typically adopt the agreed upon parenting plan unless it is found to be harmful to the child. If you cannot come to an agreement, then the court will make a determination based upon what the court decides is in the best interests of the child.

How much is child support in Georgia?

In Georgia, the child support calculator dictates that non-custodial parent is typically required to pay child support to the custodial parent. The state uses an income shares model to calculate the level of child support due. This model factors in both parents’ income, and then divides the support amount proportionally between both parents. Other expenses, such as healthcare, child care, and educational expenses, are similarly divided between both parents.

In cases where one parent makes substantially more money than the other or when custody is shared nearly equally, the judge may take other factors into consideration in settling questions around child support.

Child support must be paid in Georgia until the child turns 18 if they have graduated from high school, or 20 if they have not yet graduated.

Divorce in Hawaii

How much does a divorce cost in Hawaii?

The cost to file for divorce in Hawaii is $215, with an additional fee of $50 if either party has children. Paternity filing is $185, including a $50 parent education course.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Hawaii?

To divorce in Hawaii, one part has to have lived in the state for at least six months. There is no minimum wait or separation time, and typically divorcing couples do not have to appear in court in Hawaii. Expect one to three months.

How is property divided in a divorce in Hawaii?

Hawaii is an equitable division state, so assets and debts acquired during the marriage are divided equally between the spouses, regardless of which spouse acquired it or whose name is on it. Exceptions include inheritances acquired during the marriage.

Is Hawaii a 50/50 custody state?

Hawaii encourages equally shared parenting but does not require it, nor does the state law set any minimum required time with either parent.

How much is child support in Hawaii?

The Hawaii child support calculator factors in both parents’ incomes, the sum of time each parent spends with the children, number of kids and other factors. A child support payment of $77 per child is the minimum.

Divorce in Idaho

How much does a divorce cost in Idaho?

The cost of filing for divorce in Idaho will depend on whether or not you and your spouse have minor children. If you do have minor children, then you’ll need to pay a filing fee of $207. If you do not have minor children, then the filing fee will be $154.00. Filing an amendment to your complaint will require payment of an additional $41 fee. If you need to serve your spouse divorce papers, this will also cost an additional fee, which varies.

If you decide to hire a divorce attorney, the average divorce lawyer in Boise charges between $200 and $400 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Idaho?

Idaho has a mandatory 20-day waiting period after you file for divorce which begins the day after the divorce is filed (if filed jointly) or the day after the non-filing spouse is served with papers (if filed by just one spouse).

Other factors can also increase the length of time it takes to finalize your divorce. For example, if your divorce involves minor children, the court may put a 90-day hold on the case before it can be finalized.

Additionally, cases involving neglect, willful desertion, or alcoholism must be held for one year before a divorce can be finalized. Whether or not the court has a significant backlog of cases will also determine how quickly your case moves through.

All told, the average divorce in Idaho will take 30 to 90 days to finalize.

How is property divided in a divorce in Idaho?

Idaho is a community property state. This means that all property and assets acquired during the marriage belongs equally to both spouses, and must be split equally during divorce. Property acquired by each spouse before the marriage, as well as certain assets acquired during the marriage (such as gifts and inheritance) are considered separate property and are not subject to division during divorce in Idaho.

Marital debt is likewise considered community debt, and is split equally between both spouses in Idaho.

Is Idaho a 50/50 custody state?

In Idaho, the courts will typically presume that both parents have legal and visitation rights to a child, as this is considered to be in the best interests of the child. As such, joint legal and physical custody is the norm.

In cases where parents are able to come to an agreement on what a parenting schedule will look like, the judge will typically defer to the agreement. However, in cases where parents cannot come to an agreement, the judge will make a determination based upon what is in the best interests of the child. Though this will typically include frequent and continuing contact with both parents, this does not necessarily translate into an even 50/50 split of parenting time.

Whichever parent has the child for the majority of the time is typically referred to as the “custodial parent,” even in cases of shared or joint custody.

How much is child support in Idaho?

In Idaho, the non-custodial parent typically pays child support to the custodial parent. This child support payment is calculated using an income shares model, which takes both parents’ income into account when determining how support should be split. Child care, health insurance, educational expenses, and other costs are also proportionally split between both parents in this manner.

Child support payments are due in Idaho until the child graduates from high school and turns 18, or, if they have not graduated from high school, when the child turns 19 years old.

Divorce in Illinois

How much does a divorce cost in Illinois?

The cost of filing for divorce in Illinois varies by county and ranges from $307 in Cook County and $334 in Lake County. Filing an amendment to your complaint, serving your spouse with divorce papers, and requesting a transcript of the proceedings will require additional fees which vary by county.

In Illinois, the average divorce attorney charges approximately $260 to $330 per hour. Lawyers in Chicago specifically can charge upwards of $500 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Illinois?

A divorce in Illinois can be finalized in as little as two to four weeks, depending on the court’s schedule. Illinois does not have a mandatory wait time for divorce.

A contested divorce, meanwhile, can take 12-18 months or more.

How is property divided in a divorce in Illinois?

Illinois is an equitable distribution state, not a community property state. This means that instead of automatically dividing all marital property and debts in half, the courts will instead be tasked with determining a fair division. Though it is possible that this will result in a 50/50 split of all assets, that outcome is not guaranteed.

Any property that was acquired by either spouse before the marriage is considered separate property, and is not typically subject to division during divorce in Illinois. Some property acquired during the divorce can also be considered separate property, such as inheritance and gifts.

Is Illinois a 50/50 custody state?

In Illinois, if parents are able to come to an agreement as to how they will share legal and physical custody, the judge will usually accept this parenting plan. In cases where the parents cannot come to an agreement, it will be up to the judge to make a determination as to what is in the best interests of the child.

The statute guiding child custody specifically states that, except for in cases of abuse, “the court shall presume that the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents regarding the physical, mental, moral, and emotional well-being of their child is in the best interest of the child.” This makes a 50/50 custody split possible, and it is often the target that the court aims for. That being said, it should not be automatically presumed that this will be the outcome.

Whichever parent has the child for the majority of the time will typically be known as the “custodial” or “primary custodial parent.”

How much is child support in Illinois?

In Illinois, the non-custodial parent must pay child support to the custodial parent. While historically this amount was calculated as a simple percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income, in 2017 Illinois moved over to an income shares model, which takes both parents’ income into account. Other expenses, such as healthcare, child care, and educational expenses are similarly divided between both parents. The courts will use this figure as a starting point, but may adjust it further depending on other relevant factors, such as what the child’s standard of living may have looked like if the parents did not divorce. The figure will also likely be adjusted upward in cases of shared parenting, where the child spends at least 146 nights per year with each parent.

In cases where the paying parent’s income is equal to or below 75% of the federal poverty guidelines, then they will be required to pay $40 per child per month, up to a maximum of $120 per month. Paying parents with no income will not be required to make any payment.

Child support ends in Illinois once the child turns 18 years old.

Divorce in Indiana

How much does a divorce cost in Indiana?

Divorce filing fees in Indiana vary depending on which county you are filing in, with Marion, Monroe, and Clark Counties charging a filing fee of $177. If you must serve your spouse divorce papers, you’ll also need to pay a service fee, which averages about $28. Making an amendment to your claim, requesting a copy of the transcript, or having your papers notarized cost additional fees.

If you decide to hire a divorce attorney, as is often the case in a contested divorce, you’ll also need to pay their hourly rates. In the Midwest, including Indiana, the average divorce lawyer charges approximately $264 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Indiana?

Indiana has a 60-day mandatory waiting period that begins the day after the divorce has been filed. Most divorces in Indiana will be finalized within a few weeks after the waiting period has ended, depending on the court’s backlog. A contested divorce in Indiana can take much longer.

How is property divided in a divorce in Indiana?

Indiana is not a community property state. This means that if you and your spouse can’t reach an agreement on how marital property should be divided, then the task will fall to a judge, who will follow the doctrine of equitable distribution to determine what fair division looks like.

Though Indiana courts often presume that an equal 50/50 division of marital property is fair, this is not guaranteed, and judges may decide that an uneven division of property is fair.

As in other states, Indiana law recognizes both marital property (property acquired together during the marriage) and separate property (property acquired by spouses before the marriage). It is important to note, however, that Indiana judges have the power to divide separate property during a divorce as well as marital property. This is different from many other states.

Is Indiana a 50/50 custody state?

In Indiana, if parents are unable to come to an agreement as to how custody will be shared, then it will be up to a judge to determine what is in the best interests of the child.

While some states may presume or prefer an outcome in which custody is shared as evenly as possible, Indiana statute does not state such a preference. In fact, Indiana statute specifies that “joint legal custody does not require an equal division of physical custody of the child.” That being said, a joint custody agreement may result in a 50/50 split if that is deemed to be in the best interests of the child.

Even in cases where one parent is granted sole physical custody, in Indiana the non-custodial parent is still entitled to regular, reasonable time with the child, except for in cases of abuse or endangerment. If the parents cannot come to an agreement on what this looks like, the judge will design an appropriate parenting schedule.

Whichever parent has the child for the majority of the time will typically be known as the “custodial” or “primary custodial parent.”

Some Indiana counties require parents go through divorce to complete a divorce education class before the divorce will be finalized.

How much is child support in Indiana?

Indiana calculates child support based upon an income shares model, which takes both parents’ income into consideration when determining what support will look like. Typically, the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent.

In Indiana, the judge will use basic child support obligation as a starting point. Other factors, such as the cost of child care, healthcare, insurance, and standard of living can also influence the final support amount. It’s also possible for non-custodial parents to earn “parenting time credits” by spending more overnights with the child, which can reduce how much support is owed.

Child support must be paid in Indiana until the child turns 19 years old.

Divorce in Iowa

How much does a divorce cost in Iowa?

Divorce filing fees in Iowa are $265. If you need to serve your spouse divorce papers, you’ll need to pay a $40 service fee as well. Filing an amendment, hiring a notary, or requesting copies of the transcript will cost extra.

The average divorce lawyer in Iowa charges between $200 and $400.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Iowa?

Iowa has a 90-day mandatory waiting period that begins the day after a divorce has been filed. In cases where only one spouse is filing for divorce, the waiting period begins the day after the non-filing spouse has been served. Under certain specific circumstances, the court may choose to waive or reduce the waiting period.

While a divorce can be concluded relatively quickly depending on the court’s docket, it is not uncommon for a contested divorce in Iowa to take one year or longer to complete.

How is property divided in a divorce in Iowa?

Iowa is not a community property state, but instead follows the rules of equitable distribution. This means that a judge will be tasked with determining what a fair distribution of marital property looks like, should you and your spouse be unwilling or unable to reach your own agreement.

Equitable distribution can sometimes result in an even 50/50 split of all marital assets and debt, but this is not always guaranteed or practical.

Any property acquired by either spouse before the marriage is considered separate property, which is not typically subject to division during a divorce. Separate property also includes certain assets acquired during the marriage, such as an inheritance or certain gifts.

Is Iowa a 50/50 custody state?

Iowa statute states a strong preference for joint legal custody, especially in cases where either parent requests it. Similarly, if either parent requests joint physical custody (also known in the state as “physical care”), the courts must consider it. If joint physical custody is denied, the court must provide specific evidence as to how awarding joint custody would not be in the best interest of the child.

That being said, even in cases where joint custody is granted, a 50/50 split is not guaranteed. Typically, one parent will receive sole physical custody (the custodial parent) while the other parent will retain visitation rights (the non-custodial parent). Precisely what this schedule looks like will depend upon what the court determines to be in the best interests of the child.

If you and your spouse have children, then you will both also need to complete a parenting class called “Children in the Middle” before the divorce can be finalized.

How much is child support in Iowa?

In Iowa, the non-custodial parent will be responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent. How much they pay is calculated based on an income shares model, which takes into account both parents’ net monthly income. Other expenses, such as those related to healthcare, childcare, and education, will likewise be split proportionally between both parents.

If the non-custodial parent will have the child for at least 128 overnight stays during the year, the court may apply a credit to reduce the amount of support that is owed.

Child support in Iowa ends when the child turns 18 years old (19 if they have not yet graduated from high school).

Divorce in Kansas

How much does a divorce cost in Kansas?

Divorce filing fees in Kansas vary by county, but range from $100 to $200. Making an amendment to your divorce petition, requesting copies of transcripts, hiring a notary, and serving your spouse with divorce papers will all require you to pay additional fees, which also vary by county.

Average divorce lawyer in Kansas charges between $200 and $400 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Kansas?

Kansas has a 60-day mandatory waiting period that begins the day after the divorce has been filed. In some emergency cases, including those that involve abuse, this mandatory waiting period may be waived or shortened by the court.

The typical divorce in Kansas can often be completed within 60 to 80 days after filing, while a contested divorce can take anywhere from three to twelve months or more.

How is property divided in a divorce in Kansas?

Kansas is an equitable distribution state, which means that if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on how you will divide your marital property, then a judge will have the final say over what fair division looks like.

Equitable division can sometimes be an even 50/50 split of all marital assets and debt, but this is never guaranteed. The judge may decide that a non-equal division is in fact the most fair outcome.

In Kansas, property acquired before the marriage is considered separate and is typically not divided during the divorce.

Is Kansas a 50/50 custody state?

In Kansas, when parents cannot come to an agreement about how custody will be split, a judge determines the legal custody and time-sharing arrangement.

Kansas statute states a preference for joint legal custody, but does not have a similar preference when it comes to physical custody. Though the law states that both parents are “entitled to reasonable parenting time,” this does not typically mean an even 50/50 split of physical custody. In fact, out of a desire to create stability for the child, in Kansas it’s common for primary physical custody to be granted to one parent while the other parent retains visitation rights.

How much is child support in Kansas?

In Kansas, the non-custodial parent will typically be required to pay child support to the custodial parent. This amount is determined according to an income shares model, which factors both parents’ income when calculating child support.

How much of this amount is owed by the non-custodial parent will depend on what share of the combined income they provide. For example, a non-custodial parent in Kansas who generates 45 percent of the combined monthly income will be responsible for paying 45 percent of the figure above as child support.

Other factors, such as healthcare, insurance, and childcare costs can all increase how much aid is due. Non-custodial parents may also qualify for a reduction in child support depending on how much time the child spends with them on a weekly basis.

Child support in Kansas ends once the child turns 18 years old. If the child turns 18 while still enrolled in high school, then support will continue until the end of that school year.

Divorce in Kentucky

How much does a divorce cost in Kentucky?

Kentucky divorce filing fee is $113 — one of the lowest in the country. Financial aid is available.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Kentucky?

To qualify to divorce in Kentucky, both parties must have resided in the state for at least 180 days and agree the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” with no possibility for reconciliation. For divorces for couples with children must wait 60 days from the initial filing for the divorce to be eligible for finalization. For couples that don’t have minor children, the 60 days can begin from the date of separation.

How is property divided in a divorce in Kentucky?

Kentucky is an equitable distribution / common law state, which means marital property and debt are not automatically assumed to be owned by both spouses and therefore should be divided equally in a divorce.

Is Kentucky a 50/50 custody state?

In 2017, Kentucky became the first state to pass a rebuttable presumption of equally shared parenting time for separated and divorced parents. This means that it is presumed that both parents share parenting time equally, and have joint legal custody of any shared children.

How much is child support in Kentucky?

The Kentucky child support formula is the same for sole and joint physical custody, and does not factor in any parenting time. The Kentucky child support calculator applies the following percentages of the parents’ combined income:

  • 1 child is 20%
  • 2 children are 25%
  • 3 children are 30%
  • 4 children are 35%
  • 5 children are 40%
  • 6 children are 45%

Divorce in Louisiana

How much does a divorce cost in Louisiana?

The cost of filing for divorce in Louisiana will vary depending on which parish you file in, ranging from $250 to $400. This includes the cost of serving your spouse with divorce papers. In cases where sheriff’s service is not needed, you will be refunded a portion of the fee. Filing an amendment to your divorce petition, hiring a notary, and requesting copies will all cost additional fees, which vary significantly by county.

The average divorce lawyer in Louisiana charges between $150 and $300 per hour, or more.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Louisiana?

In order to get divorced in Louisiana, you and your spouse must first have been separated (living apart) for a minimum of 180 days if you are married with no children, or 365 days if you are married with children. It’s only after this separation has taken place that the courts will move forward to finalize the divorce. You can file your divorce petition before or after this separation.

Once the minimum separation has taken place and the petition has been filed, a divorce can be completed in as little as a few weeks, depending on how busy the court’s schedule is. A contested divorce usually takes longer.

How is property divided in a divorce in Louisiana?

Louisiana is a community property state. This means that all marital property (which typically includes assets, property, and debt acquired during the marriage) belong equally to both spouses, and must be divided equally during the divorce. \

Is Louisiana a 50/50 custody state?

In Louisiana, if divorcing parents cannot come to a parenting agreement themselves, then the court steps in and determines an arrangement determined best for the child.

According to Louisiana law, joint custody legal custody is typically preferred. The law also states that, “to the extent that it is feasible…physical custody of the children should be shared equally,” though this is not a rebuttable presumption.

If the court decides that one parent should have sole legal custody, the other parent retains regular visitation rights, except for in extreme cases. It is rare in Louisiana for sole physical custody to be granted.

Even when joint physical custody is granted, the court typically names one parent as the “domiciliary” parent. Typically this is the parent with whom the child lives for the majority of the time.

How much is child support in Louisiana?

Child support in Louisiana is determined according to an income shares model. This means that both parents’ income are used to determine what child support looks like. Costs such as insurance, healthcare, childcare, and education are similarly divided between both parents. The minimum amount of child support due per child is typically $100 per month.

In Louisiana, it’s typical for the non-domiciliary (non-custodial) parent to pay child support to the domiciliary (custodial) parent. In cases of joint or split custody, this amount may be higher or lower as necessary.

Child support must be paid in Louisiana until the child has turned 18 if they have graduated form high school, or 19 if they have not yet graduated from high school.

Divorce in Maine

How much does a divorce cost in Maine?

In Maine, it costs $120 to file for divorce. If you need to serve your spouse with divorce papers, it will cost between $25 and $50. In cases in which mediation is ordered, both spouses are responsible for an $80 mediation fee for each mediation session. Filing an amendment to your divorce petition, or “divorce complaint,” requesting copies of transcripts, etc., comes with additional fees.

Attorney rates in Maine range from $150 to $400 or more per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Maine?

Maine has a 60-day mandatory waiting period that begins once all of the required paperwork has been filed.

While a divorce in Maine can be completed in as little as 60 to 90 days, a contested divorce may take as long as 6 to 18 months, and a contested divorce in which children are involved typically take even longer.

How is property divided in a divorce in Maine?

Maine is not a community property state. Instead, marital property is divided according to equitable distribution. This means that in cases where both spouses cannot come to an agreement on the division of marital property, then it will be up to the courts to decide what a fair and equitable division of property looks like.

While equitable distribution can occasionally result in an even 50/50 division of all assets, the Maine judiciary specifically states that “equitable division of marital property does not necessarily mean that property will be divided equally.”

In Maine, separate property is not typically divided during divorce.

Is Maine a 50/50 custody state?

In Maine, the courts use a slightly different terminology when discussing custody than most other states. The term “parental rights and responsibilities” is commonly used to describe legal custody, while “physical residence” refers to what others call physical custody.

Maine statute does not indicate a preference for joint or shared legal or physical custody. The decision is completely up to the judge. That being said, it is most common for parental rights and responsibilities (legal custody) to be shared by both parents. When it comes to parent-child contact, it is assumed that “children do best when there is consistent, meaningful contact with each parent.” For this reason, even if one parent is granted primary physical residence, the other parent will retain visitation rights as spelled out in a parenting schedule.

It’s possible for the court to order “shared primary residence” if both parents live relatively close to one another in order to account for the logistics of such an arrangement.

How much is child support in Maine?

Maine uses an income shares model to calculate child support payments. This model takes both parents’ income into consideration in order to determine how much child support must be paid. This number is only a guideline, which can be adjusted as the court sees fit. Other costs, such as education, healthcare, childcare, and insurance are also typically divided proportionally between the parents.

When income is below federal poverty guidelines, total child support will be capped at 10% of parents’ combined gross income, split proportionally between both parents.

Generally speaking, in Maine the non-custodial parent will be responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent. If parents split time and care equally, then the higher earning parent will typically pay child support to the lower earning parent.

Child support in Maine ends when the child turns 18 years old. The courts may extend this on a case-by-case basis if the child is still in high school when they turn 18 years old.

Divorce in Maryland

How much does a divorce cost in Maryland?

Filing for divorce in Maryland costs $165. Serving your spouse with divorce papers, if necessary, will cost an additional fee of approximately $40. Filing an amendment, requesting copies of transcripts or other paperwork, will all require payment of additional fees.

The average hourly rate for a divorce lawyer in Maryland is between $260 and $325 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Maryland?

In Maryland, the amount of time it takes to get a divorce will depend primarily on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.

For an uncontested divorce, there is no mandatory separation period. This means that so long as both spouses can come to an agreement on the terms of the divorce, you can file immediately. Maryland also calls this an “absolute divorce on the grounds of mutual consent.” An uncontested divorce in Maryland can typically be completed in less than 90 days.

For a contested divorce, the spouses must first be separated for 12 months before they can file for divorce. This separation period is also sometimes called a “limited divorce.” Only after the 12-month separation has passed can the divorce proceedings begin, including any litigation. Depending on the court’s schedule, it can take anywhere from a further 8 to 12 months to finalize the divorce after the 12-month separation period. 

In some cases, this 12-month separation period may be waived or reduced; for example, if it can be proven that one spouse has committed adultery. 

How is property divided in a divorce in Maryland?

In Maryland, marital property is divided according to a statute of equitable distribution. This means that when spouses cannot come to an agreement as to how marital property will be divided, the courts will determine what is fair.

Though this can sometimes result in an even 50/50 division of all assets and debts, because Maryland is not a community property state, this is not a guarantee. The presiding judge will take a number of factors into consideration when determining what equitable distribution looks like for your marriage.

Separate property is typically not subject to division during divorce. This means that any property or debt acquired by each spouse before the marriage, as well any inheritance and gifts acquired by a spouse during the marriage, will most likely remain their own after the divorce is finalized.

Is Maryland a 50/50 custody state?

In Maryland, if parents cannot come to an agreement about custody, then the courts decide time-sharing schedules and legal custody.

IIf shared custody is deemed appropriate and feasible by a Maryland judge, then both parents will have at least 128 overnight stays (at least 35 percent of all nights) with the child per year. Otherwise, one parent will be granted sole physical custody, and the non-custodial parent will have visitation rights according to a parenting schedule created by the courts.

How much is child support in Maryland?

Generally speaking, in Maryland the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent. Child support is calculated using an income shares model, which takes both parents’ income into consideration to determine how much is owed. Out-of-pocket ‘extras’ are also split according to parent income.

In Maryland, child support payments will be due at least until the child turns 18 years old. In cases where the child is still enrolled in high school when they turn 18, the court may extend child support until the child turns 19 years old.

Divorce in Massachusetts

How much does a divorce cost in Massachusetts?

The cost of filing for divorce in Massachusetts is $200 plus an additional $15 surcharge. Amending your complaint after it has been filed will cost an additional $60. Serving your spouse with divorce papers will cost an additional fee, which varies depending on who you hire.

The average divorce attorney in Massachusetts charges between $250 and $300 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Massachusetts?

How long it takes to get a divorce in Massachusetts will depend on whether the divorce is contested or not.

Upon filing, a court date will be issued, which is typically a few weeks out, depending on the court’s backlog. During the hearing, the judge will review the divorce agreement, and so long as it is accepted and approved by the judge, then the divorce will typically be granted. A waiting period of either 90 or 120 days (also called the “Nisi Period”) must then pass before the divorce becomes “absolute” or final.

In the case of a contested divorce, there is a mandatory waiting period of at least six months, which begins once the divorce complaint has been filed. A divorce hearing will then be scheduled, which will depend on the court’s backlog of cases. If you and your spouse have come to an agreement by that date, and the judge approves of that agreement, then the divorce will be granted. If you have not reached an agreement, then a trial will be scheduled, which can take several more months. In either case, once the divorce is granted, a waiting period of 90 or 120 days (the “Nisi Period”) must then pass before the divorce becomes “absolute” or final.

In Massachusetts, there is a standing order that states that a contested divorce should take no longer than 14 months from filing to completion of the proceedings. While this timeline is not enforceable by law, it offers a general maximum time frame that you can expect.

How is property divided in a divorce in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is not a community property state. As such, marital property is divided according to a principle of equitable distribution, in which the judge to decide what a fair and equitable division looks like.

Sometimes, equitable distribution will result in an equal 50/50 division of all property and assets, but this is not guaranteed.

Though separate property (i.e., property acquired by each spouse prior to the marriage) is typically not subject to division during a divorce, it’s important to note that in Massachusetts the courts do have the authority to consider separate property for division if it is deemed that doing so would be equitable.

Is Massachusetts a 50/50 custody state?

Massachusetts law presumes shared legal custody. In terms of physical custody, generally speaking, the court presumes that it is in the best interest of the child to maintain regular, ongoing contact with both parents. There is, however, no presumption that parenting time must be equal. In fact, joint physical custody, in which both parents share equal parenting time, is not the norm in Massachusetts. This means that while 50/50 custody is possible, it is not guaranteed unless parents are in agreement on the issue.

In cases of shared custody, one parent will be deemed the primary custodial parent while the other is deemed the non-custodial parent. Even in cases where joint custody is granted and parents share parenting time equally, the courts will typically assign one parent the role of primary custodial parent, while the other is known as the secondary custodial parent.

How much is child support in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, the non-custodial parent will usually be responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent. The amount of child support due is determined using an income shares model, which takes both parents’ incomes into consideration. Additional expenses related to raising the child, such as educational costs, healthcare, childcare, and health insurance, will similarly be split proportionally between both parents.

The minimum amount of child support which can be granted is $25 per week.

Child support payments in Massachusetts are due at least until the child turns 18 years old. If the child continues living with the custodial parent and is dependent on that parent, Massachusetts law allows payments to be extended until the child turns 21 years old. Payments may be extended further until the child is 23 years old if they are dependent on the custodial parent while enrolled in an undergraduate program.

Divorce in Michigan

How much does a divorce cost in Michigan?

The cost of filing for divorce in Michigan will vary depending on the county you are filing in as well as whether or not your case involves minor children. For example, in Wayne, Oakland, and Saginaw counties the cost to file for divorce is $175 in cases where no minor children are involved, and $255 in cases that do involve minor children. If you need to serve your spouse with divorce papers, you’ll also need to pay a service fee which can range from $10 (service by mail) up to $100 (service by third party).Amendments, support motions, appearls, and copies of documentation or transcripts all carry their own additional fees, which vary by county.

In Michigan, the average divorce attorney charges between $225 and $275 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Michigan?

For a divorce that doesn’t involve minor children, Michigan has a mandatory 60-day waiting period. For a divorce that does involve minor children, the waiting period is increased to 6 months.

A divorce in Michigan can often be finalized within a few weeks of the waiting period concluding, depending on the court’s schedule. A contested divorce which requires trial, however, can take much longer.

How is property divided in a divorce in Michigan?

Michigan is an equitable distribution state, not a community property state. This means that if divorcing spouses are unable to come to terms as to how marital property and debt will be divided, the courts will make a determination based upon what is “fair” in the eyes of the court.

Equitable distribution may result in an even 50/50 split of all marital property and debt between both spouses, and this is not uncommon in Michigan. However, it is not guaranteed, and the judge will take many factors, including whether or not one or both parties were at fault during the divorce, into consideration when determining what fair division looks like.

In Michigan, separate property is typically not subject to division during divorce.

Is Michigan a 50/50 custody state?

Michigan law presumes that it is in the best interest of the child to maintain a strong relationship with both parents. For that reason, if joint custody is requested by either parent, the court must consider granting it. If the court rules against granting joint custody, it must specify the reasons for the denial.

In Michigan, legal custody is typically shared. This doesn’t, however, necessarily translate into an even 50/50 split of parenting time. While this is possible, it is not common, and there is no statutory preference or presumption of 50/50 physical custody in Michigan.

In determining which parent will be the primary custodian, the courts must look at the existing parenting situation and determine whether there is an “established custodial environment” with one or both parents. The court states that “the custodial environment of a child is established if over an appreciable time the child naturally looks to the custodian in that environment for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort. The age of the child, the physical environment, and the inclination of the custodian and the child as to permanency of the relationship shall also be considered.” If the court deems such an environment to exist, then it will only change that environment if it can be proven that doing so would be in the best interest of the child.

How much is child support in Michigan?

Child support in Michigan is calculated using an income shares model, in which the amount of support is determined using the monthly net income of both parents. Other expenses related to childcare, healthcare, health insurance, and education will also be split proportionally between both parents.

Typically, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent. If parenting time is split equally, then the parent with the higher income will be responsible for paying reduced support to the parent with lower income. If incomes and parenting time are both equal, then no parent will pay support.

Child support in Michigan ends when the child turns 18 years old. A judge can order child support to continue until the age of 19 1/2 if the child is still enrolled in high school.

Divorce in Minnesota

How much does a divorce cost in Minnesota?

It costs $365 to file for divorce in Minnesota. Serving your spouse with divorce papers will cost an additional fee of $50 to $75. Amendments, support motions, appeals, and copies of documentation or transcripts all carry their own additional fees.

The average divorce lawyer in Minnesota charges between $215 and $255 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Minnesota?

Unlike many states, Minnesota does not require a mandatory waiting period or separation period before a divorce will be granted. This means that the greatest factors in determining how long your divorce takes will be the court’s schedule and whether the divorce is contested or not.

A divorce will commonly be finalized within 30 to 90 days after filing, depending on the court’s schedule. A contested divorce may take much longer, depending on the length of litigation and each spouse’s willingness to compromise. If the divorce was filed by one spouse, the non-filing spouse has up to 30 days to respond before the court will even consider the case.

How is property divided in a divorce in Minnesota?

Minnesota is not a community property state. Instead, it follows the doctrine of equitable distribution. This means that if spouses are unable to come to an agreement as to how they will divide marital property during a divorce, the judge will determine what division looks like based on what they deem to be fair.

This might result in an even split of all marital assets and debt, and this is not an uncommon outcome in Minnesota. That being said, unlike in community property states, this is not guaranteed. The courts will consider many different factors in determining what fair division looks like.

In Minnesota, personal property (also known as separate property) refers to anything that was acquired by either spouse before the marriage, as well as assets like inheritance or gifts acquired during the marriage. This property is typically not subject to division during a divorce.

Is Minnesota a 50/50 custody state?

By Minnesota law, it is presumed that joint legal custody is in the best interest of the child, unless it can be proven otherwise. It is also presumed that the child should have continuing and regular contact with each parent, but this does not automatically translate into 50/50 joint physical custody. Instead, in Minnesota it is presumed that both parents should have a baseline of 25 percent of the parenting time. The remaining 50 percent of parenting time will be split according to how the court sees fit.

That being said, while joint custody does not automatically equal a 50/50 split, that can be arranged if parents agree to it and if the logistics allow for it. Such a split can be difficult to maintain, and therefore are less likely to be granted, in cases where parents live far apart from one another, for example.

How much is child support in Minnesota?

Minnesota uses an income shares model to determine child support. This means that both parents’ incomes are taken into consideration to determine how much child support is owed. While the courts will use the figures calculated in this way to determine a baseline level of child support, they do have the authority to adjust them as necessary.

Typically, the custodial parent (the parent who has physical custody of the child for the majority of the time) will receive child support from the non-custodial parent.

In Minnesota, child support is required until the child becomes 18 years old.

Divorce in Mississippi

How much does a divorce cost in Mississippi?

It will cost $50 to file for divorce in Mississippi. If you need to serve your spouse with divorce papers, you will also need to pay a service fee of $25 to $65, depending on whether you are serving by delivery or publication. Other fees may be charged to amend your case, file support motions, request copies, etc, and it is not uncommon for total court fees to approach $400.

In Mississippi, the average divorce attorney charges approximately $212 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Mississippi?

Mississippi has a mandatory 60-day waiting period. This waiting period begins immediately after the paperwork is filed.

A divorce in Mississippi will typically be finalized within weeks of the waiting period having passed. Meanwhile, a contested divorce can take months or even years depending on how long it takes to litigate.

How is property divided in a divorce in Mississippi?

Mississippi is not a community property state. Instead, marital property in Mississippi is divided according to a principle of equitable distribution in which the court will need to make a decision as to what fair division looks like.

While it is possible for equitable distribution to result in an even 50/50 split of all marital assets, debt, and property, this is not guaranteed. Instead, the judge maintains sole discretion in determining how property will be divided fairly, even if that does not result in a 50/50 split. The courts will take many factors into consideration when determining this division.

In Mississippi, separate property, including any assets acquired by either spouse before the marriage, is typically not subject to division during a divorce.

Is Mississippi a 50/50 custody state?

Unlike in many states, Mississippi custody law does not have a preference for or presumption of shared parenting. This means that while joint legal and physical custody is a possible outcome, it is in no way guaranteed. That being said, joint legal custody is commonly granted. If joint physical custody is granted, it is important to note that this does not necessarily translate into an even 50/50 split in parenting time.

In cases where one parent is granted sole physical custody of the child, the non-custodial parent still maintains visitation rights under Mississippi law.

How much is child support in Mississippi?

In Mississippi, the non-residential parent is responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent.

The amount of child support due is based on the non-residential parent’s net income. Child support is calculated by taking the non-residential parent’s gross income, subtracting certain qualified deductions, and then multiplying that figure by a certain percentage depending on the number of children being supported:

  • 14% for one child
  • 20% for two children
  • 22% for three children
  • 24% for four children
  • 26% for five children

Unlike in some states, the amount of parenting time that the non-custodial parent has with the child does not typically factor into how much child support will be due.

Divorce in Missouri

How much does a divorce cost in Missouri?

Divorce filing fees in Missouri vary by county, but average $200.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Missouri?

Once a divorce judgement is signed by a judge, the divorce becomes final after a 30-day cooling off period. Missouri requires at least one spouse live in Missouri for at least 180 days before filing for divorce.

How is property divided in a divorce in Missouri?

Missouri is an equitable distribution state, which means marital property is divided in a way that is fair, but not necessarily 50/50.

Is Missouri a 50/50 custody state?

Missouri law suggests but does not have any preference for joint legal custody or equal time-sharing for divorced or separated parents.

How much is child support in Missouri?

The Missouri child support calculator worksheet factors in both parents’ income and number of overnights.

Divorce in Montana

How much does a divorce cost in Montana?

Filing divorce papers in Montana will cost $200. Filing an appeal or an amendment, requesting copies of documents, hiring a notary for certification of documents, and serving your spouse with divorce papers, if necessary, will all carry their own additional fees.

The average divorce lawyer in Montana charges between $150 and $250.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Montana?

In order to get a divorce in Montana, you must demonstrate that there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage. You can demonstrate this in one of two ways: Either by separating from your spouse for a minimum of 180 days before the filing, or by showing that there is serious marital discord which adversely affects the attitude of one or both spouses toward the marriage.

Once the petition is filed, most divorces will be finalized within 30 to 90 days depending on how busy the court’s schedule is. Contested divorces can take much longer due to the litigation that must occur.

How is property divided in a divorce in Montana?

Montana is an equitable distribution state, not a community property state. This means that during a divorce, the courts will decide what a fair division of marital property and debts looks like if the couple is unable to come to an agreement themselves.

Though it’s possible that equitable distribution will lead to an even 50/50 split in all marital property and debt, but this is not guaranteed.

In many equitable distribution states, separate property (property acquired by each spouse before the marriage) is typically not subject to division during a divorce. In Montana, however, separate property may be divided between both spouses if the courts deem that to be the fairest path.

Is Montana a 50/50 custody state?

In Montana, custody law does not use the terms “custody” or “visitation.” Instead, the state uses the term “parenting” to discuss these issues, out of a desire to reflect the belief that both parents should be involved in a child’s life. If divorcing parents cannot decide how they will split parenting, then the decision will be up to a judge. The judge will consider a number of factors in determining a parent plan that is in the “best interests of the child.

Generally speaking, in Montana it is considered to be in the best interests of the child that the child maintain frequent and continuing contact with both parents. For this reason, legal and physical custody are typically shared. That being said, there is no guarantee of presumption that the time must be equal. While a 50/50 split in parenting time is possible, it is by no means guaranteed.

In cases where one parent is granted sole physical custody of the child, the non-custodial parent will typically maintain visitation rights under Montana law.

How much is child support in Montana?

In Montana, the non-custodial parent will typically pay child support to the custodial parent. In cases where there is an even 50/50 split in parenting time, the higher-earning parent will pay child support to the lower-earning parent.

Child support is calculated according to a very specific formula which takes into account both parents’ income, as well as how much parenting time each parent has according to the custody agreement.

Child support payments in Montana are required until the child turns either 18 or 19 years old, if they are still enrolled in high school.

Divorce in Nebraska

How much does a divorce cost in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, it will cost $158 to file for divorce. This payment covers a $75 “dissolution of marriage fee” as well as a number of other fees at both the state and county level. Filing an amendment, requesting copies, or hiring a notary to certify your paperwork will all carry their own fees, as will serving your spouse with divorce papers.

The average divorce lawyer in the Omaha area charges around $200 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Nebraska?

Nebraska has a 60-day mandatory waiting period for divorce. If a divorce petition was filed jointly by both spouses, then the waiting period begins immediately upon filing; if the divorce was filed by only one spouse, then this waiting period will begin 30 days after the non-filing spouse has been served.

After the waiting period has passed, most divorces in Nebraska will be finalized within 6 months. This will ultimately depend on the court’s schedule, as well as whether or not there are any disputes which must be settled in court. A divorce will typically be finalized much more quickly if is it not a contested divorce.

How is property divided in a divorce in Nebraska?

Nebraska is not a community property state, but an equitable distribution state. This means that the courts will create a settlement that they consider to be fair if the divorcing spouses cannot reach their own agreement about how they will divide marital property and debt.

In Nebraska, equitable distribution may result in an even 50/50 division of all marital property, assets, and debt, but this is no guarantee.

Separate property which was acquired by each spouse before the marriage (as well as certain property such as gifts and inheritance acquired during the marriage) are typically not subject to division during a divorce in Nebraska.

Is Nebraska a 50/50 custody state?

Custody law in Nebraska states a preference for granting joint legal custody, and this is often the outcome unless extenuating circumstances exist. The law also states that there is a presumption that it would be in the best interests of the child to spend significant periods of time with each parent, but does not go so far as to define what these time periods might be. While it is not uncommon for judges to grant joint custody with as close to an even 50/50 split of parenting time as possible, this is not guaranteed by law, and is addressed on a case by case basis.

Sole physical custody is typically avoided in Nebraska. In cases where it is granted, the non-custodial parent may or may not retain visitation rights, depending on the circumstances which led to the decision.

How much is child support in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, the non-custodial parent will typically pay child support to the custodial parent. In cases of joint custody, the parent with less parenting time is considered to be the non-custodial parent.

The state calculates child support using an income shares model, where both parents are assumed responsible for supporting the child financially. As such, both parents’ incomes are used to determine a support figure, which is then split proportionally between the two. Parenting time can also influence child support amounts, so it’s important to understand how custody will be split before you try to calculate child support figures. Other expenses, such as those related to healthcare, childcare, and education, will likewise be split between both parents.

In cases where the paying parent’s income is exceptionally low, the court will still require a minimum monthly child support payment of $50 or 10% of income, whichever is higher.

Child support in Nebraska is due until the child turns 19 years old.

Divorce in Nevada

How much does a divorce cost in Nevada?

Divorce filing fees in Nevada vary by county. For example, in Clark County it costs $299 to file either a complaint or joint petition for divorce.

The average divorce attorney in Las Vegas charges approximately $260 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Nevada?

Unlike in many states, there is no mandatory waiting period between when you file for divorce and when the court will issue a decision.

For that reason, a divorce in which both spouses agree can be finalized in as little as two to three weeks, depending on the court’s schedule. The average contested divorce, on the other hand, takes approximately three months or longer to complete. Divorce by publication, in cases where you cannot locate your spouse, typically takes up to four months to complete.

How is property divided in a divorce in Nevada?

Nevada is a community property state. This means that any property, assets, or debt acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered to belong equally to both spouses, and will be split evenly during a divorce. Any property acquired before the marriage is considered separate property and is not subject to division in Nevada.

Is Nevada a 50/50 custody state?

It is the official position of the state of Nevada that parents should be encouraged to “share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing.” As such, the state’s custody laws presume joint legal custody and prefer joint physical custody, unless it can be proven that such an arrangement would not be in the best interests of the child.

That being said, Nevada law does not define what “joint physical custody” means. As such, it should not be assumed that joint custody will automatically result in an even 50/50 split of parenting time. While this outcome is a possibility, it is not guaranteed.

How much is child support in Nevada?

In Nevada, the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent.

The amount of child support that will be due is based upon the non-residential parent’s gross monthly income. That figure is then multiplied by a certain percentage depending on the number of children being supported.

  • One child: 16% of the first $6,000, 8% of the next $4,000, and 4% of any income over $10,000
  • Two children: 22% of the first $6,000, 11% of the next $4,000, and 6% of any income over $10,000
  • Three children: 26% of the first $6,000, 13% of the next $4,000, and 6% of any income over $10,000
  • Four children: 28% of the first $6,000, 14% of the next $4,000, and 7% of any income over $10,000
  • Each additional child: An additional 2% of the first $6,000, 1% of the next $4,000, and 0.5% of any income over $10,000

Unlike in some states, the amount of parenting time that the non-custodial parent has with the child does not typically factor into how much child support will be due.

Divorce in New Hampshire

How much does a divorce cost in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire divorce filing fees are $402. Requesting copies of documents or audio recordings, certifying paperwork, amending your case, and serving your spouse with divorce papers, if necessary, will all carry their own additional fees.

The average hourly rate for divorce attorneys in New Hampshire ranges from $150 and $400 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, unlike in many states, there is no required waiting period or separation period which must pass before you can file for divorce. For this reason, a divorce in New Hampshire can often be finalized within two to eight weeks, depending on the court’s schedule. A contested divorce in which you and your spouse have major disagreements, on the other hand, can take much longer depending on each of your willingness to compromise.

How is property divided in a divorce in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire is an equitable distribution state. This means that if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement as to how you will divide property during your divorce, then the decision will ultimately fall to a judge, who will consider a variety of factors in determining what a “fair” division looks like.

It’s possible that equitable division will result in an equal 50/50 split of all property and debt, but because New Hampshire is not a community property state, this isn’t guaranteed.

In many equitable distribution states, only marital property (i.e., property acquired during a marriage) is subject to division during a divorce. Separate property which each spouse acquired before the marriage, as well as certain other assets, is typically not divided. In New Hampshire, this isn’t the case; the court has the authority to divide both marital and separate property if it deems it to be an equitable decision.

Is New Hampshire a 50/50 custody state?

The state of New Hampshire maintains a preference for both parents to share the custody of a child as equally as possible. This typically translates into joint legal custody. It also typically translates into joint physical custody, though a 50/50 split of parenting time is not guaranteed by law. The judge will consider a number of factors, including logistics (the parents’ and child’s schedule, how far apart the parents live, etc.) in coming to their final determination.

While the judge is forbidden from considering the sex of the parents in deciding custody, they are allowed to consider each parent’s relationship with the child. Very often, primary custody in New Hampshire will go to the parent who acted as the primary caregiver to the child during the marriage.

How much is child support in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent.

The amount of child support due is based on the non-custodial parent’s gross monthly income, which is adjusted to allow for certain deductions. The adjusted gross monthly income is then multiplied by a certain percentage depending on the number of children being supported:

  • 25% for one child
  • 33% for two children
  • 40% for three children
  • 45% for four or more children

This figure is simply a starting point. The judge may order it be adjusted to account for health care, child care, educational, or other expenses. Unlike in some states, the amount of parenting time that the non-custodial parent has with the child does not typically factor into how much child support will be due.

Divorce in New Jersey

How much does a divorce cost in New Jersey?

To divorce in New Jersey costs a $300 filing fee, and if you have children a $25 fee for mandatory parenting classes is also required.

How long does it take to get a divorce in New Jersey?

New Jersey has no minimum residency, separation or wait time requirement. A divorce could be completed within a month or two, but expect longer.

How is property divided in a divorce in New Jersey?

New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning assets and debts are not automatically split 50/50 but in a way that is fair.

Is New Jersey a 50/50 custody state?

New Jersey law does not have any preference for, or presumption of, equally shared parenting time, or joint legal custody for temporary or final orders.

How much is child support in New Jersey?

New Jersey child support guidelines factor in parents’ incomes, overnights each parent has with the children, and out-of-pocket expenses like medical bills and child care. The New Jersey child support calculator worksheet has a unique percentage for parents earning more than $187,000 combined income.

Divorce in New Mexico

How much does a divorce cost in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, divorce filing fees are $137. The cost of hiring a sheriff to serve your spouse with divorce papers, if necessary, will vary depending on the fees charged by the specific county, but are typically close to $40.

The average hourly rate for divorce lawyers in New Mexico tends to fall between $175 and $300 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in New Mexico?

New Mexico has a 30-day waiting period that begins the day after the non-filing spouse has been served with divorce papers. The waiting period can be waived in cases that meet the following requirements:

  • Spouses have been living apart for at least 30 days
  • Both parties agree to having the waiting period ended
  • There are no minor children

All told, the average divorce in New Mexico can be finalized within 30 to 90 days depending on the court’s schedule. A contested divorce will often take much longer.

How is property divided in a divorce in New Mexico?

New Mexico is a community property state, which means that any marital property and debt belongs equally to both spouses and must be divided equally during a divorce.

Is New Mexico a 50/50 custody state?

In New Mexico, custody will be determined based entirely on what is deemed to be in the best interests of the child. That being said, the state’s custody laws presume that joint legal and physical custody is in the best interests of the child. This means that both parents will typically have “significant, well-defined periods of responsibility for the child” unless it can be proven that that would not be in the best interests of the child.

Importantly, nothing in New Mexico’s laws define joint custody as being an equal 50/50 split of parenting time. While that outcome is possible, it is not guaranteed by law.

How much is child support in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, the non-custodial parent will typically be responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent. Exactly how much support is owed will be calculated using an income shares model that takes both parents’ incomes into consideration. In situations when custody is close to evenly split, the child support figure may be adjusted.

The minimum amount of child support that can be ordered due in New Mexico is $100 per month for one child or $150 per month for two or more children, typically when the paying parent has an exceptionally low income.

Child support is due in New Mexico until the child turns 18 years old; 19 years old if the child has not yet graduated from high school.

Divorce in New York

How much does a divorce cost in New York?

If you are filing a divorce in which you and your spouse created an agreement yourselves, without attorneys or a DIY program, it will cost at least $335 in total court and filing fees. This does not include the cost of a lawyer, photocopies, notary fees, transportation, mailing, process server fees, etc.

However, Lawyers.com surveyed its readers and found that the average New York divorce costs $17,100, including $13,500 in attorney’s fees —34% higher than the national average.

How long does it take to get a divorce in New York?

Divorces in New York can be resolved within an average of three to six months.

How is property divided in a divorce in New York?

New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that the marital property will be divided between spouses in a way that a judge considers fair — not necessarily 50-50. Factors include what each of you contributed during the divorce in terms of money earned, and care of any children, as well as what each of you needs to forward after the marriage.

New York courts consider marital debt similarly to marital property: Marital debt is that which is incurred during the marriage (though once you are legally separated, you are likely protected from any more debt that your spouse takes on — and vice versa). In an equitable property state like New York, debt is divided by what is fair — not 50/50.

Is New York a 50/50 custody state?

In New York, if a child’s parents, it is presumed both parents have legal and visitation rights to the child. A judge will determine what is “in the best interest of the child.”

Equal time sharing / equal custody is not the standard in New York. The child’s primary caregiver is given special consideration to be the custodial parent.

In New York, if the parents were never married to one another, and paternity was never established, and never signed an “acknowledgment of paternity,” the father has no custody or visitation rights until he legally establishes paternity. This can include a voluntary acknowledgment by the mother, as well as genetic testing.

If the custodial parent refuses time-sharing orders, refuses visitations, or otherwise denies a parent time with the child, that can be considered a crime, and jail time ordered. Likewise, if a non-custodial parent refuses to return a child from a visit, that parent can be arrested and charged with kidnapping.

If the custodial parent wants to move, he or she likely must get permission from a court.

Increasingly, states and some judges start with a presumption of equal sharing of custody time. However, New York is not a 50/50 time-sharing state. In fact, the National Parents Association, an advocacy group for equally shared parenting, gave New York an F for its shared-parenting laws.

How much is child support in New York?

In New York, non-custodial parents must pay child support until the child turns age 21 (not 18, as in other states). Child support in New York automatically ends when the child turns 18.

New York State child support is calculated based on the number of children and how much the higher-earning parent makes:

Number of Children:%
117%
225%
329%
431%
5at least 35%

These percentages are applied up to $148,000 of combined earnings by both parents, minus Medicare, FICA and NYC tax deductions. Child support paid to another parent, as well as alimony can also be deducted from the earnings.

After $148,000, the court can choose whether or not to use the percentage guidelines.

This can be especially interesting to high-earning moms, as women still are more likely to be awarded primary and sole custody, as well as majority of time-sharing by family court judges. In New York, the minority time parent pays child support, no matter the gender.

For low-income New York State parents, there are exceptions:

If the noncustodial parent’s income is below the Federal Poverty Level ($12,490 for 2019), the child support order will be set at $25 per month, and arrears will be capped at $500.

If the noncustodial parent’s income is below the New York State Self-Support Reserve ($16,682 for 2019), the child support will be set at $50 per month.

Divorce in North Carolina

How much does a divorce cost in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, it will cost $225 to file for divorce. Serving your spouse with divorce papers will cost an additional $30 (service by sheriff) or $7 (service by certified mail). If you would also like to legally revert back to your maiden name, you will need to pay an additional $10 fee.

The average hourly fees for a divorce attorney in North Carolina is between $230 and $280 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, in order to file for divorce, you and your spouse must first have been separated for at least one year. The state defines being separated as living in different homes; you are not required to be legally separated in order for this time period to begin.

Once you and your spouse have been separated for at least a year, you may file for divorce. The non-filing spouse will have 30 days to respond, after they are served; this may be extended by a further 30 days if they request it.

After the 30-60 day response period has passed, a divorce can be granted in as little as 3-5 weeks depending on the court’s docket. A contested divorce will typically take much longer.

How is property divided in a divorce in North Carolina?

North Carolina is not a community property state. Instead, the state follows the equitable distribution model of property division, which divides marital property and debts in a manner that the court sees fit. In North Carolina, the courts typically begin under the presumption that marital property should be splitted equally, and then adjust this calculation based on a number of different factors.

While marital property may end up divided equally in North Carolina, there is no guarantee that this will be the end result under current law.

Is North Carolina a 50/50 custody state?

In North Carolina, custody decisions are made depending on what the court deems to be in the best interests of the child. The law does not state a presumption or preference for either joint legal or physical custody, though the court must consider joint custody if either parent requests it.

An even 50/50 split of parenting time is possible, though by no means guaranteed, in the state.

How much is child support in North Carolina?

North Carolina uses the income shares method for calculating child support by factoring in both parents’ income.

In North Carolina, the non-custodial parent will typically be responsible for making child support payments to the custodial parent. The minimum amount of child support that can be awarded is $50 per month, for paying parents who make less than $1,150 per month.

How many overnight stays the child has with each parent may also impact how much support is owed. The court uses different worksheets and calculations to determine child support depending on whether or not one parent has primary custody (more than 243 overnight stays per year) as opposed to when custody is more evenly split.

Child support is due in North Carolina until the child turns 18 years old if they have graduated from high school or 20 years old if they have not yet graduated.

Divorce in North Dakota

How much does a divorce cost in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, it will cost $80 to file for divorce. You will also need to pay to serve your spouse with divorce papers. If you choose to serve them by sheriff’s service, the fee will vary by county, but is typically around $20.

The average hourly fee charged by divorce attorneys in the US is approximately $270.

How long does it take to get a divorce in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, there is no waiting mandatory separation period that must pass before a divorce can be filed. Once the divorce is filed, the non-filing spouse will have 20 days to respond to the complaint. After that time has passed, a divorce can be finalized in as little as 1 to 3 months, depending on the court’s schedule.

A contested divorce will naturally take longer in North Dakota, depending on what issues need to be litigated.

How is property divided in a divorce in North Dakota?

North Dakota is an equitable distribution state, not a community property state. This means that, during divorce, marital property and debts are divided in a manner that the court deems fair and equitable. While this may result in an even split of all property, that outcome is not guaranteed by North Dakota law.

Is North Dakota a 50/50 custody state?

North Dakota is not a 50/50 custody state. Ultimately, matters of custody are decided based upon whatever is in the best interests of the child, and the state’s custody laws do not state a preference or presumption for joint legal or physical custody.

That being said, the state’s courts generally recognize that it’s in the best interests of the child for the child to have a healthy relationship with both parents. For that reason, both parents are entitled to regular visitation with the child, even if one parent is granted primary custody.

50/50 custody is possible, especially in cases where parents are willing to work together to create a schedule that allows for it, but is not the typical outcome in North Dakota.

How much is child support in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, the non-custodial parent will generally be responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent.

North Dakota uses an income shares model to determine how much child support is owed. This model takes both parents’ incomes into consideration to determine a base “child support obligation” figure, which is then split proportionally between both parents depending on their income. If the custody agreement states that the child will spend at least 180 overnight stays with each parent, then this amount may be adjusted. Childcare and healthcare expenses are likewise split between both parents.

If the paying parent’s net income is less than $800 per month, then it is possible that the court will order no payment due. For any paying parent earning at least $900 per month, the minimum child support order will be $90 for one child, $126 for two children, $171 for three children, $198 for four children, $234 for five children, and $261 for six or more children.

Child support payments are due until the child turns 18 years old. If the child is still in high school when they turn 18, then payments will continue until the last day of the month in which they graduate, or until the child turns 19 years old.

Divorce in Ohio

How much does a divorce cost in Ohio?

In Ohio, the cost of filing for divorce will vary significantly depending on which county you are filing in, as well as whether your divorce does or does not involve minor children. Fees can range from a low of $200 to a high of $375 in cases that don’t involve children, or $300 to $475 in cases that do involve children. You can find the exact figure for your county by visiting your county clerk’s website.

The average hourly rate charged by divorce lawyers in Ohio is between $210 and $245 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Ohio?

How long a divorce takes in Ohio will depend on whether the divorce is contested or not.

In Ohio, when spouses agree on all aspects of the divorce, they would file for a dissolution of marriage. A dissolution may be granted in as little as 30 days after filing. The Ohio Supreme Court has issued guidelines stating that any dissolution should be completed within 90 days of being filed.

If the divorce is contested, then one spouse will typically file for divorce. The other spouse then has 28 days to respond to the complaint before a hearing will be scheduled. A contested divorce can take anywhere from one to two years or more to finalize, depending on what must be litigated.

How is property divided in a divorce in Ohio?

Ohio is not a community property state. This means that instead of a guaranteed 50/50 split of all marital property and debts, the courts use a model of equitable distribution to determine what is fairest to both parties. While the result may be a 50/50 split of all marital property, this is not guaranteed.

While in many states separate property is not subject to division during divorce proceedings, Ohio divorce law differs in that it does allow the court to divide separate property if doing so would be equitable.

Is Ohio a 50/50 custody state?

In Ohio, the courts will ultimately decide matters of custody by considering what is in the best interests of the child. The state’s custody laws do not state a preference or presumption for shared or joint legal or physical custody.

That being said, if either parent requests shared parenting, the court must consider it. While it is not guaranteed by law, a 50/50 split in parenting time and legal custody is possible. If parents submit a shared parenting plan, the court is typically inclined to accept it unless it is otherwise deemed to not be in the best interests of the child.

Even in cases where one parent is deemed the residential or custodial parent, the other parent will typically be entitled to visitation rights.

How much is child support in Ohio?

Child support in Ohio is calculated using the income shared method, which factors both parents’ incomes in order to determine how much support is due. Typically in Ohio, the non-residential parent will be responsible for paying child support to the residential parent; in cases where parenting time is split evenly, the parent that earns more may be required to pay child support to the parent who earns less.

In Ohio, the lowest possible child support order is $80 per month or $960 per year, for paying parents with an annual income of $8,400 or less.

Child support payments are due until the child turns 18 years old and graduates from high school, or when they turn 19 years old even if they have not yet graduated.

Divorce in Oklahoma

How much does a divorce cost in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, it costs $183 to file for divorce. FIling a modification to the divorce complaint costs an additional fee of $43. The cost to serve your spouse with divorce papers using sheriff’s service is an additional $50.

The average hourly rate to hire a divorce attorney in Oklahoma City is approximately $240, though this may vary in other parts of the state.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, for cases that do not involve minor children, it’s possible to finalize a divorce in as little as 10 days after filing. For cases that do involve minor children, there is a mandatory 90-day waiting period that must pass before the courts will finalize the divorce. The courts can choose to waive this waiting period in some cases.

Contested divorces can and often do take much longer to complete.

How is property divided in a divorce in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma is not a community property state, and instead follows a principle of equitable distribution. This means that the courts will decide how to divide marital property during a divorce based upon what is deemed fair. Though a 50/50 split of all marital property and debt can be the final result, nothing in Oklahoma’s law states that that is a guaranteed outcome.

Is Oklahoma a 50/50 custody state?

Oklahoma is not a community property state, and instead follows a principle of equitable distribution. This means that the courts will decide how to divide marital property during a divorce based upon what is deemed fair. Though a 50/50 split of all marital property and debt can be the final result, nothing in Oklahoma’s law states that that is a guaranteed outcome.

How much is child support in Oklahoma?

Child support payments in Oklahoma are calculated using an income shares model, which divides total child support between both parents depending on their income. Typically, the non-custodial parent is typically responsible for making child support payments to the custodial parent, because it’s assumed that the custodial parent is already paying their share as a matter of course.

In cases of shared parenting where the child spends at least 120 overnight visits with each parent, a different formula will be used to calculate support. If parenting time is evenly split between both parents, then it is common in Oklahoma for the parent with the higher income to make child support payments to the parent with the lower income.

Child support is due in Oklahoma until the child turns 18 years old or. If they have not graduated form high school by their 18th birthday, then payments may be extended up until they graduate or turn 19, whichever happens sooner.

Divorce in Oregon

How much does a divorce cost in Oregon?

In Oregon, the filing fee for divorce is $301. (The fee to file for a dissolution of domestic partnership is $281.) To serve your spouse with divorce papers, you’ll need to hire a third-party service provider, which typically starts at about $40.

The average hourly rate charged by attorneys in Oregon (including divorce lawyers) is $260 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Oregon?

In Oregon, the amount of time required to get a divorce will depend on whether the divorce petition is being filed by one spouse or both spouses. For cases filed by both spouses (co-petitioned) a divorce can often be finalized within 2 weeks. For cases where one spouse is filing, a divorce can often be finalized within 4 to 6 weeks of the other spouse being served with divorce papers.

A contested divorce, on the other hand, can take much longer depending on what, specifically, is being litigated.

There used to be a 90-day waiting period in Oregon, but the state recently did away with that particular requirement.

How is property divided in a divorce in Oregon?

Oregon is an equitable distribution state, not a community property state. This means that, during a divorce, all marital property and debts will be divided between both spouses according to whatever the courts deem fair and equitable. There is a possibility, but no guarantee, that this will result in the even 50/50 split of all marital property.

Is Oregon a 50/50 custody state?

In Oregon, the term custody refers specifically to legal custody over a child; i.e., which parent has legal decision making rights. While the state’s custody law encourages parents to share custody, there is nothing in the law which makes it a requirement or guarantee. In fact, in Oregon a judge cannot grant joint custody unless both parents agree to it.

Oregon uses the phrase “parenting time” to refer to issues of physical custody. If parents cannot come to an agreement as to how parenting time will be split, then the judge will be responsible for creating a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the child. It is important to note that, by law, if one parent requests equal parenting time in the parenting plan, the judge can only deny it after explaining why equal parent time would not be in the best interests of the child.

In short, while both legal and physical custody are possible in Oregon, they are not guaranteed by law.

How much is child support in Oregon?

The non-custodial parent is typically responsible for making child support payments to the custodial parent in Oregon. How much is owed is determined using an income shares model, which takes both parents’ income into consideration.

In calculating child support, the state also considers how much parenting time each parent spends with the child (called the “parenting time credit”). The closer to equal parenting time is, the lower the payment will typically be.

The minimum amount of child support possible in Oregon is $50 per month, regardless of a parent’s income.

In Oregon, child support lasts until the child turns 18 and has graduated from high school, or until 21 if the child still qualifies as a “child attending school.”

Divorce in Pennsylvania

How much does a divorce cost in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, divorce filing fees vary by county. Regardless of which county you are filing in, you will pay one fee to file the divorce complaint, and then an additional fee for each issue that must be handled by the courts. This includes property division, alimony, and custody, as well as reverting to your maiden name if desired.

In Centre County, for example, the divorce filing fee is $201.75. Issues of alimony and property division will cost an additional $45.25 to file, while filing an issue of custody will cost $53.75. It costs $20.50 to retake your maiden name. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the divorce filing fee is $333.73. Issues of custody cost $107.13 to file, while issues of alimony cost $40.25 to file. You should contact your county clerk to determine the specific fees you’ll be required to pay in your county.

In Pennsylvania, the average divorce lawyer charges between $230 and $280 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, the timeframe for getting a divorce will depend on the type of divorce being sought. If you are seeking a mutual consent divorce, in which both spouses agree to the divorce, then there is a 90-day waiting period between when the divorce petition is filed and when the divorce can be finalized. Filing a “no-fault” divorce, on the other hand, will require that you and your spouse have lived apart for at least a year first.

An at-fault divorce does not have a mandatory waiting period, but typically takes much longer due to the need for a trial.

How is property divided in a divorce in Pennsylvania?

Like the majority of states, Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state and not a community property state. This means that when spouses divorce in Pennsylvania, the courts are responsible for determining the fairest and most equitable way of dividing all marital property and debt. While it may be possible that the end result will be an even 50/50 split of all property between both spouses, this is not guaranteed in the same way as it would be in a community property state.

Is Pennsylvania a 50/50 custody state?

In Pennsylvania, while shared 50/50 legal and physical custody are possible, they are not guaranteed under the state’s laws. Ultimately, the courts will determine custody depending on what it deems to be in the best interests of the child. Unlike some states, Pennsylvania’s custody laws don’t have a preference or presumption of shared legal or physical custody.

That being said, the state does typically recognize that parental contact is typically in the best interest of a child, and therefore even the non-custodial parent is likely to have some form of visitation rights with the child.

While the judge will consider many factors, Pennsylvania law specifically states that a parent’s gender cannot be considered in matters of custody.

How much is child support in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, child support is determined using an income shares model which considers both parents’ income to arrive at a payment amount. The non-custodial parent is typically responsible for making payments to the custodial parent.

The state’s child support guidelines make a presumption that the paying parent will spend 30 percent of parenting time with the child. If the paying parent has less than 30 percent of parenting time, then the receiving parent can request an increase in support payments. Similarly, when the paying parent spends more than 30 percent of parenting time with the child, the courts will reduce their support payments: By 10% if they spend at least 40% of parenting time with the child, or by 20% if they have 50% of parenting time.

If the child support order would leave a paying parent with less than $931 of monthly income, the court may order a reduction so that the paying parent has enough income to be self-sustainable.

Child support must be paid in Pennsylvania until a child either turns 18 years old and graduates from high school. The court may order child support to continue longer in cases where the child has a disability.

Divorce in Rhode Island

How much does a divorce cost in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, it costs $145 to file for divorce.The cost of serving your spouse with divorce papers in Rhode Island will vary depending on which service you hire, but typically begin around $40.

The average divorce attorney in Rhode Island charges approximately $250 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, how long it takes to get a divorce will depend on a number of factors, including whether the divorce is contested or not.

A divorce in Rhode Island can often be finalized in as little as 75 to 90 days after the filing. A contested divorce will naturally take much longer due to the litigation required.

For contested divorces, there are mandatory waiting periods: 90 days for a divorce filed on grounds of irreconcilable differences, and 21 days for a divorce filed on the grounds that you and your spouse have been living separately and apart for at least 3 years.

How is property divided in a divorce in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, during a divorce marital property is divided according to a principle of equitable distribution. Whereas community property states divide all marital property and debts evenly (50/50), equitable distribution states give the final decision of property division to the judge, who will consider a number of factors in deciding what is fair. Though equitable distribution can result in an even 50/50 split in Rhode Island, this is not guaranteed by the state’s laws.

Is Rhode Island a 50/50 custody state?

Rhode Island is not a 50/50 custody state. Instead, the courts will decide both legal and physical custody based upon what it decides is in the best interests of the child. While this may result in shared or joint legal and physical custody, and even a 50/50 split in parenting time, this is by no means guaranteed under the state’s laws.

That being said, Rhode Island’s visitation guidelines do state that in almost all cases both parents should enjoy a minimum amount of parenting time with their child. While the specific breakdown of parenting time will be decided by the courts on a case by case basis, the minimum is often set at one weeknight visit per week and overnight visits on alternating weekends. Though a judge can grant a non-custodial parent more parenting time, they cannot typically go lower than this minimum.

How much is child support in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, the non-custodial parent is generally responsible for making child support payments to the custodial parent. The state calculates how much child support is due by using an income shares model, which uses both parents’ income to determine a “basic child support obligation” which is then split proportionally between both parents according to how much money they each make.

The lowest that a child support order can be in Rhode Island is $50 per month for low-income parents.

Unlike in many other states, the specific breakdown of parenting time outlined in the custody agreement does not impact support.

Child support is due in Rhode Island until the child turns 18 years old and graduates from high school, whichever is later. Child support will typically end once the child turns 19 years old, even if they are still enrolled in school.

Divorce in South Carolina

How much does a divorce cost in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, it costs $150 to file for divorce. There is an additional fee of $25 for any additional motions filed related to the divorce. Serving your spouse with divorce papers will require you to hire a private process server, which will charge varying rates, often between $30 and $60.

The average divorce attorney in South Carolina charges between $200 and $300 per hour, though these rates can vary substantially.

How long does it take to get a divorce in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, in order to file a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse have been living separate and apart for at least a year. Once this separation period has passed and you file for divorce it can be finalized in as little as 3 months.

If you are filing for an at-fault divorce, then you do not need to have lived separately from your spouse. Upon filing, the non-filing spouse will have 30 days after being served to respond to the complaint. Once this response period has passed, a trial date will typically be set for approximately 90 days out, depending on the court’s schedule. A contested divorce can take up to a year or more to finalize.

How is property divided in a divorce in South Carolina?

South Carolina is not a community property state. This means that marital property and debts are not automatically divided 50/50 between both spouses. Instead, the state follows the model of equitable distribution, which allows the courts to decide what is fair and equitable. Though equitable distribution can result in an even split of all property, it isn’t guaranteed that this will be the final result.

Is South Carolina a 50/50 custody state?

South Carolina’s custody laws do not require that legal or physical custody be shared 50/50. The state’s laws also don’t state a preference or presumption for shared parenting. Instead, a judge will determine what is in the best interests of the child in order to determine issues of both legal and physical custody in South Carolina.

The judge will consider a number of factors in determining custody. South Carolina heavily considers which parent was the primary caregiver to the child during the marriage. That being said, the parent’s gender cannot be considered.

The two most likely outcomes for custody in South Carolina are joint physical custody, in which the child spends a significant number of overnight stays with each parent, or sole physical custody with the non-custodial parent retaining visitation rights. It is extremely rare in the state for sole custody to be granted without visitation for the non-custodial parent.

How much is child support in South Carolina?

Child support payments in South Carolina are determined using an income shares model, which splits a “child support obligation” between both parents according to each of their incomes. Your custody agreement (how much time the child spends with each parent) may also impact the final payment amount. Parents must also share costs related to healthcare, insurance, and education.

In South Carolina, the lowest amount of child support which can be ordered due is $100 per month, which is split amongst both parents proportionally according to their income.

Because the custodial parent is assumed to pay their share in caring for the child while the child is with them, only the non-custodial parent will typically be responsible for making actual payments.

Child support payments are typically due in South Carolina until the child turns 18 years old and graduates from high school.

Divorce in South Dakota

How much does a divorce cost in South Dakota?

Divorce filing fees in South Dakota are $95 unless you complete an affidavit of indigency, indicating you cannot afford to pay, and a court may waive that fee.

How long does it take to get a divorce in South Dakota?

Divorce in South Dakota both require a waiting period of 60 days after the serving of the summons and complaint before you and your attorney can finalize the divorce.

How is property divided in a divorce in South Dakota?

South Dakota is an “all property” state, or equitable division of property state, which means property and debt are divided according to what is fair, not 50/50.

Is South Dakota a 50/50 custody state?

South Dakota family law favors, but does not require a presumption, of equal time or joint legal custody of children. Interestingly, South Dakota law specifies that “the husband and father, as such, has no rights superior to those of the wife and mother in regard to the care, custody, education, and control of the children of the marriage, while such husband separate and apart from each other. S. D. Codified Laws § 25-5-8 There is no similar provision specifying that the wife and mother, as such, has no rights superior to those of the husband and father in these respects.

How much is child support in South Dakota?

South Dakota child support obligation calculator worksheet factors in both parents’ income, though only the non-custodial parent pays child support, and number of overnights is taken into consideration.

Divorce in Tennessee

How much does a divorce cost in Tennessee?

Divorce filing fees in Tennessee vary depending on the county you are filing in, as well as whether or not your case involves minor children.

For example, in Nashville County, it costs $184.50 to file a divorce case that does not involve minor children or $259.50 to file a divorce case that does involve minor children. Serving your spouse with divorce papers via sheriff’s service will cost an additional $42 in Nashville county.

You should contact your county clerk to determine your specific filing fees.

In Tennessee, the typical divorce attorney charges between $230 and $280 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, there is a mandatory waiting period of 60 days (for cases without children) or 90 days (for cases with children) which must pass before a divorce can be finalized. This waiting period (also called a “cooling off” period in the state) begins the day after paperwork has been filed. This means that the quickest a divorce can be finalized in Tennessee is approximately 2-3 months after filing.

A contested divorce in Tennessee will typically take much longer, depending on what issues need to be resolved. On average, a contested divorce in Tennessee will take a year or more to complete.

How is property divided in a divorce in Tennessee?

Tennessee is an equitable distribution state. Whereas marital property and debts are divided evenly in a community property state, in an equitable distribution state like Tennessee the courts will decide what is equitable and fair. The end result will sometimes be an equal 50/50 split of all marital property and debt, but this is not guaranteed under law as it would be in a community property state.

Is Tennessee a 50/50 custody state?

Tennessee is not a 50/50 custody state. The courts decide matters of both legal and physical custody entirely based upon what it deems to be in the best interests of the child.

While it is possible that joint or shared legal or physical custody may be granted by the courts, nothing in Tennessee law guarantees that outcome. That being said, the state’s laws do state that both parents are entitled to the “maximum participation possible” in the life of their child. The law does not, however, define what this means.

It is important to note that even when joint physical custody is granted, that will not automatically translate into equal parenting time. Even in cases of joint or shared physical custody, one parent will typically be designated the primary residential parent. This is usually the parent that the child spends the majority of the time living with. The other parent is typically referred to as the alternative residential parent.

Tennessee’s laws specifically state that a parent’s gender cannot be considered in determining issues of custody.

How much is child support in Tennessee?

Like many other states, Tennessee uses an income shares model to determine child support. This model uses both parents’ income to determine how much support is due, and then splits that income proportionally between both parents depending on how much money they make. The non-custodial parent typically makes child support payments to the custodial parent.

How much time the child spends with each parent (for example in shared or joint custody cases) can also impact how much child support is due.

Child support in Tennessee will typically be no lower than $100 per month, split proportionally between both parents.

In Tennessee, child support is due until the child turns 18 and graduates from high school, whichever comes later.

Divorce in Texas

How much does a divorce cost in Texas?

Filing fees in Texas vary depending on the county where you file. But not by much: The divorce filing fee for the least-populous county in Texas is $283 and for the most-populous county it’s $310. If you need to serve your spouse with the divorce papers, you’ll also pay service and issuance fees. The district clerk’s office can let you know how all this will cost.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Texas?

At least 60 days, starting the day after your petition gets filed. However, if the 60th day is on a weekend or a holiday, the 60th day is considered to be the next business day.

Depending on how backed-up your county court is, the divorce could actually be completed on that 60th day (or the next business day). It could take longer in busier county court systems.

Two exceptions to the 60-day rule exist:

  • There’s an active order of protection or a magistrate’s order for protection against your spouse due to domestic violence.
  • Your spouse has either been convicted of (or received deferred adjudication for) a crime involving domestic violence.
  • In both these cases the 60-day period is set aside.

How long does it take to get a divorce if you are legally separated?

There’s no such thing as legal separation in Texas. Basically, you’re married until you’re not married, i.e., until the divorce is finalized.

What are you entitled to in a divorce in Texas?

Texas is a “community property” state, which means that anything acquired during the marriage belongs to both parties. (There are some exceptions, such as property given as a gift to one spouse.) Among the assets you’ll need to divide:

  • The equity in your house(s) and contents
  • Investments and retirement benefits (such as pensions, 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts)
  • Vehicles, RVs or boats
  • Checking and/or savings accounts (during the divorce, get yourself an account in your own name

Note: If you have a lot of property (or a lot of debt), talk to a divorce attorney to make sure you’re making the best choices for your future. Most of us aren’t lawyers and don’t know what issues might come up. For example, you might agree to an unfair division of the debts because you’re tired of fighting and just want this to be over.

Or suppose your spouse gets the family home and doesn’t get your name taken off the mortgage. If at some point the ex stops paying, the lenders can come after you.

Once you’ve agreed on how to divide things up, the judge will typically sign off on the plan. And if you can’t agree on certain things (or anything)? In that case, the judge will decide what is “just and right,” i.e., what’s fair to both people under the circumstances.

Divorce in Utah

How much does a divorce cost in Utah?

In Utah, it costs $325 to file for divorce. The spouse that files for divorce is also responsible for serving the other spouse with divorce papers, which can be done through the mail, sheriff’s service, or process server. Each of these options will carry its own costs.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Utah?

Once you file for divorce in Utah, your spouse is entitled to a response period of 21 days (if they were served in the state) or 30 days (if they were served outside of the state). Once this response period has ended, there is a mandatory 30 day waiting period before the divorce will be finalized. The courts can, in some cases, waive this waiting period.

This means that in total it will take a minimum of 51 to 60 days after filing for a divorce to be complete. It can take longer if the court’s schedule is backed up, or if you and your spouse are not in agreement on certain issues.

How is property divided in a divorce in Utah?

In Utah, the courts use the principle of equitable distribution to divide property during a divorce. This means that the courts ultimately decide what a fair division of property looks like, which differs significantly from how things are done in a community property state.

While each case is handled according to its own merits, in Utah, the longer a marriage, the more likely that marital property and debts will be split as close to 50/50 as possible. For shorter marriages, Utah courts will often seek to return each spouse to the financial position that they enjoyed before the marriage.

Is Utah a 50/50 custody state?

In Utah, there is no law stating that legal or physical custody must be split 50/50 between both parents. Instead, the courts have sole discretion in determining issues of custody according to what they deem to be in the best interests of the child.

That being said, the state typically assumes that joint legal custody will be in the best interests of the child except for in certain situations. Utah specifically states that such an assumption does not exist for physical custody. As such, a 50/50 split in parenting time is possible, but not guaranteed.

Instead, the state defines the minimum amount of parenting time that each parent is entitled to, which varies significantly depending on the precise age of the child. For children older than 5 years, this will usually equate to a minimum of one weeknight visit each week and an overnight visit on alternating weekends.

If you have minor children, then both you and your spouse must complete two courses before the divorce will be finalized: A divorce orientation class and a divorce education class.

How much is child support in Utah?

In Utah, the child support calculator determines payment using an income shares model which uses both parents’ incomes in order to determine what payments will look like. Typically, the non-custodial parent will be responsible for making child support payments to the custodial parent. Parenting time is a factor in determining payment amounts, and the courts use slightly different formulas for cases involving joint vs sole custody.

Costs related to health insurance, medical care, and childcare are also proportionally shared by both parents.

Child support is due in Utah until the child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever is later. In cases involving disabled children, the courts may order an extension.

Divorce in Vermont

How much does a divorce cost in Vermont?

The costs to file for divorce in Vermont vary depending on whether the divorce is contested or not. Filing for a contested divorce will cost $295. Filing for a “stipulated divorce” in the state will cost $90 if at least one of you is a resident of the state, or $180 if neither of you is a resident.

Serving your spouse with divorce papers will require an additional fee, which varies depending on whether you serve papers via sheriff’s service, certified mail, or publication.

The average lawyer in the US charges between $225 and $310 per hour. Divorce attorneys in Vermont typically fall within this range.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Vermont?

In order to get divorced in Vermont, you and your spouse must have lived “separate and apart” for at least 6 months. This does not mean that you must be living in separate residences; something as simple as sleeping in separate beds will qualify. This separation period can take place before you’ve filed for divorce, or after.

If your divorce involves minor children, there is a mandatory six-month waiting period that must pass after you have filed for divorce. This waiting period cannot be waived, but it can take place during the same time as the separation period mentioned above.

Finally, after the divorce order has been granted, it does not become final until a further 90-day waiting period (called the “nisi period”) passes. During the nisi period, you cannot remarry. You and your spouse can waive the nisi period so long as you are both in agreement.

The typical divorce in Vermont that doesn’t involve children can be completed within 6 months. Cases that do involve children will likely take longer, up to a year or more. Similarly, contested divorces in which both spouses do not agree will also typically take longer, up to a year or more.

How is property divided in a divorce in Vermont?

Vermont is not a community property state. Instead, it follows the model of equitable distribution, which empowers the courts to decide the fairest way of dividing marital property and debts. Though this can result in an equal 50/50 division of all property, that is not guaranteed under Vermont law.

Vermont also differs from other states in how it defines marital property. According to the state, “virtually all property you own is marital property,” including property that was acquired before the marriage and property that one spouse inherits or is gifted during the marriage, which would normally be deemed “separate property” in many other states.

Is Vermont a 50/50 custody state?

In Vermont, when parents cannot agree on issues of custody, the courts will decide what is in the best interests of the child.

Under Vermont law, shared physical and legal custody can only be considered by the courts if both parents agree to it. If either parent refuses shared custody, then the courts will assign custody to one parent according to its determinations.

When parents do agree to shared custody, it’s important to note that this will not automatically translate into an even 50/50 split.

By law, that state of Vermont cannot consider a parent’s gender in settling custody issues.

How much is child support in Vermont?

In Vermont, the non-custodial parent will typically be responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent. Vermont uses an income shares model to determine how much support is owed. This model considers both parents’ income, as well as how many overnight stays the child has with each parent during the year, to calculate payments.

Medical expenses and the cost of health insurance are likewise split between both parents.

In Vermont, child support continues until the child turns 18 years old. The courts may order an extension of payments in cases where the child has a disability and is still dependent on the parents.

Divorce in Virginia

How much does a divorce cost in Virginia?

Divorce filing fees vary significantly in Virginia depending on the district in which you file. For example, in Norfolk County the filing fee is $91 while in Fairfax County the filing fee is $86. The fee to resume use of your maiden name is similar across districts, at around $21. Sheriff’s service also costs approximately $12 regardless of your county.

The state offers a Circuit Court Civil Filing Fee Calculator to help you determine exactly what your fees may be.

The typical divorce lawyer in Virginia charges between $280 and $330 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Virginia?

In Virginia, the non-custodial parent typically pays child support to the custodial parent. If custody is shared, then the parent who spends less parenting time with the child will typically be responsible.

Virginia’s child support calculator uses an income shares model to determine payments owed. This formula factors in both parents’ incomes, as well as their custody arrangement, to calculate payment levels. The costs of childcare, health care, and insurance are also split proportionally between both parents.

Child support ends in Virginia when the child turns 19 years old or graduates from high school, whichever occurs first.

How is property divided in a divorce in Virginia?

Because Virginia is not a community property state, during a divorce all marital property and debt is divided according to a principle of equitable distribution. This simply means that the courts will determine a fair way of dividing property between you and your spouse. Equitable distribution can result in an even split of all marital property and debts, but this is not guaranteed.

Is Virginia a 50/50 custody state?

In Virginia, the courts will decide issues of custody according to what it deems to be in the best interests of the child. While joint legal and shared physical custody are possible and permitted, they are not guaranteed by the state’s laws. In cases where both parents get along, it is fairly common in Virginia for joint legal and physical custody to be granted. It’s important to note, though, that this won’t automatically translate into an even 50/50 split of parenting time.

By law, a parent’s gender cannot be considered by the courts.

How much is child support in Virginia?

In Virginia, the non-custodial parent typically pays child support to the custodial parent. If custody is shared, then the parent who spends less parenting time with the child will typically be responsible.

Virginia uses an income shares model to determine child support. This formula factors in both parents’ incomes, as well as their custody arrangement, to calculate payment levels. The costs of childcare, health care, and insurance are also split proportionally between both parents.

Child support ends in Virginia when the child turns 19 years old or graduates from high school, whichever occurs first.

Divorce in Washington

How much does a divorce cost in Washington?

It costs $314 to file for divorce in Washington state, and an additional $56 to file a modification to an existing order. If you choose to use a process server to serve your spouse with divorce papers, you’ll also need to pay their fee, though the state does allow anyone at least 18 years of age to serve papers. This means that a friend or family member could serve papers to your spouse for you.

In Washington, the average divorce attorney charges between $250 and $285 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Washington?

In Washington state, there is a 90-day waiting period which begins as soon as the divorce papers have been served to the non-filing spouse. This means that at a minimum it will take 90 days to finalize your divorce. It can take longer depending on the court’s schedule, and especially if you and your spouse do not agree on key issues.

How is property divided in a divorce in Washington?

Washington is a community property state. This means that during a divorce, all marital property and debt is divided equally between both spouses. While Washington recognizes separate property, the courts maintain the right to divide separate property as well as marital property if doing so would be equitable.

Is Washington a 50/50 custody state?

Washington state is not a 50/50 custody state. Instead of automatically assuming that parents will share legal custody and an even 50/50 split of parenting time, the courts consider whatever arrangement will be in the best interests of the child. While it is not guaranteed, 50/50 parenting is more likely in cases where parents live relatively close to one another and can demonstrate a willingness to get along.

In Washington, the non-custodial parent is typically entitled to a minimum of one weeknight visit and alternating weekend visits by law. This may be modified in cases involving abuse.

How much is child support in Washington?

Washington state child support calculator uses an income shares model to calculate child support payments. This model assumes that both parents are responsible for supporting their child, and as such uses both parents’ incomes to determine a support obligation. This obligation is then split between both parents according to their incomes. Generally speaking, only the non-custodial parent is responsible for actually making payments.

The lowest amount of child support that can be ordered in Washington is $50 per month, for parents whose combined monthly income is below $1,000.

In Washington, child support continues until the child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. Child support can be extended in some situations.

Divorce in West Virginia

How much does a divorce cost in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, it costs $135 to file for divorce. You can serve your spouse with divorce papers by hiring a process server, using certified mail, or in some cases serving by publication. The cost for each of these options varies significantly.

The average hourly fee charged by divorce attorneys in the US is approximately $270.

How long does it take to get a divorce in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, you can file for a divorce either by alleging irreconcilable differences or that you and your spouse have been living separate and apart for at least 1 year. Once you file and serve your spouse, a minimum of 20 days must pass before the court can finalize your divorce. It can take longer than 20 days depending on the court’s schedule.

A contested divorce will typically take much longer—anywhere from 3 to 6 or more, depending on what issues must be resolved.

How is property divided in a divorce in West Virginia?

West Virginia is not a community property state. This means that during a divorce, the courts will divide all marital property and debts between both spouses in a manner that it deems to be fair. This is called a doctrine of equitable distribution. Equitable distribution may result in, but does not guarantee, an equal 50/50 division of all marital property.

Is West Virginia a 50/50 custody state?

Nothing in West Virginia’s laws guarantee joint legal or physical custody of a child. That being said, the state’s custody law does encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising the child. If both parents have been reasonably active in decision making for the child during the marriage, then the judge will typically be more inclined to grant joint legal custody.

How much is child support in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, the non-custodial parent (or in cases of shared custody, the parent who spends less parenting time with the child) is generally responsible for making child support payments. The state uses an income shares model to determine what these payments should look like. This formula considers both parents’ income, as well as their custody arrangement.

When both parents’ combined monthly income is below $550, then the minimum child support order is typically set at $50 per month.

In West Virginia, child support continues until the child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever comes later.

Divorce in Wisconsin

How much does a divorce cost in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, it costs $184.50 to file for divorce if your case does not involve child support or alimony, or $194.50 if it does. The cost of serving your spouse with divorce papers in Wisconsin will depend on whether you use a process server or your local police department, but typically starts around $50.

The typical divorce lawyer in Wisconsin charges an hourly rate of $220 to $250 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, there is a mandatory 120-day waiting period that begins once the non-filing spouse has been served with divorce papers. This waiting period must pass before the divorce can be finalized. Most divorces in the state can be finalized within 6 months to a year, depending on the court’s schedule and whether or not you and your spouse agree on the terms of the divorce.

How is property divided in a divorce in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin is a community property state. This means that during divorce, all marital property and debts will typically be divided equally between both spouses. That being said, Wisconsin’s laws do allow the courts to depart from an exact 50/50 split in cases where it deems that doing so would be the appropriate outcome.

Is Wisconsin a 50/50 custody state?

Wisconsin’s custody laws do not specifically require an equal 50/50 split of legal or physical custody. Instead, custody is decided depending on what the court decides is in the child’s best interests.

That being said, Wisconsin statute does state that joint legal custody is typically in the best interests of the child. The law also states that custody orders should typically seek to maximize the amount of parenting time that the child spends with each parent, though it does not specify a 50/50 split.

In Wisconsin, some counties may require that parents complete mandatory parenting courses before the divorce can be finalized.

How much is child support in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent. This is calculated as a percentage of their income:

  • 17% for 1 child
  • 25% for 2 children
  • 29% for 3 children
  • 31% for 4 children, and
  • 34% for 5 or more children

The percentages above are for cases of sole custody. In cases of shared custody, the amount of parenting time that each parent has will impact child support. When parenting time is split evenly (50/50), then the parent who earns more money will typically be responsible for paying child support.

In Wisconsin, child support continues until the child turns 18 years old and graduates from high school. If they have not yet graduated from high school, then support will continue until they turn 19 years old.

Divorce in Wyoming

How much does a divorce cost in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, the cost to file for divorce varies by county. For example, in Converse County it costs $120 to file for divorce while in Laramie County it costs $110 to file. To serve your spouse with divorce papers, you’ll need to hire a process server at a cost that is usually between $20 and $50.

In Wyoming, the majority of divorce attorneys charge between $150 and $250 per hour.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, after you file for divorce you must wait a minimum of 20 days before the divorce can be finalized. While most divorces can be completed within 30 to 60 days in the state, a contested divorce can take much longer depending on what issues must be litigated.

How is property divided in a divorce in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, marital property and debts are divided according to a model of equitable distribution during a divorce. This means that the courts will decide what a fair division of property looks like. While a community property state might guarantee a 50/50 split of all property, this is not guaranteed in Wyoming.

Is Wyoming a 50/50 custody state?

Wyoming is not a 50/50 custody state. While joint legal and shared physical custody are possible, they are not guaranteed by law. Similarly, nothing in the state’s custody laws encourage or presume that shared custody is in the best interests of the child.

That being said, shared physical custody is more likely to be ordered if parents live within a close proximity to each other and can demonstrate a willingness to get along.

If the courts do grant sole physical custody to one parent, the non-custodial parent will almost always be entitled to visitation.

How much is child support in Wyoming?

Wyoming uses an income shares model to determine how much child support is owed. This model accounts for both parents’ incomes, as well as the number of children being supported. Typically, the non-custodial parent is responsible for making payments. A different formula is used depending on whether your case involves sole or joint custody.

The lowest child support order possible in Wyoming is $50 per month.

Child support in Wyoming ends when the child turns 18 years old and graduates from high school. It can be extended in cases where the child has a disability and is still dependent on the parents.

Ready to file? How to file for divorce in your state

DIY divorce is a great option for most couples. Start by downloading the divorce papers in your state, and understand the steps required to file in your local court house:

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Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.

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