Divorces are known to be some of the most publicized court settlements in the United States.
Average divorce settlements are a discussion for another post.
In this article, we will be discussing the average cost of a divorce in Missouri for both contested and uncontested divorce cases.
There are many factors and questions that need answers before you can get an exact cost on the divorce.
Is the divorce contested or uncontested? Are their children involved? Is there an alimony dispute? Is there property that requires re-evaluation?
Several factors influence the total cost of a divorce. Nevertheless, the majority of money during a divorce procedure goes towards attorney fees. Because of this, you want the separation to go as smoothly and peacefully as possible.
Attorneys generally charge by the hour, so the more an item of contention holds up divorce settlements, the higher your overall costs.
Divorce costs and attorneys’ fees vary substantially based on the intricacies of the dispute and the length of representation.
No matter what kind of divorce you’re going through, filing and service fees will always be a factor. On average, Missouri’s filing fees are around $200 depending on the county.
There is also an average $25 sheriff’s service fee for serving divorce papers. This price can go up if you do not know the exact location of your spouse.
One considerable influence on the overall cost of your divorce in Missouri is whether it is contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce is going to cost considerably less overall.
There are no drawn-out disputes over property, no lengthy child custody battles, and no arguments over alimony with an uncontested divorce. If everyone agrees, there is nothing to dispute.
While many divorce lawyers charge by the hour, there are some that offer flat rate divorce services.
With that said, uncontested divorces in Missouri typically range between $1,000 and $2,000.
If you live in more expensive cities like Los Angeles or New York, you could be paying between $3,500 and $5,000 for an uncontested divorce.
Divorce lawyers in Missouri (and everywhere else for that matter) usually require a retainer, but the good news is, most divorce lawyers include the filing fee as part of their retainer. On average, an attorney’s retainer fee is around $3,500. However, this number can be anywhere from $500 to $25,000 based on how complicated the divorce is and how high profile the attorney is.
Once you have the lawyer on retainer, the average cost for legal advice and representation is around $200 per hour in Missouri.
If both parties do not agree that the marriage is broken, the divorce must be filed under fault for actions such as adultery or abandonment. This route can also increase costs.
Contested divorces with children are the most expensive. Lawyer fees alone can reach up to $17,000 if they go to trial. Although settling before a trial can have a significant impact on overall cost, divorces with children are said to be up to 50% more expensive than average.
Alimony disputes also increase the overall fees. While alimony disputes that settled cost slightly less than those involving children, those that went to trial actually cost more; upwards of almost $30,000.
Property dispute divorces are roughly on-par with the average divorce in Missouri. However, going to trial to dispute the division of properties, including the costs to re-evaluate property values, severely increase the overall costs.
For a more in-depth look into what you may need to do, check out our article on How to File for Divorce in Missouri.
If you find yourself about to go through the divorce process, Suddarth and Koor, LLC is here for you.
We are trained and certified mediators that have years of experience conducting negotiations in complex financial and emotional circumstances.
We understand that the decisions you make during a divorce will impact the rest of your life, and having the right team behind you can make all the difference.
You can contact us today for a free divorce consultation.