According to the Virginia State Bar, the average cost of getting a divorce in Virginia is $12,700 without children and $14,500 if there are kids involved. An uncontested divorce costs at least $193 in total court and filing fees.
When trying to learn the average cost of divorce in Virginia, there are different things you need to consider. Let’s check the factors influencing the divorce price and possible methods to reduce divorce expenses.
What Factors Influence Virginia Divorce Costs?
When getting divorced in Virginia, spouses need to cover some predetermined legal expenses, such as filing fees. However, there are additional costs that arise in the divorce process, and their amount depends on several important factors, as specified below.
Real estate, businesses, and investments obtained by a married couple are referred to as marital assets. If spouses can’t decide how to divide such assets and need to hire attorneys and financial analysts for help, divorce costs will increase. The longer negotiations take, the more money a couple will have to spend on specialists’ fees.
If spouses file for divorce in Virginia with a child, they also have to deal with additional expenses, especially if there are disputes on major topics such as visitation, child custody, etc. Some parents will need to involve appraisers to determine child support, while others require expert advice when it comes to visitation schedules. Besides, parents with minor children are obliged to attend paid parenting classes.
If partners disagree on different aspects of marriage termination, such a case is classified as a contested divorce. It is one of the most expensive types of divorce in Virginia, as spouses have to contact third-party experts and pay for their assistance. For instance, they may need to hire lawyers, property appraisers, child custody specialists, etc. Therefore, the more conflicts they have to resolve, the more time and money they will spend on their divorce.
The need for legal representation and the level of legal assistance required (partial or full-scope) directly impact divorce costs. If a couple chooses a full-scope representation and reaches out to third-party specialists, they need to spend several times more than spouses who deal with the divorce on their own.
How Much Does a Contested Divorce in Virginia Cost?
Contested divorce is a legal process where spouses disagree on one or more key issues such as child custody, division of assets, or alimony, requiring court intervention to reach a resolution.
An average price of a contested divorce in Virginia starts at $6,000 and can exceed $20,000 if spouses need to resolve several disputed issues. For example, if they can’t reach an agreement on one aspect of marriage dissolution, they will have to spend approximately $6,000-$7,500 on a lawyer’s services. If there are 2 or more conflicts, the divorce lawyer’s costs may be as high as $10,000. Highly contested cases that involve lengthy legal battles can cost more than $22,000.
Calculating the exact sum is difficult because an average cost of a divorce lawyer fluctuates from $280-$350 and more per hour. Experts with extensive experience and those working in central regions typically charge more than their beginner colleagues or those with offices in suburban areas.
The lawyer’s assistance greatly increases divorce expenses, so many couples do their best to reach an agreement without starting lengthy in-court proceedings. Sometimes they address arbitrators and mediators to see reasonable compromises. Such experts charge $200-$250/hour, which is lower than standard divorce lawyer rates.
The Cost of an Uncontested Divorce
An average cost of an uncontested divorce in Virginia can be as low as $500-$800 if spouses manage to negotiate all disputes and file for a no-fault uncontested divorce. There are several options for spouses to initiate an uncontested marriage termination and finalize it successfully without involving a lawyer, saving much money on pricey legal representation.
Spouses who agree on all divorce-related matters and want to reduce divorce costs in Virginia can choose a DIY method. This is a cost-efficient option but not the most convenient one. Partners must manage all paperwork themselves and deal with document filing without expert help. In the best-case scenario, overall expenses will include only filing and serving fees. But if spouses prepare the wrong documents, make mistakes in the forms, and have to redo paperwork, the total divorce price will increase.
Divorce Negotiations and Mediation
Some divorce cases that are initially contested may become uncontested if a couple uses ADR services such as negotiation and mediation. Certified specialists will facilitate communication, encourage compromise, and help reach a mutually beneficial solution without starting tiresome court proceedings. Usually, such experts charge hourly rates, so the total expenses depend on how quickly spouses can come to an agreement.
The easiest way to get a divorce in Virginia is to use online divorce services. You will just need to fill out a questionnaire, specifying the details of your case, and wait till your divorce forms are ready. Such an option is convenient for couples who start an uncontested divorce and want to make the process quick and simple.
Our company is one of the leading providers of online divorce services. Clients choose us for our quick turnaround time, reasonable pricing, and high-quality divorce forms. If you want to get a cheap divorce in Virginia, don’t hesitate to delegate paperwork to us. In addition to case-specific, court-approved forms, you will receive detailed filing instructions.
The Cost of Filing for Divorce in Virginia
When submitting divorce papers to the court, a petitioner has to pay a filing fee, which currently starts at $86.00. Another mandatory payment is a service fee. In Virginia, you can hire Sheriff/Deputy Sheriff or a private process server to deliver copies of divorce papers to your spouse. If you decide to hire the Sheriff, you need to pay $12 per person served. If you choose a private process server, the cost will range from $10-$12 per person served.
Divorce expenses can also include a finder’s fee for divorce case in Virginia. This is a fee paid to an individual or agency for referring a client to an attorney or law firm that handles divorce proceedings. The division of finder’s fees and their amounts are regulated by Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.5(e).
The Bottom Line on The Cost of Divorce in Virginia
People frequently complain that divorce is an expensive and tiresome process. While this is true, and spouses may need to pay approximately $13,000 for cases without children and almost $15,000 for proceedings when kids are involved, there is still a way to make marriage dissolution cheaper.
If partners are ready to cooperate and compromise, they can avoid the biggest part of expenses and reduce divorce costs to about $200. For example, if they agree on property and debt division, child custody and support, and other important matters, they won’t need to hire attorneys.
Besides, they can simplify a divorce even more by addressing credible services that take care of document preparations. All in all, the simpler the case, the less money spouses will need to pay.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to get a divorce if both parties agree?
Spouses that apply for an uncontested divorce in Virginia and order divorce documents from an online service will have to pay approximately $250-$320.
What is the cheapest way to get a divorce in Virginia?
Online divorce is the most affordable way to terminate your marriage in Virginia.
Do you have to pay for a divorce?
You have to pay obligatory filing and serving fees to start a divorce. Other expenses will depend on the complexity of the case.
Paul Bennett is an author and a recurring columnist for a range of legal advisory blogs. Leveraging his past experience as a family law attorney, in his articles, Paul brings a unique understanding of the legal intricacies of divorce. His goal is to help those facing the breakdown of their marriage get through the complexities of ending it with a clear plan and awareness.