Everything You Should Know About Cost of Divorce in PA
How much does a divorce cost in Pennsylvania?
Many questions run through your head as you prepare for divorce. One thing everyone wants to know is the total cost of a divorce. The overall cost of divorce can include court filing costs, attorneys’ fees, parent education classes, mediation fees, costs for evaluations such as psychiatric evaluations or counseling, Guardian Ad Litem fees, expert witness fees, and other expenses that may arise depending on your situation.
Keep in mind that the cost of getting a divorce depends greatly on where you live, whether you and your spouse have children, whether you own real estate or vehicles, your debt, and many more factors. In general, divorces become increasingly expensive based on three main factors: the complexity of your individual situation (which will impact how long the process takes), who you hire, and how much you or your spouse are willing to compromise to reach agreements and keep costs down.
While there are many variables to consider that can impact the cost and length of your divorce, in almost all circumstances, these four factors will result in higher costs:
- Fighting with your spouse – If you and your spouse can agree on issues like custody, child support, and division of property, then you will spend significantly less on legal fees and court costs.
- Custody battles and cost – Fighting over children will add expense to a divorce. Child custody evaluations or a Guardian Ad Litem are costs parties face in addition to attorneys’ fees. Other expert witnesses regarding school choice, medical, and orthodontic care are often necessary.
- Lots of marital assets or marital debt – Generally, the more marital property or debt you have, the more complex your divorce. If you and your spouse have accumulated real estate, retirement accounts, personal property, investments, and personal property, you may require a financial analyst, a forensic accountant or a real estate appraiser.
- Your divorce attorney – Which divorce lawyer you hire will have a big impact on how much your divorce costs, but that doesn’t mean the cheapest attorney in town will really save you money in the long-run. An attorney with knowledge of the divorce, child custody, and support laws as well as the procedure in the jurisdiction where your case will be handled will increase efficiency and help keep the overall cost down. An incompetent attorney can make your divorce even more painful than it has to be and more expensive in the long run. Without the proper legal guidance your spouse could take advantage of the situation in a way that might not be repairable later.
It is also important to realize that divorce can end up hitting your wallet well after your divorce decree is issued. Understanding and addressing the “what ifs” as part of any final agreement is critical. Many people make the mistake of rushing to conclude their divorce only to learn of costly, unresolved issues down the road. Working with an attorney who can protect your interest in future financial benefits like pensions and retirement accounts and making sure that assets are appropriately retitled to avoid unforeseen tax consequences will provide closure and peace of mind as you move on with your life.
A good divorce lawyer can help you navigate the many questions and uncertainties that come with filing for divorce in Pennsylvania. You will have peace of mind knowing you have a trusted advisor you can turn to when thrown a curve ball or met with a challenge. Hiring a skilled lawyer will be among the most important decisions you make in your divorce process. You want to ensure that you have an attorney who will work to find the best outcomes for you, your children, and your financial future.
Who pays for a divorce in PA?
In Pennsylvania the court has the power to order one spouse to pay for the other’s attorney fees. The judge will consider factors such as the income gap between the parties and whether both are acting in good faith.
How much does an uncontested divorce cost in PA?
Pursuing an uncontested divorce without hiring an attorney is the cheapest route. You can expect approximately a $300 fee to file your divorce papers and an additional cost between $150 and $1,500 in case you use the support of an online service. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended to hire a skilled and experienced divorce lawyer because divorce proceedings and circumstances can be very different and it is easy to end up with unexpected expenditures or undesired outcome affecting your future due to “not knowing what you don’t know.”
Is collaborative divorce cheaper than traditional divorce?
The Pennsylvania Collaborative Law Act has made collaborative divorces legitimate. Couples are free to agree on any type of financial and custody schedule plans that work for them, even if it might be outside of the authority of the courts. In a collaborative divorce, each party agrees to resolve their issues cooperatively. The cost range for a collaborative divorce can start around $10,000 and is cheaper than going to court.
What are the values of a good divorce lawyer in PA?
First and foremost, you want to find a divorce lawyer that aligns with your views and values. An initial phone consultation will allow you to explain your unique situation and ask questions that will give you a better understanding of how they plan to represent you.
Next, you want to be sure that your lawyer has experience handling divorce cases in Pennsylvania — specifically in the jurisdiction where your case will be heard. With more experience comes more wisdom. A good lawyer will be able to pull from his or her expertise and experience and apply that to tailor a strategy for your unique situation.
Finally, you want a lawyer who sees you as a person and sees your family as they would see their own family. A key to a strong working relationship is hiring a lawyer who values you as much more than a case number. There are no real cookie-cutter solutions for divorce if you want it done right. Look for a divorce lawyer who will learn your specific circumstance and situation and develop a strategy that helps you achieve what you desire.
Tips on how to choose the right divorce lawyer in Pennsylvania
When choosing the right divorce lawyer in Pennsylvania to handle your matter, you want to consider much more than just their cost for services. While this is a factor worth considering, so are the following:
- How long have they been practicing family law?
- What is their education?
- Are they knowledgeable about the divorce laws specific to Pennsylvania and the procedure in your county?
- Do they have a good reputation among other lawyers and judges?
- How are they ranked on AVVO, Google Reviews, or social media?
- Has anyone you know worked with them before, and what would they say about them?
The best advice for choosing the right divorce lawyer in Pennsylvania is to look for character, education, and reputation.
How Colgan and Associates can help you
Our team of trusted divorce attorneys at Colgan & Associates stand ready to assist with your matter. We proudly offer no-cost phone consultations to individuals hoping to better understand their matter and how we may be able to assist them. If you or someone you know is going through a divorce in Pennsylvania, please reach out to us today at (717) 502-5000.