The good news is that NYC is part of state wide effort to make the divorce process faster and cheaper. In July of 2011, New York State passed a law which serves to allow couples to obtain a divorce without having to prove any timely and costly legal claims like adultery or abandonment. This innovative “No-Fault” divorce in our state allows couples to get divorced without making any one party at fault. Divorce attorneys can now provide client’s looking for an uncontested divorce with a cheaper, easier and less time consuming divorce.

When it comes to divorce one of the first things that comes to mind is how much will it all cost? The short answer: it depends if it contested or uncontested and how hard the sides battle in the event it is contested. uncontested divorces are fast & easy while a contested divorce can go past settlement and deep into trial. In most cases the couple will be able to save a lot of legal fees by coming to mutual agreement and filing for an uncontested divorce.

If divorce is contested, both partners usually pay the court fees and legal fees upfront. Some people have their attorney’s request for their spouse to cover a portion of their fees or the whole thing. It is also common for a judge to order one spouse to cover all legal costs involved. This is determined by a number of factors such as which of you filed for the divorce, if one partner is a stay-at-home parent, and who has a more capable divorce lawyer.

Here is a list of things that will determine how much divorce can cost:

Your divorce lawyer’s legal fees

When it comes to divorce, you don’t want to skimp on attorney fees. Find a NYSBA authorized divorce lawyer who will protect you and your interests. With enough searching, you may be able to find a lawyer who won’t charge incredibly high fees. Most divorce lawyers usually charge a lot but they usually provide good work to back it up.


The divorce proceedings will cost significantly less the more you and your spouse can come to terms and agree on all matters involved and avoid trial as fast as possible. Lengthy settlements or drawn out court cases about marital property, child custody, and child support can cost a pretty penny. These factors constitute the major expenses in most divorces.

Will you fight for custody of your children?

Fighting for custody over your children will bring up several fees including psychiatric evaluations, witness testimonies, etc. Fighting for custody also means more work for your lawyer who is likely to be billing you by the hour.

How much marital assets and debts is there?

If you have gathered significant amounts of debts and marital property, you may need to hire a certified divorce financial analyst, or a pension fund expert. This would be additional expenses added on top of all your legal fees. One should seek advice from a divorce attorney regarding the effect that any debt, assets and property will have on their case.

Your legal strategy and your spouse’s legal strategy

This simply highlights the importance of picking legal representation you are comfortable and see eye-to-eye with. If either you or your spouse’s attorney chooses aggressive one-sided strategies, you will be the one footing the bill. Some divorce lawyers choose more adversarial tactics since it means more money for them.

Legally, you can always fire your legal representative and find another one if you want to try a different more practical approach. What really determines the cost of divorce is how much you and your spouse are willing to work with each other to fix your issues. Settling things outside of court from the get go will be the key to save money. This will allow you to take advantage of the aforementioned “NYC No Fault Divorce Law” If both of you cannot put your differences aside prepare your wallets and free up your schedule.

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Contributed By A New York State Bar Authorized Attorney