How Much Does A Divorce Cost
Costs vary widely when it comes to divorce, but by outlining your circumstances, you can get a ballpark idea of how much you’ll need to spend.
One of the most common questions people have when they are learning about divorce is, “How much will their divorce cost?”
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer. The costs will vary, depending on such factors as whether or not you and your spouse agree on the major issues, and whether you will require the services of an attorney.
There are ways to get divorced without spending a fortune.
Adultery Have Either You Or Your Spouse Committed Adultery
These are just a few of the things that you should consider before deciding to hire a divorce lawyer. Generally, the decision regarding whether or not to hire a lawyer should be fairly easy.
You probably dont need a lawyer if all of the following apply:
You have talked to your spouse and you both have decided to seek a separation and divorce
You do not have any children
You do not have any real property
You can divide up any assets you have without the assistance of a lawyer
You cannot afford a lawyer, or would rather not spend your money hiring a lawyer
Neither you nor your spouse have been unfaithful and
The Cost Of Divorce Lawyers In Tennessee
One of the things we saw in our reader survey was that most people hire lawyers to help with their divorces. When thats the case, their biggest divorce expense is the bill for attorneys fees. Two factors go into determining how big that bill will be: how much the lawyer charges per hour and how many hours are needed to resolve the issues in the divorce.
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How To File For Divorce In Tennessee
Generally, there are two types of divorcecontested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce is one where the spouses agree on all divorce-related matters, such as division of property, child custody, and alimony . A contested divorce, on the other hand, is one where the spouses agree on at least one topic and must ask a court to decide the issues in their divorce.
Uncontested divorces usually reach resolution faster and are less expensive than contested divorces because there’s no fighting in court. Instead, the judge needs only to review and approve the spouses’ and issue a divorce decree.
To get a divorce in Tennessee, you will need to file divorce paperwork with the clerk of the court in the county where you will file your divorce.
Filing Your Divorce Forms
When you’re ready to file, bring two copies along with the original to the Clerk of Court. According toTN Code § 36-4-105, you can file either in the county where you and your spouse both live, where you live currently regardless of where your spouse lives, or the county where you lived when you first separated.
The court requires a filing fee, anywhere from $184 to $301, depending on whether there are children involved and if you have the sheriff serve papers to your spouse.
Once the papers are filed, the judge sets a hearing date either sixty or ninety days from the filing date.
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Do The Other Issues Child Support Child Custody Alimony And Property Have To Be Decided Before Finalizing A Divorce In Tn
Yes, all issues must be decided before a judge approves the final divorce decree. If the parties settle, a Marital Dissolution Agreement will divide all assets and debts. If alimony is awarded, the Marital Dissolution Agreement will also identify the type and terms of the alimony.
A Permanent Parenting Plan will decide child related decisions. The Permanent Parenting Plan will designate a parenting schedule and make other provisions for any minor children. If the parties do not settle, a divorce trial will determine all issues.
Cost Of Divorce In Tennessee
Weve all heard the horror stories about the destructive power of divorce. Not only does it leave a wide emotional wake, but the financial aftermath often takes some people years to recover from. Luckily, with some careful planning and a little foresight, this doesnt have to be you.
Heres some more information about the cost of divorce in Tennessee, and what you can do to keep your bottom line as low as possible.
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Free Divorce Forms For Couples With No Children
In Tennessee, there are times when married couples can get divorced using free online forms. Doing so could save the couple a significant amount of money. They still have to pay the court costs, but they would be able to avoid costly attorneys fees. The forms discussed in this blog are free and have been deemed universally acceptable as legally sufficient by the Tennessee Supreme Court. That means that if filled out correctly, all Tennessee courts that hear divorce cases must accept them. . Other forms that you can purchase online or in stores are not guaranteed to work and likely wont be accepted by your local divorce court.
Qualifications: How do I know if I am able to use these forms?
- In order to qualify to use these forms:
- Both spouses must agree on all parts of the divorce
- You and your spouse need to agree that you have irreconcilable differences
- One or both of you must have lived in Tennessee for the last six months or when the decision to divorce was made.
- Have no children together than are under 18 years old, in high school, or disabled.
- Neither spouse is pregnant.
- You dont own buildings or land or a business together or have retirement benefits.
- You can agree on alimony and how to divide your property, and will both sign a Divorce Agreement.
Where can I access these forms?
- The forms are available online at tn.courts.gov:
How do I file these forms?
How Is Child Custody Decided In Tennessee
All decisions about the legal and physical custody of children in any Tennessee divorce must be based on what would be in the children’s best interests.
Judges will consider several factors when they make custody decisions , including the custody preferences of children who are 12 years old or older.
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Do You Have To Pay For Divorce
You are not required to hire an attorney to divorce. And while courts charge filing fees, many allow you to apply for a fee waiver if you have a low income and it would be a serious financial hardship to pay court costs.
Filing court paperwork yourself can be complicated without a lawyer, but many jurisdictions have guides to help. You may also wish to consider paying a consulting attorney to help with specific tasks such as reviewing your divorce settlement agreement. Average total fees for consulting attorneys totaled $4,600 in 2019, according to Nolo.
How Does The Type Of Divorce Affect The Cost
There are two main types of divorce: contested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce is less drawn-out and hardly involves litigation. Parties may agree on who gets to keep the house and how much alimony the financially dependent spouse should receive. These types of divorces are less costly than contested divorces because they do not require extensive court proceedings to resolve the various issues involved in the divorce.
The average cost of an uncontested divorce in Tennessee is $500 to $1000, depending on local rates in your area and how many claims need to be filed in the District Court Clerks office. If the parties have the ability to come up with a settlement agreement on their own without the assistance of the court or attorneys, then the cost can be significantly reduced.
Contested divorces, on the other hand, are more complicated and more expensive than uncontested divorces, it could add up to $14,000. These involve numerous court appearances and significant negotiations between the parties to reach a final settlement. As a result, they would cost more than uncontested divorces.
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How Much Are Divorce Filing Fees In Tennessee
Filing fees for a civil case in Tennessee are $184 to $301. The costs change based on whether you have children and if the sheriff serves the papers to your ex.
You or your attorney must file the domestic relations action with your local Tennessee court and pay the filing fee before a judge will set a hearing date for your divorce.
From there, Tennessee law has a 60-day or 90-day waiting period before a local judge will schedule your divorce hearing. During this time, you can try to negotiate outside of court to decide:
- A permanent parenting plan
- Financial support for minor children
- Alimony if one spouse did not work or earned less
- Property division
- Any other specific terms for your final decree of divorce
If you cannot make fair decisions together on these issues, your two attorneys will negotiate together until both sides are happy. This process can be costly if both parties do not agree for weeks.
You also have the option to pay for a mediator to help you find a fair resolution. On average, a mediator is $100-$200 per hour. Mediation is a great option when spouses cannot communicate effectively or need a neutral third party to keep the discussion on track.
What If I Cant Pay Due To Financial Hardship
If your divorce is about to go to trial and you have no means of paying due to financial hardship via not having control over money that you and your spouse share, you may be able to ask the court for pendente lite. This means your spouse will be ordered by the court to pay your divorce attorney fees at the beginning of the divorce proceedings. This is also known as temporary spousal support.
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The Person Youre Divorcing
It takes two to tango and, unfortunately, an unreasonable spouse can delay and add to the cost of your divorce. You may be the most reasonable person who was ever divorced and propose a truly fair agreement, but if your spouse isnt willing to sign, your divorce will have to be decided by a judge via a divorce trail.
The above isnt an exhaustive list, but it does cover the most common variables that lead to a costly divorce. Some of them can be avoided while others cant. Many of these factors can be assessed by a good divorce attorney on the first meeting with you however, there are some aspects of a divorce that never come to light until the process is well underway. This is why it is so difficult to give divorcing clients a specific fee when they ask how much their divorce may cost some of the factors are unknown and some are completely out of the clients control.
What Does This Website Offer
Through this website you can begin your uncontested divorce process online. You simply answer a series of questions, and then submit your answers. Our legal team will then prepare all the paperwork for you to include detailed instructions for filing and finalizing your divorce by mail with no court appearance required.
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Your Spouse Hired A Lawyer Who Has Drawn Up All The Paperwork And You Want Someone To Make Sure It Is Legally Correct
If the above characteristics describe you, then you may want to consider hiring a lawyer. In all likelihood, if you have already divided up your assets and liabilities, and you are in agreement about who will be taking the kids, then you probably can proceed to handle the divorce on your own using our Do-It-Yourself Divorce Package. However, if you are the type of person who feels overwhelmed by the legal system, or will forever be second-guessing yourself for signing the documents that your spouses attorney prepared, then hiring a lawyer may not be such a bad idea.
You should be prepared to hire an attorney if
You have not talked to your spouse, or you have and they do not agree to a separation or divorce
Your spouse left without so much as a good-bye
You have minor children, and you and your spouse have not agreed to custody or visitation, let alone child support
Your spouse is unwilling to pay child support
You are unable to divide up all of your assets and debts with your spouse
Either you or your spouse have committed adultery
You own a business, or have a large amount of assets that you want to protect
You are afraid that you might have to pay alimony
You feel that you are entitled to receive alimony
You are intimidated by the courthouse and/or the thought of going in front of a judge by yourself
You are overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork that you must fill out to get a divorce
Should You Hire An Attorney For Your Divorce
The most frugal and financially-strapped individuals out there often contemplate doing their divorce on their own, but this is rarely a good idea because you dont know what you dont know. Representing yourself has little to do with how smart you are. Lawyers spend years in school and practice learning the law and how to effectively convey it to a judge. You are likely to be facing an attorney who has been in front of your specific judge dozens of times and is aware of all of that adjudicators preferences and tendencies. Simply put, representing yourself is a recipe for disaster and should be avoided at all costs.
If money is tight, search for local attorneys online and inquire about pricing until you find one you can afford. If you speak to an attorney you cannot afford, ask that person who they would recommend that could take your case at a lower rate. Many people borrow money from friends and family. I promise you that there are competent attorneys who will represent you for a few thousand dollars or perhaps even less.
Lastly, regardless of how much money you can afford to pay an attorney, you might appreciate reading this article on the best ways to lower your attorney fees while going through a divorce it has a lot of great tips on keeping costs down.
Can I Force My Spouse To Pay The Legal Fees For Our Divorce In Tennessee
In many marriages, one spouse will be the primary breadwinner. If a couple is happily married, a significant disparity in income is often not a cause for concern, but if the couple decides to divorce, the lesser earning spouse is at a financial disadvantage and may wonder if he or she can afford the cost of an attorney. The law aims to protect the rights of all individuals, even individuals that cannot afford an attorney. Thus, in many divorce cases, the court will order one spouse to pay the other spouses legal fees. If you intend to end your marriage, it is in your best interest to consult a skillful Tennessee divorce attorney to discuss whether your spouse may be responsible for your legal fees.
Responsibility for Legal Fees
Like many states, Tennessee follows the American Rule, which traditionally requires a party to a lawsuit to pay his or her own attorneys fees unless a statutory or contractual provision states otherwise. State v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 18 S.W.3d 186, 194 . Nevertheless, Tennessee statutory law vests trial courts with the discretion to award one party his or her attorneys fees in the context of a divorce proceeding, and some trial judges may deem such an award to be a form of alimony. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-103.
Discretionary Factors the Court Will Consider
Speak with an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Divorce In Tennessee Is Expensive
For those going through a divorce, it is important to understand the potential cost so that you can plan accordingly. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your spouse, then you may have to go to court which can end up costing more money.
Additionally, if you have children, you will need to take their needs into account when making arrangements for child support and custody. By understanding the potential cost of divorce in Tennessee, you can be better prepared for what to expect.
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Can I Get Alimony
Alimony, also called maintenance or spousal support, is financial support paid by, or to, your spouse. The judge will decide whether or not to grant you alimony. If you suffer economically because you relied on your spouse for support and were a homemaker or parent during your marriage, the judge will try to make sure that your standard of living is the same after your marriage as it was during your marriage if possible.1
To decide whether or not to award alimony and to decide the appropriate amount and length of an alimony award, the judge will consider several factors, including:
- each partys financial needs and the ability to meet those needs
- each partys earning capacity and resources, including pensions, profit sharing, and retirement plans
- each partys education and training and need for more education or training to increase earning capacity
- the length of marriage
- each partys age, mental condition, and physical condition
- if there are children under 18 years old, which would make it undesirable for one party to work outside of the home
- the standard of living during the marriage
- contributions as a homemaker, help with the other spouses training, education, or increased earning capacity of your spouse
- each partys fault in contributing to the divorce and
- any other factors necessary to come to a fair decision, including the potential tax consequences to you and your spouse.1
1 TN ST § 36-5-121