Each divorce has its price. It is affected by the type of divorce (uncontested, contested), the state in which the couple is divorcing, the cost of a particular lawyer, the presence or absence of children, as well as the price of filing documents with the court and other state fees (serving a spouse through the sheriff's office, etc.).
To understand how much a contested divorce in New York costs specifically, the spouses need to consider many factors discussed below.
Contested Divorce Without Children
The case becomes contested if spouses can’t agree on divorce-related issues. In this case, the judge makes all the decisions for them.
In a contested divorce without children, the price is generally lower than a divorce with children since disputes about child support, custody, etc., are not raised in such a case.
However, spouses should understand that any numbers are approximate. For example, if a couple without children has a long dispute over property division, it will also increase the cost of divorce.
However, each state has some fixed fees. An index number (a number for the case) costs $210 in New York. In contested divorces, attorneys' services, court fees, and costs of mediation or litigation are considered. Depending on the case specifics, the price can be tens of thousands of dollars.
The minimum filing fee in NY is $335, including the index fee. However, this does not include notary fees, postage, photocopies, processing fees, etc. Also, if there is an extreme financial hardship, a couple can apply for a fee waiver for the court fees for any type of divorce.
Contested Divorce With Children
When there are children in a divorce case, custody, visitation, and alimony issues must be discussed and resolved before the judge signs the final divorce order.
However, this provision does not apply to all children, only "children of the marriage." This legal term refers to children 20 years of age or younger born or adopted by the applicant and the respondent before or during the marriage.
For all children in a marriage, child support, child custody, and visitation must be decided before the judge will sign the final order.
The minimum cost of divorce with children in New York is the state filing fee ($335). The lion’s share of the costs comes from legal representation. New York divorce lawyers typically charge $350 an hour or more. The duration of the divorce process, in turn, affects how much the couple will need the services of a lawyer.
Custody, visitation, and alimony issues may be considered part of the divorce. However, these issues can be resolved as part of a divorce judgment and will take some time. To save time, the couple can file custody, visitation, and alimony orders with the Family Court before filing for divorce. The good news is that it's free to apply to Family Court.
Let's break the veil: child disputes are often more expensive than property disputes since parents are always very emotional about everything related to their children, especially if the relationship between spouses is far from friendly.
Peace is always in the child's best interests. New York courts almost always award joint custody (unless there is a family history of abuse or neglect). Also, there is a strict formula for calculating child support.
Contested Divorce Attorney Cost in NY
The average divorce lawyer in New York State charges about $350 an hour. But, spouses may pay more in a city or areas with a high cost of living.
How long the couple will need the services of a lawyer largely depends on the following factors:
- If it is a fault or a no-fault divorce;
- What divorce method the spouses choose (collaborative divorce or divorce litigation);
- The presence or the absence of the kids.
Also, if the case is more complex, the spouses may need to pay additional registration fees. For full details, spouses can visit the website of their local court.
Summing up all of the above, the average cost in New York is about $17,000, including all fees and attorneys' services. On the other hand, an uncontested divorce where spouses reach a mutual agreement costs an average of $5,500, and complex disputes in a contested divorce can cost as much as $50,000.
Contested Divorce Online
Online divorce doesn’t mean that spouses can get divorced via the Internet. This term refers to using online tools to complete divorce paperwork. However, this option can only be used for simple cases. Spouses filing for a contested divorce can't use this option and need to hire a lawyer.
A couple choosing an amicable separation and not wanting to turn to expensive lawyers can contact Online Divorce New York to get professional help with selecting and filling out divorce papers. This online platform generates and fills out the necessary forms for an uncontested divorce.
How does it work? The applicant answers questions in a special questionnaire. Then, based on their answers, the service selects and completes the documentation. Thus, the papers are customized for the specifics of the case. Within two business days, ready-made forms will be ready for download.
What's more, the Online Divorce New York provides super detailed and clear instructions for filing documents for every state, including New York. All for only $139!