A Brief Breakdown of Divorce in the United States

Low cost divorce

No one expects to get divorced when they propose to their soon-to-be-spouse. In fact, at that moment divorce is probably the furthest thing from their minds. But the sad truth is that divorce is no longer an uncommon occurrence, and it can happen for a variety of reasons. Here are some statistics on divorce and a few of the reasons behind one of the most difficult decisions a person can make.

Two Per Minute.
In the United States, over a million couples file divorce papers every year. That comes out to one divorce every 30 seconds. And while not every one of these couples will need a divorce lawyer, many experts recommend using one, whether for simple filing and advice or to be there every step of the way.

A Few of the Top Reasons.
The Journal of Family Issues lists “incompatibility” as an often-cited reason for divorce, accounting for 19% of cases. In just over 10% of divorces, couples cited drug or alcohol abuse. But the most common reason people give may not come as huge surprise: Over 21% of couples cited infidelity as the main factor that ended their marriage. In fact, 50% of the average couples therapist’s caseload is because of infidelity.

It Takes as Long as It Takes.
The average divorce, from the moment the petition is filed to the moment it’s finalized, can take up to six months. If either party fights the divorce, it will obviously take longer than if the divorce is uncontested, but it will also cost significantly more.

It Costs as Much as It Costs.
The cost of a divorce can vary wildly based on a number of factors. Here are just a few of the things that can affect the cost of divorce lawyers:

  • Experience level of the lawyer — Younger lawyers may not charge as much in order to gain more clients and thus more experience. Desperate lawyers may do the same. Be sure to do your homework.
  • How involved the lawyer is — A couple can choose to involve a lawyer in any and all aspects of the proceedings (full representation) or to use a lawyer only for advice. While most experts recommend having legal representation for much of the proceedings, the sometimes high cost of divorce lawyers can make people wary of banking too many hours with their attorney.
  • Whether the divorce is contested or not — An uncontested divorce is one where both parties agreed to the divorce itself. In many cases the parties also agree on many of the settlement issues, so in-court time (one of the more expensive factors in a divorce) is kept to a minimum. Uncontested divorce lawyers charge less per hour because the divorce process doesn’t take as long and doesn’t involve as much work on their part.
  • How complicated the divorce is — Are there large estates involved? Numerous bank accounts in both parties’ names? Contested child custody? Disputed accusations that affect the terms of settlement? The more complicated the divorce, the higher the cost of divorce lawyers, since there will likely be far more hours spent in consultations, negotiations, and in-court appearances.

Divorce is never a happy occasion, but if you do find yourself facing divorce proceedings, do all you can to resolve matters quickly and equitably. You’ll be glad you did. More information like this. More information like this.

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