Current Affairs

Divorce Costs in California, The Most Expensive State for Legal Separation in the U.S.


Undoubtedly, when people enter into marriage, be it a sacred union or otherwise, the intention typically revolves around enduring through all life’s facets – from financial highs and lows to health adversities, ideally standing strong until the very end.
However, the complexities leading to a marital rift are countless and varied, far beyond what can be discussed here, resulting in divorces. For those contemplating divorce in California, discovering that the Golden State holds the title for the most expensive place in the United States to dissolve a marriage, with an average cost of $10,159, might come as an additional blow, as per a recent analysis.
To pinpoint the most and least expensive states for divorce in 2023, Forbes Advisor took into account divorce filing fees, lawyer fees, the cost of living, and the percentage of household income required to cover the expenses across the nation. The analysis highlighted that the top 10 priciest states for divorce also boast high costs of living, where residents shell out more for almost everything, including the dissolution of a marriage.
The average cost of divorce across the U.S. stands at $7,567, with the typical American spending 7% of their annual income on divorce proceedings. However, in California, individuals might need to allocate slightly over 8% of their annual household income to navigate a divorce. This increase is partly attributed to the $435.00 cost for filing a divorce and the state’s lawyers’ average hourly rate, which hovers around $85.00.
It’s worth noting that a contested divorce, particularly lengthy and challenging, can escalate the costs significantly in the Golden State, surpassing the average of $10,159. Other high-cost-of-living states like New York, Alaska, and Hawaii also feature in the top 10 most expensive states for divorce.
Forbes Advisor suggests that individuals residing in these expensive states may consider crafting prenuptial agreements or adopting cost-saving measures as a precautionary measure in case the marriage ends in divorce. Conversely, the states offering the most affordable divorce options are predominantly situated in the nation’s breadbasket and southern regions, with Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa emerging as the top three least expensive states to dissolve a marriage legally.

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