Getting A Divorce Saved My Finances


debtBy Catherine New

Huffington Post

My parents, twice-divorced each, had four words of advice for me when I told them I was ending my two-year marriage: Get a good lawyer.

Like a lot of Americans, I couldn’t even come up with $500 in emergency money when the time came to split. Just the opposite. I was nearly $20,000 in credit card debt and $15,000 in student loan debt. I also earned much less than my ex-husband. Financial manageability was not exactly my strong suit when I got married. Could I really afford to get divorced?

But when you are in stage five relationship decay, the price you’re willing to pay to end the suffering is limitless. I took my parents’ advice and looked for a lawyer. You know, someone like Glenn Close in Damages. In reality, what I could afford was closer to John Laroquette in Night Court. I called a few listed on the Internet; they were not impressed with the stakes. There were no kids and only minor assets, and a quibble over jewelry that was a wedding present.

Mom insisted on an attorney who had at least a nameplate on the door. In the end, the cost for the attorney who was recommended was $6,500. Cash up front, no credit cards.

Trying to find an estimate on how much a divorce costs is like trying get an average price for an airplane ticket: it all depends on what kind of baggage you’re taking with you. The cheapest divorces — “Divorcios Rapidos” — are around $650 after all the fees and paperwork. Other ballpark figures put an average figure at around $15,000 to $30,000 for lawyers and related filing costs. And it just goes up from there.

If interested in discussing family law matters, you can contact Keith Berkshire, Certified Specialist In Family Law, State Bar of Arizona, at


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August 2012