The Cheapest Way to Get Divorced

By staff
Updated Feb 09, 2024


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The Cheapest Way to Get Divorced

Deciding to get a divorce is a difficult decision. However, if you do decide to get a divorce, this is the first of many decisions that you as a couple will make. Next, you have to decide how to get divorced.

Couples who decide to end their marriages often want to divorce in the quickest and most affordable way possible. However, the cheapest way to get divorced may not be the easiest.

The Cheapest Way to Get Divorced

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get a Divorce?

The cheapest way to get a divorce is to do it yourself, called a DIY divorce. That means finding and filling out the forms, filing them, paying the (correct) fees, and hoping it works. The second least expensive way is to get a divorce online.

Attorney’s Fees

The most expensive part of a divorce is your attorney. Why? Because most divorce attorneys charge hourly, meaning if you and your spouse want to continue to fight it out in court, it means ongoing significant fees for the attorney.

For example, each spouse will likely pay an average of $11,300 in legal fees when a divorce attorney handles their divorce. However, that varies based on where you live. For example, New York attorneys estimate that divorce costs anywhere from $13,000 to $16,000.

Attorneys charge by the hour, sometimes as much as $1,500 and as low as $75. The national average is around $250 per hour for a divorce attorney.

Again, the state where you live will dictate the attorney rate. For example, California divorce attorneys earn $300 to $365 per hour.

Sometimes lawyers who do a large volume of divorces might charge you a flat fee, which means you pay one amount for the end-to-end process. However, if your divorce gets complicated, e.g., child custody, property division, or spousal support issues, you can expect to pay extra.

Learn about divorce online with


Mediation is more affordable than attorneys working out the details of a divorce agreement in court.

The mediator is a neutral third party that helps you and your spouse work out the details of any parts of your divorce you cannot agree on. Mediators do not make decisions for you but instead help you find solutions to these sticking points.

Asking a neutral third party to help you work out compromises for some parts of your divorce agreement can help you end your marriage with less friction. But it does cost money, charged by the hour. Like lawyers, a divorce mediator’s hourly rate varies.

The national average comes to around $100 to $300 per hour, with the average session taking two hours each. However, private mediators in California have a range of $200 to $1,000 an hour.

When you compare mediator rates across the country, you can see that different areas have different rates.

For example, a mediation in Indiana costs an average of $1,500 for three to five two-hour sessions. In Oregon, if you have a simple divorce, you can expect to pay around $1,700 for two sessions and up to $3,300 to $4,900 for four or six sessions for more complicated divorces.

DIY Divorce

The cheapest way to get divorced is by doing it yourself. A DIY divorce means that you prepare and file all the legal documents and marital agreement yourself, without a lawyer.

Since you are doing all the work, you don’t have any legal fees. It means you pay only the court filing fees, which vary by state. The most expensive state to file for divorce is California, at $435. The least expensive state is North Dakota at $180.

When you consider the average divorce cost, that’s quite a savings. However, it also means that you have to find all the forms, work out all the details, fill out the forms correctly, and file them.

Plus, you and your spouse have to agree on everything, which, let’s face it, could be a deal breaker.

There are other drawbacks to DIY divorce, too.

First, no one is there to ask questions unless you count Google. Moreover, you will be hammering out the details of dividing property and contentious issues like child custody and spousal support (if applicable) by yourselves.

So, is a DIY divorce the cheapest way to get a divorce? Yes, but it is also the most complicated for you. It costs a lot of stress, anxiety, and headaches, too.

Then, what should you do if you don’t love the traditional attorney or mediation route and DIY doesn’t sound good?

The good news is there is another option: online divorce. While it’s not as cheap as DIY, it’s the quickest way to get a divorce and is still much less than traditional divorce.

Online Divorce with

An online divorce means much of the divorce process happens digitally. However, the entire divorce process does not occur online.

The process is similar for the various sites.

Online divorce starts with creating an account, answering preliminary questions, and then getting through the more in-depth questionnaire. Once you complete the questionnaire, the provider completes the forms, sends them to you to download and file with the court.

Like a DIY divorce, there are some requirements for an online divorce. First, you must have an uncontested divorce, meaning you aren’t accusing your spouse of cheating or abandonment.

You should agree on the terms of the agreement for the most part with regard to custody and child support if you have kids as well as how you will divide property and debt.

If you meet these criteria, there are benefits to online divorce:

  • It costs much less than a traditional divorce.
  • It’s unlikely something will be missing from the agreement since the system guides you to get all the necessary forms.
  • It’s fast; online systems like get you the required paperwork in as little as two days.

So, are online divorce solutions as cheap as doing it yourself?

They are not, but they are close.

However, for the money, online divorces are an excellent bargain compared to a traditional divorce or even a mediated one. Plus, they generate far fewer headaches than a DIY option.

So, while not the cheapest way to get a divorce, some couples might find online divorce the fastest and easiest solution.


What is the quickest way to get a divorce?

Filing a no-fault, uncontested divorce with the help of a service like is the quickest way to get a divorce. In addition, when divorce is fast, you save on legal fees.

What are the filing fees?

Not only do you have to pay your attorney for their time spent on your case, but you have to pay court-required filing fees and costs to get divorced. However, in the case of an uncontested divorce, you only pay the filing fees and no attorney fees. These state filing fees are required for all divorces, whether online, DIY, or traditional.

Filing fees vary by state. For example, in California, it costs $435 to file for divorce.

Can the filing fees be waived?

The state can waive court costs by granting a fee waiver. Fees are waived for low-income individuals. There are specific requirements for fee waivers in different states, which you can find online.

Usually, the court issues them to people on public benefits, those with lower household incomes, or if the court finds that you cannot afford to pay for basic needs in addition to the court fees. Your state has forms online (and guides to help you fill them out) that you can file with the court clerk handling your case.

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