Updated: Mar 18, 2019
It is difficult for an attorney to predict how much fees will be at the outset of the divorce. Clients should know that the amount of work will depend on various factors, including how agreeable the other party is, how many issues there are in dispute (child custody, alimony, child support, property division, debt division, business valuation and division, inter-spousal torts). On the extreme low end of the spectrum would be an uncontested divorce with no property, no debt, no children, etc. which an attorney may complete for about $800. Contested divorced that involve multiple issues can range from $5,000 to $100,000 and more if the parties are very wealth with lots of matters for the court to deal with.
Court filing fees
Depending on whether you have a contested or uncontested divorce, your initial filing fees will be more or less, respectively. Uncontested divorce in Las Vegas is much cheaper and quicker. Contested divorces have higher fees and many more court filings. Learn more about these two types of divorce in Nevada. The filing fees will likely range from $270 to $600.
Service of Process
If you file a contested divorce, then you will have to have your soon to be ex personally served. While you could get someone you know to serve for free, this could end up in more court costs if your spouse claims they were not served. It is better to have a professional process server who knows the rules and law and who is more likely to be believed by the judge to serve the process. Process serving can range from $50 to a few hundred dollars depending on where your spouse is and how many times the professional process server had to attempt service.
You may have to try to locate your spouse and pay a private investigator for backgrounds checks. This will likely cost a few hundred dollars. If you need your ex to be watched for some reason, this can get very costly. Private investigators will probably run between $200 to $20,000 depending on what you need them for and how long you need them.
Division of Property
To divide property, attorneys fees will add up if there is a dispute. Consider whether the kitchen utensils are worth the hundreds of dollars in legal fees. Some property may be valuable and require an appraisal by a professionals. Experts can run several hundred to several thousand dollars and will likely have to testify at trial. Another cost of dividing property is obviously that the property will likely be gone from one spouse at some point. If the property is sold, it may be sold for far less than the utility it served the parties. These are hidden cost considerations too.
Division of Debt
It makes little sense adding more debt by disputing debt. In Nevada, like property division, debt division, if incurred during the marriage, will probably be cut in half and each party will be responsible for their share. However, the court may consider some debt to be the sole responsible of one party. If the debt is significant, it may be worth a few thousand in attorneys fees to clear up who is responsible for it.
Parents may spend more money fighting child support than they would have to pay in a year on actual child support. This fighting approach is selfish and frowned upon by judges and reasonable people in general. Child Support may be a cost of divorce. Whereas before you did not have to dole out a dollar amount to your spouse for your child, following the divorce you may. The amount will depend on income and number of children. You can learn more on the Nevada calculation of child support.
Like child support, following the divorce you may have to pay hundreds, and maybe thousands, to your ex.
You may need to seek counseling which can run up your bill during or following a divorce. You may be ordered to go to counseling because the court thinks you need it based on your behavior or you may feel you need it based on your emotions as a result of a very traumatic life experience. Some counselors charge $100 an hour and up.
If the court feels that more investigation is necessary than what the parties can do on their own to prove issues in their case, the court may order an expert to work on the case, perhaps to interview the children or to asset the value of property. These evaluators will charge hundred and maybe thousands of dollars for their services.
To prove your case, or parts of your case, you may have to hire an expert witness to convince the judge that your claim is true. You may need a valuation expert for your business or real estate, you may need child experts to discuss the best interests of the children, you may need forensic experts to testify about the authenticity of some of your evidence or to prove the other side's evidence is fake. Experts charge hundreds of dollars per hour for their services and sometimes more to testify at trial.
Traveling can be the result of a few things. For instance, to go to court and to have your witnesses and attorneys go to court for you, you may have to pay for their travel expenses. You may have to pay for your own travel expenses. Also, following the divorce, if you have children, you will likely do more driving than ever before because you will have to pick up and drop off the children and child exchanges. If you and the other parent are willing to live near each other to reduce this costly financial stressor, you may be able to reduce it significantly.
All Expenses Doubled
Obviously, when you divorce, you will not be splitting certain fixed costs with your spouse anymore. instead of splitting the rent or house payment with your spouse, you will have to pay for our own. No more showers together, no shared entertainment using electricity, etc. When you budget for your live after divorce, which is smart if you have to consider alimony, consider these normal expenses.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anthony M. Wright, Esq. has been a domestic relations attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada since 2005. His practice primarily has focused on all incidents of Las Vegas Divorce and Las Vegas child custody including all the municipalities around Las Vegas.