If your marriage is ending, you probably have a lot of questions on your mind about the impending divorce. Chief among them could be related to the cost of getting a divorce in St. Louis.
As experienced St. Louis divorce mediation attorneys, we can tell you that the total cost of your divorce will depend on several factors, including:
- The nature of the case, i.e. will it be amicable or combative?
- The involvement of children
- The division of property and debt
- Alimony considerations
- The length of the case
In Missouri, the cost of a divorce depends greatly on if it is contested or uncontested. Contested divorces are typically more expensive as the issues involved are usually complex and it can take a long time to get both the spouses to agree to resolve matters. In an uncontested divorce, however, both spouses agree on resolving issues peacefully, removing the need for negotiation. The case, therefore, settles speedily and costs less.
The cheapest way to get a divorce is by representing yourself, also known as “prose.” However, this can prove to be extremely costly if you make a mistake and then hire a lawyer to go to court and resolve the matter. This will not only extend the timeline considerably but also necessitate a hearing to finalize the case.
What Costs Are Involved in a St. Louis Divorce Case?
One of the best decisions you will make in your divorce case is hiring an able attorney. While attorney services come for a fee, they are well worth it. These fees vary greatly, depending on the unique particulars of the dispute and the length of the representation.
When you hire an experienced St. Louis divorce mediation attorney, you will be paying for two key things: lawyer fees and filing fees. You may incur certain other costs as well, depending on your specific circumstances.
a. Lawyer Fees
Your lawyer fees include payment for several legal services such as research, proper documentation and paperwork, creating and maintaining records, filing papers in the court, and legal guidance on court matters. The fee amount will, therefore, be determined by the complexity and the nature of the divorce, and the payment plan/structure of your lawyer.
b. Filing Fees
The filing fees cover the costs of the court’s operations. This includes the time the court spends reviewing and processing your papers. You will have to pay this fee irrespective of the type of divorce you opt for. It can cost up to $225 in some counties in Missouri.
In case you cannot afford the filing fee, you can fill out an economic hardship application, or the In Forma Pauperis. If you meet the necessary qualifications and the judge approves your application after studying your financial details, your court filing fees will be waived.
c. Other costs
These costs can vary depending on case to case. They usually include the following:
- Petition delivery or Sheriff fee (usually $25)
- Notary fee (between $2 and $10)
- Divorce documents
- Asset/Property appraisal
- Child/Family counseling
- Financial accountant for asset division
- Moving costs
We all know that all divorce cases are different. In a contested divorce, the court makes important decisions for the conflicting parties. Yet, it can be more emotionally challenging and expensive for the parties involved compared to an uncontested divorce. This factor can make a huge difference between an affordable and a costly divorce. The final cost of your divorce will depend on whether or not you and your spouse can agree upon crucial matters, as well as the complexity of the case.
How You Can Reduce Your Divorce Costs
To successfully complete the divorce process and part ways from your spouse in an affordable manner, you can:
Come to an agreement with your spouse about resolving the issues amicably to avoid paying the high fees of a contested divorce.
Provide your lawyer with all the information they will need to protect your interests. If you hide or falsify information, they will have to spend more time gathering the right information, prolonging the length of your case.
Prefer an experienced St. Louis divorce mediation attorney over a novice lawyer. Well-practiced divorce lawyers can draw on their past experiences to handle your case complexities efficiently without going wrong or repeating procedures.
Going through a divorce is rarely easy. Having an experienced St. Louis divorce mediation attorney by your side rather than going it alone can help ease the mental and physical stress. While seasoned lawyers attract higher fees compared to rookies, they also know how to steer the case to bring you positive outcomes. Of course, there are ways to minimize your divorce costs, especially in the case of an uncontested divorce. At the end of the day, you should do what is most suitable for your case and upholds your best interests.
Reach out to Our Empathetic St. Louis Divorce Mediation Attorneys
The decisions you make during your divorce proceedings will have a lasting impact on the rest of your life. Having the right team of lawyers supporting your cause can make a huge difference. Don’t compromise on the outcome of your divorce just because you’re apprehensive about the costs. At the J. Rench Law Firm LLC, we believe that all our clients deserve quality representation. Discuss your unique case facts with the team of experienced St. Louis divorce mediation attorneys on (314) 725-4000. You can also contact us online.