Q&A: What is the Average Cost of a Divorce in USA?

Which is more expensive? Divorces or Weddings?

That really depends. For most uncontested divorces in New York where there are no children and property, it is possible to find a lawyer who would do the paperwork for under $500 dollars. Is this an average? Yes and no. When the experts talk about “averages” they are not really talking about these regular people who would typically walk into a lawyer’s office in downtown Manhattan.

Who are they referring to? I am not one hundred percent sure. But on average, the experts say that divorces in America cost roughly $15,000 –  half of what the average weddings cost in America (that figure is roughly $35,000 according to CNN.)

So, on average, American weddings are two times as expensive as divorces.

There is one big difference, though, between the cost of divorces and weddings and it is who will pick up the tab?

With weddings, it is usually the parents of the bride who pick up the lion’s share of the costs. According to a recent CNN article, the bride’s parents usually pay about 44 percent of the cost of the wedding. The couple pays about 42 percent and the groom’s parents pay about 13 percent:

“Weddings are still very rooted in tradition,” said Maxwell Cooper. “There are still parts of the wedding that are tough to break.”

On average, the bride’s parents covered 44% of the budget, while the couple paid 42% and the groom’s parents picked up 13%. Nearly half of the couples surveyed reported they went over budget.

The survey included nearly 13,000 Knot users throughout the U.S. who were married last year.

With divorce, it is a whole different story. Parents do help out in many cases to be sure, but the bulk of the costs of divorces in the $15K range is borne by the couple (and the husband usually will pay a disproportionate share of that.)

But, again, it depends so I hesitate to speak about “averages.”

Author: Marion TD Lewis

Divorce Coach Marion TD Lewis is a licensed attorney in New York and Georgia. She serves as legal counsel and international correspondent for Divorce Saloon International, Inc. As Editor in Chief of Divorce Saloon, she also writes a Q&A column on general divorce topics. Marion is the original founder of Divorce Saloon which she started in 2006 as a local NYC attorney blog. Divorce Saloon has since evolved and is the world's first Divorce Newspaper with contributions from divorce professionals around the world. contact Ms Lewis at contact@divorcesaloon.com if you are seeking a divorce coach. (Please note that Ms Lewis' advice column does not constitute legal advice and that no attorney/client relationship exists without a signed retainer between the attorney and said client.)

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