Divorce is expensive. The biggest divorce cost is obviously the emotional toll. No matter how difficult a marriage has been, it is hard to end it.
The financial cost of an Arkansas divorce can also be significant, but it doesn’t have to be. There will be expenses involved, of course, but there are several factors that can make a big difference:
Some lawyers minimize conflict; other lawyers create it. That’s why it’s so important to choose your Arkansas divorce lawyer carefully. It’s really a question of the lawyer’s business model. Some lawyers take easy situations and make them difficult, long, and, you guessed it, increase your divorce cost.
Unfortunately, the other lawyer can have just as much control over the situation as your lawyer can. If your spouse hires a difficult lawyer, you can expect more conflict and more fees.
You also have a lot of control over the total divorce cost. Most Arkansas family lawyers charge by the hour, so more time = more money. If you call your lawyer every day to talk about your situation, you can expect it to cost you. That’s not because your lawyer is greedy or unsympathetic. Time spent on your case means that he or she can’t spend time on another case.
This illustrates another important thing to consider before hiring a lawyer. When you hire an Arkansas divorce attorney, you need to make sure that he or she has a communication policy. It needs to be clear how and how often you will receive updates about your case. If there’s no agreement how to communicate, you can expect there to be some confusion and, probably, some added costs.
You can also make your divorce more expensive by being difficult. Very few cases should actually require going to Court. The more you can agree on, the more money you can save.
3. The Court
Some courts are easy to deal with. Some court aren’t to deal with. If you happen to live in a county where things take longer and require more work, you’re likely to be charged more. If the lawyer has to travel a long way to go to court, then that will also make it more expensive.
4. Your facts
Some situations are just more complicated than others. If you have no kids and no property, that will make your divorce cheaper. If you have significant assets, including retirement accounts, real property, or own a business, you can expect more costs.
Children can also make a divorce more expensive in Arkansas, especially if you can’t agree on a child custody arrangement.
Speaking broadly because there are so many factors at play, this is what you might expect:
- For a truly uncontested divorce, even with kids or property, you should expect to pay somewhere between $750 and $1250 to complete the process. I know lawyers that charge less and I know some that charge much, much more, but that is a good place to start.
- If you have mostly agreed on everything but the case requires some back-and-forth, you might expect a few more hours of the lawyers time. This might add $500 or $750 to the cost of your Arkansas divorce.
- If you need to go to a temporary hearing, you should expect another $750 or $1000 so that the attorney can properly prepare. If for some reason you need to go to for a full trial, you should expect the case to cost a few more thousand dollars.
- These figures don’t factor in things like experts or private investigator fees, which might make it significantly more expensive. (Many experts are more expensive than lawyers.)
The most important thing you need to know about the costs of an Arkansas divorce is that a) they are manageable, and b) your lawyer should be completely up front with you about costs. If you think that he or she is not being completely upfront with you, you need to hire someone else.