What sort of divorce do you want to purchase?

A. Basic: Do-It-Yourself

The minimum cost of a New Hampshire divorce is $252 ($250 if no minor children), the cost to file for divorce. If your income is lower, you may get the filing fee reduced or eliminated. This option assumes that you and your spouse have agreed on all issues and completed all the necessary paperwork. (New Hampshire divorce forms are available at no cost from the State's Judicial Branch at http://www.courts.state.nh.us/fdpp/forms/allforms.htm#divorce.)

B. Getting Some Professional Help to Settle

There are many options between do-it-yourself and litigation, with prices from $552 ($150 mediation fee per person plus the $252 filing fee), to $15,000 or more. Visit this FAQ for more information.

Mediation offered through the court system is at the low end, as each spouse pays $150 for up to 5 hours of mediation. Private mediation costs more, typically $150-$250 an hour, usually paid from joint assets or split between the divorcing parties. Refer to this FAQ for more information. Most couples who use mediation to make decisions in their divorce also each consult a lawyer for legal advice including a review of their agreement, adding about $400 to $1,000 to each party's costs. In summary, a total of $552 to $4,300. This page provides information on hiring a lawyer in this way.

If you and your spouse can't work out all issues yourself (see "Basic" above), or through court or private mediation, another option is "Collaborative Practice." See more on Collaborative here. Collaborative uses lawyers, a neutral financial professional, and a neutral coach, all trained to assist you and your spouse resolve your issues respectfully. The price varies depending on both emotions involved and the disputed issues, but could be roughly one-half (or less) of the cost of litigating the same issues.

C. Litigation: The Judge Decides

The most expensive, riskiest, and most time-consuming way to divorce is litigation: letting the judge decide the issues. Depending on the number and complexity of the issues, and each spouse's choice of lawyer makes, this could cost each spouse $5,000 or $25,000 or $50,000 or more. If either is not satisfied with the court's orders, add the cost and time of an appeal. Total cost of a litigated divorce could be $10,000 - $100,000 or more.


Posted May 7, 2015

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