The Real Cost of a Divorce

By Carla Fried - 2013-11-25T13:43:42Z

Photograph by Regis Martin/Getty Images

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Paying the Lawyers

The cost of legal representation for a divorce is a lot like the cost of a car: It depends on many variables. Joseph Cordell, founder of the law firm Cordell & Cordell, which specializes in representing men in divorce cases, says a ballpark estimate for a fairly straightforward, noncontentious situation where both parties have separate counsel is unlikely to cost less than $5,000 per person. If child custody is a factor, he says, each party should expect to spend more than $10,000. If there’s a business that needs to be factored into the split, “it would be unlikely to get it done for less than $20,000,” Cordell estimates.