What is the Average Cost of a Divorce in Utah?

What is the Average Cost of a Divorce in Utah?

The average cost of an uncontested divorce, resolved by an experienced and reputed divorce attorney in Utah, works out to about $3,000, inclusive of mandatory expenses such as filing fees, district fees, and divorce education costs. However, relying on averages to compute the cost of your divorce can be a mistake because every divorce has its unique dynamics and circumstances. So, to arrive at an approximate cost of your divorce, you need to take the following factors into account:

  1. Mandatory expenses (including mandatory mediation)
  2. Divorce attorney’s experience and reputation
  3. Contested vs. uncontested divorce
  4. Complications in the case
  5. Other factors that can bump up the cost

1. Mandatory Expenses

2. Divorce Attorney’s Experience and Reputation

Depending on experience and reputation, Utah’s divorce attorneys charge between $200 and $500/ hour (on average, $250). Experienced attorneys who specialize in family law matters can resolve cases quickly and more effectively than inexperienced lawyers. Experienced attorneys are much more likely to help maximize your time with your kids, and to help protect your money during divorce.

3. Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce costs much less than a contested divorce. In Utah, an uncontested divorce, if it is handled by an experienced and reputed divorce attorney, costs about $3,000, inclusive of the mandatory expenses mentioned above. On the other hand, a contested divorce may cost anywhere between $3000 and $50,000, depending upon the complications of the case, the spouse’s desire to fight, and the lawyer’s experience and skills.

When spouses agree on issues like alimony, child custody, division of common marital property, child support, etc., they opt for an uncontested divorce. Otherwise, the case heads to the courts.

Our firm resolves 98% of divorce cases through mediation, and helps clients save on time and money, and shield their children from emotional trauma.

4. Complications in the Case

Spouses may not agree on child custody matters, division of marital property, alimony, child support, and more. Even in uncontested cases, there may be quite a bit of to-and-fro on these issues before both the spouses agree to the terms.

So, the costs depend on how far the spouses are willing to go about reaching an agreement and how quickly they can agree on such issues. The longer they take, the higher the attorney cost. Some high-conflict cases may even cost north of $50,000. On average, if the case goes to trial it will cost about $30,000 to $40,000.

5. Other Factors that Can Bump up the Cost

  • If the courts order a custody evaluation, it usually adds another $7,500 to $10,000 to the divorce cost (evaluations take 6–9 months to complete).
  • The courts may order a psychological evaluation of the parents or the child.
  • The courts may appoint a guardian ad litem lawyer for a child who wishes to live with one parent but the other parent does not agree, or if such an action is required in the best interests of the child. The guardian ad litem lawyer is required to be compensated based on a fee structure set by the courts. Usually, parents share this cost 50/50.
  • Tax and forensics professionals and/or property appraisers may need to be hired in high-conflict cases.
  • Appropriate asset appraisers may need to be hired to distribute assets such as 401(k), timeshares, stock options, and other intangible but valuable property.
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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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