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How Much Does a Divorce Cost in New York? (2024)

April 23, 2024

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in New York? (2024)

The Short Answer

But, take a deep breath. The cost of divorce in New York varies wildly, from a few hundred dollars to over $100,000. It depends on many factors, like whether it’s contested or uncontested, how many assets you have, if you have kids, and more.

Why Such a Big Range?

Divorce is complex, with many moving parts. Every situation is unique. Some splits are quick and clean, while others are long, messy battles. The cost reflects that.An uncontested divorce where you agree on everything could cost just the $335 filing fee. But, if you fight over every little thing in court for years, hiring top lawyers and experts, it’ll easily hit six figures.Most divorces in New York fall somewhere in between. The average cost is around $16,000. But, that’s just an average. Your situation could be very different.

The Biggest Factors Affecting Cost

While every case is unique, some key factors drive most of the costs:

Contested vs. Uncontested

This is the biggest factor. An uncontested divorce where you agree on everything is relatively cheap, around $5,500 on average. But, a contested divorce battled out in court costs $27,000 on average.Why the huge difference? In an uncontested divorce, you just need a lawyer to handle paperwork. But, a contested divorce requires:

  • Each spouse hiring an aggressive lawyer to fight for them
  • Potentially going to trial, with massive legal fees
  • Hiring experts like forensic accountants, child psychologists, etc.
  • Endless court motions, depositions, and hearings

So, if possible, try to compromise and settle out of court. It’ll save you tens of thousands.

Assets and Income

The more assets, income, and financial complexity, the higher the costs. Divorces with significant assets like businesses, investment portfolios, and real estate require experts to properly value and divide everything. That’s expensive.A simple divorce for a couple renting an apartment with typical jobs is far cheaper than an ultra-high net worth divorce.

Child Custody and Support

If you have kids, you’ll need to figure out custody and child support. That adds a huge layer of complexity, cost, and potential for conflict. Custody battles in particular drive up fees with psychologists, home studies, and more.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Lawyer Rates

Divorce lawyers in New York City bill $340/hour on average, with top lawyers charging over $800/hour. That’s just the start – you’ll also pay for paralegals, clerks, filing fees, and other costs.The more aggressive and experienced your lawyers, the higher the cost. But, a skilled lawyer may be able to get you a better settlement, offsetting some fees.

Your and Your Spouse’s Approach

If one of you is combative, dishonest, or tries to drag things out, costs skyrocket. An amicable, transparent approach keeps costs down. Mediation and negotiation are far cheaper than litigation.

Breaking It Down: Typical Costs

To give you a clearer picture, here are some typical costs for a divorce in New York:

  • Filing fees: $335 minimum, can be higher in some counties
  • Lawyer’s retainer: $5,000-$25,000 on average
  • Lawyer’s hourly rate: $340/hour average in NYC
  • Mediation: $3,000-$10,000
  • Hiring experts like forensic accountants: $5,000-$50,000
  • Custody evaluations: $3,000-$10,000
  • Court fees if it goes to trial: $120/day

As you can see, it adds up fast, especially for a contested divorce with a lot of moving parts. But, there are ways to keep costs down.

How to Reduce Divorce Costs in NY

While divorce is never cheap, there are strategies to make it easier on your wallet:

  • Try to compromise and settle out of court. Litigation is the biggest cost-driver.
  • Use mediation to negotiate with your spouse, not an adversarial process.
  • Consider an uncontested, no-fault divorce if possible.
  • Be fully transparent about finances to avoid costly discovery battles.
  • See if you qualify for free legal assistance based on income.
  • Handle as much as you can yourself, like gathering documents.
  • Avoid an overly aggressive “scorched earth” legal strategy.

It’s a balancing act. You want a good outcome, but don’t want to go broke either. With some planning and compromise, you can keep costs reasonable.

Getting Help from a Divorce Lawyer

For most divorces in New York, you’ll want a lawyer’s help to navigate the process. They understand the law, procedures, and can advocate for your interests.But, be smart about hiring one. Don’t just go with whoever is most expensive. Look for:

  • Plenty of divorce experience, especially cases like yours
  • A practice philosophy aligned with your goals (e.g. settling vs. aggressive litigation)
  • Transparent cost estimates and billing practices
  • Good reviews from past divorce clients
  • Open communication and responsiveness

A good divorce lawyer can make the process smoother and may be able to get you a better settlement, offsetting some of their fees.

The Bottom Line

There’s no getting around it – divorce is expensive, stressful, and life-changing. In New York, costs can range from a few hundred dollars to well over $100,000.The single biggest factor is whether it’s contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce where you agree on everything averages around $5,500. But, a knock-down, drag-out court battle averages $27,000 and can easily go much higher.Other major costs drivers are assets, income, child custody disputes, and your respective approaches. The more you fight, the more it costs.While you can’t avoid divorce costs entirely, you can keep them reasonable. Be prepared, get organized, compromise where possible, and consider mediation or an uncontested process.Most importantly, hire a good divorce lawyer who understands your situation and goals. They can help you navigate it all while protecting your interests and finances.Divorce is never easy. But, with some smart planning, you can get through it without going broke.

Lawyers You Can Trust

Todd Spodek

Founding Partner

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RALPH P. FRANCHO, JR

Associate

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JEREMY FEIGENBAUM

Associate Attorney

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ELIZABETH GARVEY

Associate

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CLAIRE BANKS

Associate

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RAJESH BARUA

Of-Counsel

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CHAD LEWIN

Of-Counsel

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