Going through a divorce is never simple. Each case is unique and can come at either high or low emotional and financial cost. Thus, the ballpark rates of dissolving a marriage or civil union in Colorado can vary depending on your personal circumstances. This post should help you estimate what exactly can positively or negatively impact the final costs of your divorce.
The Average Divorce Attorney Fees in Colorado
Getting a divorce in Colorado costs $14,500 on average, according to a study conducted by Martindale-Nolo Research. High-net-worth couples, however, tend to have more expensive processes and end up paying $37,000 on average.
The average divorce attorney fee rounds up to $11,400, though top divorce lawyers in Colorado may charge above that depending on the complexity of your case. Court fees aren’t that steep, however, and constitute $230 for filling a divorce petition.
It is important to note though that under certain circumstances one party can request attorney fee payment against another. The court will consider the financial resources of both spouses and rule out how the fees should be settled if the divorce goes to trial. For instance, attorney fees can be enforced directly on one spouse if they have a significantly higher income. Or, if either of the parties behaved in a substantially “frivolous, groundless, or vexatious” manner at some point during the divorce proceedings, the court may "reward" them with the fees.
Factors Impacting Divorce Costs in Colorado
Colorado is a “no fault” state. You will not have to bear additional costs associated with proving adultery or any other legal ground for obtaining a divorce. The level of cooperation between you and your spouse will have the most effect on the final costs, along with your personal circumstances.
The fastest and cheapest way to obtain a divorce in Colorado is to file a joint petition with your spouse. This document should detail your agreement on the following matters:
- Shared property division.
- Alimony (Spousal Support).
- Child support.
- Child custody.
- Visitation rights and time for the non-custodial parent.
If your divorce is uncontested and you can agree on all of the above, it can be finalized in 3 months time with the least attorney fees involved.
Understandably, reaching a settlement with your spouse isn’t always that simple, especially if they are being unreasonable about the children. Such divorces tend to be 50% more expensive than the average figure, especially if the case goes to trial. According to the above Martindale-Nolo Research study:
- The average cost of a settled divorce with minor children is $18,300.
- The average cost of going to trial when children are involved rises to $25,400.
Some Colorado divorce attorneys can command higher hourly fees for trial representations. You should also factor in additional costs such as miscellaneous legal court fees. As a middle ground, you can opt for mediation instead – a less expensive option for coming to terms with your spouse in regards to custody.
Financial disagreements with your soon-to-be ex also ramp up the divorce costs. Alimony disputes often require involving additional experts such as financial or vocational analysts to provide evidence in your favor. Commanding high support payments also tends to escalate the conflict between you and your spouse. This, in turn, can result in extended divorce proceedings (on purpose or not). The average attorney fee in such cases rises to $16,600, and can climb higher if the proceedings drag on.
Property Division Disputes
High-net-worth couples should prepare for longer and more expensive proceedings, especially if they go to trial. The average cost of divorces with property disputes rounds up to $25,400 on average.
Two factors can explain this increase:
- The need for additional financial analysis conducted by attorneys and 3rd party experts, such as appraisers.
- The other party's uncooperative behavior or unwillingness to disclose all their assets and liabilities.
Preparing for a divorce is never easy, especially when factoring the average hourly rate of a divorce attorney. However, an experienced professional can actually save you money in the long run by helping you to reach a settlement faster and on more favorable terms. Contact us today to learn more about your options.