California most expensive state in U.S. to get a divorce

California most expensive state in U.S. to get a divorce

There’s no doubt that most people go into matrimony, holy or otherwise, with every intention of it lasting through “richer and poorer,” “sickness and health” and “’til death do we part.”  

It’s also true that there’s an unlimited number of reasons, none of which there is time to discuss here, that drive a wedge between married partners and result in divorce.  

For those in California who are considering divorce, it might come as yet another blow to learn that the Golden State ranks as the most expensive place in the United States to dissolve a marriage at an average cost of $10,159, according to a recent analysis. 

In order to find the most and least expensive states to get a divorce in 2023, Forbes Advisor considered the cost of divorce filing fees, the average cost of a lawyer, the cost of living and the percentage of household income it takes to pay for a divorce across the country.  

California most expensive state in U.S. to get divorced
The Top 10 Most Expensive States to Get a Divorce. (Forbes Advisor)

According to the analysis, the top 10 most expensive states to get a divorce are also those with the highest cost of living where residents pay more for nearly everything, including the cost of a legal breakup.  

While the average cost of divorce in the U.S. is $7,567, with the average American spending 7% of their annual income to resolve a divorce, Californians can expect to pay just over 8% of their annual household income to get out of a marriage.  

This is due in part to the cost of filing for divorce, which comes in at $435.00 and the average hourly rate of lawyers in the state, which comes in at nearly $85.00 per hour.  

Of course, a long, difficult and drawn-out contested divorce can run thousands higher in the Golden State than the average cost of $10,159.  

New York, Alaska and Hawaii, all of which have a high cost of living, are also in the top 10 most expensive states to get a divorce.  

“Anyone living in these 10 states may want to consider making a prenuptial agreement before getting married or taking other cost-saving precautions, just in case the marriage ends in a divorce,” according to Forbes Advisor.  

California most expensive state in U.S. to get divorced
The Top 10 Least Expensive States to Get a Divorce. (Forbes Advisor)

The least expensive states to legally dissolve a marriage in are dominated in the nation’s breadbasket and southern states with Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa being the top three cheapest.

A more detailed explanation of how Forbes Advisor devised its state rankings can be found here.

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