Most Americans mistakenly believe that divorce will not cost much – even when both spouses are of limited means. But that is not the case. In the United States, a divorce will usually cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $15, 000. Sound crazy? It sounded that way to 27-year-old Jorden Barcus of Clovis, New Mexico, who expected her uncontested divorce to dissolve their marriage quickly, painlessly, and without too much financial strain.
And why shouldn’t that have been the case?
After all, she and her husband had only been married for about eight months, neither of them were loaded with cash, and they were both young and free from the constraint of children. The only question mark was their adopted dog.
Jorden describes her short marriage as an example of personal blunder. The period of romance was short, and the path to marriage was almost as quick as the subsequent path to divorce. She and her husband had a difficult time communicating, a reality that eventually led to Jorden’s June 2014 request for a divorce.
With so short a relationship and barely anything holding the two together, it seemed obvious to Jorden that the two would file for an “uncontested divorce, ” or one in which both parties are able to agree on divorce arrangements without a lawyer or mediator. But the pair lived in Georgia, where the law is explicit: spouses cannot have shared finances in order to file for an uncontested divorce. Even though she and her husband could agree on terms, the law wouldn’t let them do it the easy way without going the extra mile beforehand.
Jorden’s new car was one of those shared finances. The car was in her husband’s name. In order to refinance, she had to first pay off her spouse’s original loan before she could apply for her own. Overall, refinancing cost her $6, 480. Without a shared policy, car insurance would skyrocket as well. Jorden was also forced to take out a loan for six grand to pay off another loan she had cosigned for her husband, who had wanted to purchase a new truck.
Even separating their joint cell carrier plan would increase costs.
Filing for any other type of divorce requires spouses to separate for a period of no fewer than six months. Jorden says she spent well over $3, 000 just to move out and find a new place. Anyone who’s had to move on their own knows firsthand how difficult a task it can be on a tight budget.
After all these expenses were incurred, the two could finally file for an uncontested divorce – after they paid the actual cost of filing in Georgia, which was around $225.
Including the therapy Jorden needed once the divorce was complete, she spent $17, 625.
Still think your divorce will be cheap?