How Much Does Divorce Cost in Washington?

AVERAGE COST

$13,400

Average attorney fees are $10,600. Total costs for divorce in Washington typically range from $4,000 to $30,000.

Average cost of divorce in Washington depending on issues
  •  Average attorney fees are $10,600. Total costs for divorce in Washington typically range from $4,000 to $30,000.
Average cost of divorce in Washington depending on issues

We recently surveyed our Washington readers to find out about their experiences with divorce in their state. Here’s what we found out.

How Much Does Divorce Cost in Washington?

According to our survey, the average divorce in Washington costs $13,400, including $10,600 in attorneys' fees. With the average hourly rate for attorneys in Washington $250 (higher in Seattle), attorneys' fees make up the largest type of cost in divorce. Other expenses include fees for things like court filings, the cost of copying and sharing documents, and compensation for expert witnesses and consultants (like child custody evaluators, appraisers, or financial analysts).

What Can Increase the Cost of Divorce in Washington?

Spouses who have minor children or a high-net worth have higher divorce costs than the state average.

Having Minor Children

The most expensive category of divorce in Washington is one involving children. The cost of a divorce that involves child custody and/or child support issues can be about 50% more expensive than the average. According to our survey results, divorce costs an average of $20,100 in Washington when minor children are involved, including $16,900 in attorneys' fees. However, costs for divorce with children are significantly lower for spouses who are able to reach a settlement before trial than those who go to divorce court to let a judge resolve their disputes.

Having a Dispute Over Alimony

Whether or not minor children are involved, divorces in Washington that involve a dispute over alimony also cost more than the average. In alimony disputes, spouses often disagree on how much the working spouse actually makes or how much the non-working spouse should be able to earn. According to our survey results, divorce involving alimony disputes costs an average of $18,500 in Washington, including $15,400 in attorneys' fees.

Getting to a settlement or preparing for trial in these situations can be expensive because of the costs of hiring and reviewing the opinions of financial experts and vocational analysts. And of course, the more alimony a spouse requests, the more the other spouse will fight it, and the more expensive it becomes.

In Washington, the court awards alimony based on each spouse's financial resources, the standard of living established during the marriage, each spouse's physical and emotional condition, and the time and training it would take to make the spouse seeking support self-sufficient.

Having Property Division Issues

Divorces in Washington where property needs to be divided cost more than the average, especially for high-net worth couples and couples who have to go to trial on their issues rather than settle them out of court.

According to our survey results, divorce with property division issues cost $18,800 in Washington, including $15,400 in attorneys' fees.

Spouses with numerous brokerage, retirement, and savings accounts, cars, and real estate will spend more on divorce because of the financial analyses needed from attorneys, appraisers, and tax experts.

There's more to know about divorce in Washington; you may find the following websites useful.
Divorce in Washington (from Divorcenet.com)
www.divorcenet.com/states/Washington
Washington Division of Child Support
https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/division-child-support
Washington Child Support Calculator
https://fortress.wa.gov/dshs/dcs/SSGen/Home

About This Report

The data referenced above is from Martindale Nolo Research's 2015 divorce study, which analyzed survey responses from readers who had recently gone through a divorce and had researched hiring a lawyer. The names of the readers who submitted the quotes above have been changed to protect their privacy. To supplement our consumer survey results, Martindale Nolo Research interviewed experienced attorneys who specialize in divorce cases from its directory of over one million lawyers, including Arthur AbelsonDonna BaccarellaJoshua Carpenter, Patricia Powers-Simonelli, and Susan Weaver.

If you went through a divorce within the last three years, please consider taking our divorce survey. Your participation will help inform others about their situation and options before proceeding with their divorce.

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