How Much Does a Divorce Cost in North Carolina in 2023?

Apr 09, 2023 | Family Law

As if the prospect of having a divorce wasn’t difficult enough, the stress of how much it costs can add another layer of anxiety for couples who want to start the process. While it can be an unsettling topic of discussion, it’s really important to figure out costs early on so that you and your parting spouse are able to select the appropriate legal representation. By working directly with a Hickory, NC, divorce lawyer, you will be favored to better understand how much the divorce could cost in total once a resolution is reached.

Filing Fees and Court Costs

The filing fee is the first expense that anyone can expect to pay in divorce. In North Carolina, this costs $225. The fee is required to officially launch the legal proceedings. There are some instances where you could be eligible to waive this fee if you cannot afford it. Consider that this is only the beginning of divorce costs, as other fees such as court fees and mediation could also come into play depending on how you and the other party advance resolution.

Attorney Fees Often the Costliest Part of a Divorce

It’s known that attorney fees can be one of the higher costs in a divorce case. If you are in a city working with a very experienced attorney, the costs will likely be higher than a newer attorney in the field serving a rural area of the state. The average hourly rate to hire a family law attorney is anywhere from $200 to $400 per hour.

You may also come across the concept of a retainer fee as you explore legal representation. This is when an attorney prefers to receive an upfront payment for their services. This price ranges based on the complexity of the service but can be anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 or more. As they work on your case, they will deduct their hourly rate from your downpayment. If they are able to solve your case without using the full funds, you will be reimbursed for the remainder.

Mediation Costs

A lot of couples attempt mediation as an alternative resolution method for divorce. This is because it has a reputation for being one of the most cost-friendly divorce solutions. It is a voluntary process where a neutral third party will step in and listen to both sides of each argument. Every topic of discussion is up for grabs in mediation, including child support and property division. Mediation prices vary, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 an hour. If you and your parting spouse can quickly agree on a separation agreement, the time saved from advancing to court will also save money coming out of your pocket.

Property Appraisal and Division

It is advised that any couples who own property together hire an appraiser to determine how much each asset is worth in value. This includes any real estate properties or vehicles. It will likely only cost you a few hundred dollars to complete the appraisals, which could be well worth the investment if it helps you to keep some prized and valuable assets.


Q: What Is the Cheapest Way to Get a Divorce?

A: The cheapest way would be to advance with a DYI or “do it yourself” divorce. You won’t avoid all fees, but you will save money on hiring an attorney. However, this does not automatically mean that you will end up with more money in your pocket at the conclusion of your divorce. Because a divorce attorney would be able to spot any scenarios of your partner taking advantage of you, you could end up receiving a much lower settlement arrangement than you would after paying for legal representation.

Q: Can You Get a Divorce in NC Without Waiting a Year?

A: All residents who want to divorce have to be separated for a year before officially filing. This means that both parties must live apart for the full year and remain in the position that they want to terminate the marriage. It is advised that during this year, both individuals should not sometimes share the same residence or engage in any form of marital relations. There is no way to bypass this legal requirement.

Q: How Much Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce?

A: Gender does not play a role in how assets are divided at the conclusion of a divorce. The division of assets is rather determined by equitable distribution. This means that any property acquired during the marriage is divided fairly rather than equally. For example, if one spouse makes a much higher salary than the other, they may end up with a larger share of the assets. However, the lower-earning spouse may receive other forms of compensation, such as alimony or child support, to maintain a similar lifestyle standard that they have grown accustomed to until they can support themselves independently.

Q: Is North Carolina a 50-50 State When It Comes to Divorce?

A: The only way that two couples proceeding through a divorce could split assets 50-50 is if there was a prenuptial agreement in place before they got married or they mutually agree to split things down the middle through an alternative dispute resolution method like mediation. If there is not any legal paperwork or consent from both parties to advance in this way, then they will be held to the equitable distribution standards set in place under state law. A fair distribution of the assets will be determined after the court assesses both individuals’ incomes, how long they were married together, and what their contributions were throughout the relationship.

Contact Helton, Cody & Associates Attorneys Today

Divorce is a very complicated legal process that only an attorney trained in North Carolina state law would be able to navigate effectively. To fill in your own knowledge gaps, connect with the skilled attorneys at Helton, Cody & Associates. For years they have helped couples split from each other while protecting their rights and assets. We look forward to learning more about how we can make this otherwise difficult process easier for you.