How Much Does Divorce Cost in Pennsylvania?

AVERAGE COST

$14,300

Average attorney fees were $11,300. Total costs for divorce in Pennsylvania typically range from $4,500 to $31,000.

Average cost of divorce in Pennsylvania depending on issues
  •  Average attorney fees were $11,300. Total costs for divorce in Pennsylvania typically range from $4,500 to $31,000.
Average cost of divorce in Pennsylvania depending on issues

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

How Much Does Divorce Cost in Pennsylvania?

According to our survey, the average divorce in Pennsylvania costs $14,300, including $11,300 in attorneys' fees. Attorneys' fees are a significant chunk of the cost of divorce because the average hourly rate for attorneys in Pennsylvania is $270. Your attorney's hourly rate—plus the rate of any paralegals and other firm staff—factored with the total time spent on your divorce case will determine the amount of attorney’s fees you'll pay. 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 Pennsylvania?

Spouses who have minor children or a high-net worth have higher divorce costs than the state average. In addition, if you file for a divorce in Pennsylvania based on fault, such as adultery, cruelty, or abandonment, the cost of your divorce is likely to be higher than the average.

Having Minor Children

The most expensive category of divorce in Pennsylvania 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 cost $21,500 in Pennsylvania when minor children were involved, including $18,200 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 Pennsylvania 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 cost an average of $19,800 in Pennsylvania, including $16,500 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.

Having Property Division Issues

Divorces in Pennsylvania where property needs to be divided costs 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 $20,200 in Pennsylvania, including $16,500 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 Pennsylvania; you may find the following websites useful.
Divorce in Pennsylvania (from Divorcenet.com)
www.divorcenet.com/states/pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Child Support Program
https://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/csws/
Pennsylvania Child Support Calculator
https://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/csws/

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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