California Ranks No. 1 as the Worst State in America to Get a Low-Cost Divorce

With the highest filing fee in the nation and a minimum processing time of six months, the Golden State is America's most expensive state to file for divorce

Feb 03, 2016, 07:15 ET from GOBankingRates

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Although many couples are looking forward to celebrating Valentine's Day this month, the beginning of the year also tends to be a popular time for Americans to file for divorce. What each couple pays for a divorce, however, will also depend on where they live because divorce laws vary from state to state, and people who live in states with lower fees and shorter divorce timelines pay much less than those who don't.

To find the states where it's easiest to keep divorce costs low, leading personal finance website GOBankingRates.com used the following criteria to generate rankings for all 50 states and the District of Columbia:

  • Court fee to file a divorce
  • Average attorney hourly rate
  • Minimum processing time for a divorce, once filed
  • Residency requirements to file

From best to worst for getting a low-cost divorce, here is how each state ranks:

1

Wyoming

18

District of Columbia

35

Ohio

2

North Dakota

19

Delaware

36

Massachusetts

3

South Dakota

20

Arizona

37

Oregon

4

Maine

21

New Mexico

38

Maryland

5

Mississippi

22

Indiana

39

Colorado

6

Alaska

23

Washington

40

Nebraska

7

Montana

24

Wisconsin

41

Vermont

8

Iowa

25

Alabama

42

Texas

9

Missouri

26

West Virginia

43

New York

10

Kentucky

27

South Carolina

44

New Hampshire

11

Virginia

28

Rhode Island

45

Minnesota

12

North Carolina

29

Louisiana

46

Illinois

13

Idaho

30

Tennessee

47

Pennsylvania

14

Kansas

31

Utah

48

Florida

15

Arkansas

32

Georgia

49

Connecticut

16

Michigan

33

Nevada

50

New Jersey

17

Oklahoma

34

Hawaii

51

California

"Divorce laws will vary greatly from state to state," said Elyssa Kirkham, the GOBankingRates finance writer on the study. "Some states will require a separation period or have a lengthy waiting period before a divorce can be finalized, while others will have fewer requirements and make the process straightforward."

"The range of costs to file for divorce is a $365 difference from the state with the cheapest fee to the most expensive," she said. "Divorcees in states with the highest attorney rates will pay double the lawyer fees than residents in cheaper states will face."

Additional Insights:

  • Connecticut and Illinois tie for the highest average attorney fee at $417.
  • In addition to New Jersey's divorce costs being some of the highest in the nation, the state also has one of the lengthiest processing times of at least 12 months.
  • North Dakota has the lowest average attorney fee in the U.S. at only $162.

To see full details on the study, visit:
http://www.gobankingrates.com/personal-finance/best-worst-states-low-cost-divorce/ 

Methodology: These findings are the result of a GOBankingRates study of divorce fees and conditions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The study used four criteria to generate rankings for all 50 states and the District based on factors contributing to a low-cost divorce: (1) court fee to file a divorce, collected from local court sites and online fee schedules; (2) average attorney hourly rates as reported in the U.S. Consumer Law Attorney Fee Survey Report 2010-2011 by Ronald L. Burdge; and (3) minimum processing time for a divorce, once filed, and (4) residency requirements to file, both as reported by InsideGov.com. GOBankingRates scored states on each factor, favoring those with lower costs and shorter time requirements. These scores were combined to generate a final ranking, with court fees and attorney rates weighted more heavily than processing time minimums and residency requirements.

About GOBankingRates

GOBankingRates.com is a leading portal for personal finance and consumer banking information, offering visitors the latest on everything from finding a good interest rate to strategies for saving money, investing for retirement and getting a loan. Its editors are regularly featured on top-tier media outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Business Insider, Daily Finance, Huffington Post and more. It specializes in connecting consumers with the best financial institutions and banking products nationwide.

Contact:

Connie Lundegard, Media Relations
GOBankingRates.com
conniel@gobankingrates.com  
310-297-9233 x112

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SOURCE GOBankingRates



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