Understandably, people want to know how much their divorce is likely to cost.
Unfortunately, there is no good answer to that question. First, because it depends on too many different people making too many different decisions. It depends on each of the spouses, what they want, and how good they are at compromising and making sound choices. It depends on their lawyers, what approach they take, and how good they are at solving problems instead of creating them. And it can depend on the courts, which have their own approach, rules, deadlines, and decision points in any divorce process.
All that said, how much a divorce costs depends almost as much on what process the spouses use as anything. If you use a process designed to lead to agreement, such as mediation or Collaborative divorce, as a general rule, it will cost less than if you negotiate just through hired lawyers. But a successful negotiation through hired lawyers, again generally, will cost less than if you go through court. And of course, if you go through court and decide to settle before a trial, it will cost less than if you go all the way to trial and have a judge make a decision. And if for some reason you do have to go to trial, there is always the risk that someone will file an appeal, in which case it will cost even more.
In addition, cost cannot be measured only in attorney’s fees. The cost of a divorce also includes the result, how long it took to obtain, and what emotional cost was involved in getting to resolution.
So that pretty much explains why it is impossible to predict accurately, or even satisfactorily, how much a given divorce will cost. All this said, an experienced attorney can sometimes estimate, but never guarantee, a possible range or minimum cost for a divorce. And in all cases, how much it will cost to go forward is a good question to discuss with your divorce attorney at important decision points along the way.