As if splitting up from your spouse isn't already stressful enough, some Americans have to pay more than $400 to file for divorce, purely because of where they live. From least to most expensive filing fees, some people pay four times as much as others to initiate divorce proceedings.
Of course, that's only the beginning of the bills once you start dividing assets, paying legal fees and ponying up for other divorce-related expenses. Since finances are a frequent contributor to marital difficulties (sometimes the ultimate breaking point), it's a bit ironic that extricating yourself from a relationship plagued by money problems can cost so much. That shouldn't be a reason not to move forward with the split, but you should do everything you can to make sure divorce doesn't trash your credit.
States Where It Costs the Most to File for Divorce
There are also several ways you can rank the divorce experience by state — how long it takes to process the divorce, how easy it is to legally end the marriage and whether or not the state enforces community or equitable division of property — but when it comes to upfront expenses, 10 states charge people more than $300 to merely file for divorce. Here they are, in ascending order, according to comparison site FindTheBest.com:
10. Tennessee, $302
9. Utah, $310
8. Pennsylvania, $317
7. Arizona, $321
6. Louisiana, $324
5. New York, $335
4. Illinois, $337
3. California, $395
2. Minnesota, $402
1. Florida, $409
On the other end of the spectrum, it costs only $52 to file for divorce in Mississippi, $70 in Wyoming and $80 in the District of Columbia. There's not much of a cost pattern among states' median incomes or geographic locations.
Whether financial problems contributed to your split or not, pay close attention to your bank accounts and credit standing throughout the process. It can sometimes take a while to untangle shared finances, and it's in your best interest to protect your credit so you're not trying to start over with a credit score lower than when you were married. You should review your free annual credit reports (here's how to get yours), and you can also track changes to your credit by reviewing your credit scores, which you can get for free through Credit.com.
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