Cost of Divorce in North Carolina

Posted by Josh Valentine | Jan 17, 2020

A recent article in USA Today ranked the average cost of divorce in each state. North Carolina comes in near the middle for the cost of an average divorce, with and without children. The costs of filing for divorce are not that high, generally coming to a few hundred dollars. However, the cost of divorce disputes is what drives up the cost. There are some options for divorcing couples that can reduce the expense of a separation in North Carolina. 

Average Cost of Divorce in North Carolina

The filing fee for divorce in North Carolina is currently $225 (with an additional $10.00 for filing a Resumption of Maiden Name). However, this fee can be waived for indigent filers, through a Petition to Proceed as an Indigent. 

Other fees may involve paying the Sheriff's office $30.00 for service of the summons and complaint to the defendant, or less to serve the summons by certified mail, return receipt requested. 

According to the article, the average cost of divorce without children is $13,100 (20th highest) and the average cost with children is $19,700 (21st highest). 

The “average” cost of divorce may not be the amount a divorce will cost the average couple. The cost of highly contentious and high-asset divorces may cost much more while the cost of an uncontested divorce can be very low. Together, very high-cost divorces and low-cost divorces average to the numbers above.  

The Most Expensive Divorce States 

California has the highest average cost of divorce. The average cost of divorce without children is $17,500 and with children, the average cost is $26,300. The high cost of divorce in California may be due to the higher than average cost of living and higher than average median household income. The high cost of divorce may also be a factor in California's 5th lowest level of divorced population. 

Other more expensive than average divorce states include: 

  • New York
  • Delaware
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey 
  • Texas

The Least Expensive Divorce States 

Montana has the lowest average cost of divorce. The average cost of divorce without children is $8,400 and with children, the average cost is $12,600. Other states with the lowest average cost of divorce without children include: 

  • Kentucky
  • North Dakota
  • West Virginia
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico

Reducing the Expense of a Divorce 

Resolving disputes takes time and effort. Coming to a mutual agreement on what to do after a divorce can reduce the likelihood of litigation. Unfortunately, it can be impossible for a divorcing couple to agree on every aspect of the divorce. Divorce disputes may include: 

One of the first directives of the court in a dispute over child custody and visitation is to refer the case to mediation. Mediation can help divorcing parents resolve child custody issues and avoid the need to take their issues to court. Talk to your North Carolina divorce attorneys about mediation, collaborative divorce, and alternative ways to go through a divorce without having to take your divorce through the courts.  

North Carolina Divorce Attorneys 

At Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped individuals in divorce and custody disputes protect their rights and interests. Contact us today in Shelby for a consultation.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar