The total cost for a divorce in Georgia with a minor child ranges from $22,000 to $23,500. An estimated cost might be higher if there is a child custody battle or child support dispute.
Defining the Cost of Contested Divorce with a Child
Filing for divorce in GA with a child, you may expect to spend anywhere from $22,000 to $40,000 in a contested case, and from about $300 to $10,000 in an uncontested one.
|Divorce Circumstances||Average Cost|
With custody and child support-related disputes
Without child-related disputes (contested)
With all disputes settled out of court (represented by lawyers)
With all disputes settled out of court (no lawyers)
In a divorce with a child involved, the best-case scenario would be to settle out of court. This does not only have financial benefits but also makes a situation less stressful for both parents and kids.
Apart from lawyers, you and your spouse will likely have to hire other experts. Additional costs to divorce in Georgia with a child may include the services of a mediator and child custody evaluator.
How Much Do Mediators Cost?
This professional will be a neutral third party who will help you and your spouse to peacefully discuss your divorce, and, potentially, resolve some of the issues before the court proceedings start.
A mediator will not make any decisions but rather advise the parties on how to solve the situation in the best way for them and their kids. Such meetings are confidential and much cheaper than those with a lawyer. The average price of a mediation service is $200 per hour.
Child Custody Evaluation Services
One of the spouses may hire an evaluator to analyze family circumstances and make a conclusion on who the kid should live with. This person will assess the family situation, check whether there was any history of abuse or neglect, and find out about the relationship of the child with both parents.
An evaluator will determine if both spouses are fit parents, and what arrangement would be best for their children. This professional may also be invited to court as an expert witness and testify in front of the judge for an additional fee. The overall service costs between $6,000 and $10,000 on average and is covered equally by both parents.
Child Custody Battle Cost
According to Georgia divorce laws, parents have equal rights for custody of their kids. When spouses cannot agree on custody arrangements and cannot settle this outside of court, they enter a custody battle.
What is the Average Cost of Custody Battle?
It will cost no less than $3,000 if the issues can be solved with the help of a mediator or spouses can agree on at least some of the aspects. With a lawyer, the costs may rise to $40,000 if the case is rather serious and there is more than 1 kid involved. It is quite difficult to predict the average cost without knowing the case details and approximating how long the custody battle will take. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with a rough estimate after a meeting or two.
What are the Factors that Affect the Price?
- Location. The bigger the city you live in, the more expensive the divorce as the prices for all services will be higher.
- Third-party services. If a mediator, lawyer, or custody evaluator is involved, you will have to cover all of theirs hourly fees.
- Miscellaneous fees. Subpoenas, discovery, and other processes common in complex cases will eat up a lot of money.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for Child Custody?
On average, lawyers charge from $12,000 to $20,000. A lot will depend on their expertise, length of the divorce process, and the complexity of your case.
Getting a divorce in Georgia, parties must cover their own legal expenses. However, if there is a considerable financial discrepancy, or wrongdoings that unnecessarily prolong the case, the judge may grant attorney fees to one of the parties.
What to Consider Before Entering a Child Custody Battle?
- Children over 14 will have a say in custody hearings. A judge will consider their decision on who to live with given that it is in their best interest.
- A judge may modify an agreement that you and your spouse have, if any. They will do so only if they believe it would be more beneficial for the kids.
- Your relationships with your children will be considered by the judge when making a decision. Both quality and quantity of time you spend together matters.
Is Georgia a Mom State?
No, and the decisions are not made based on gender. Courts prefer both parents to be involved in the upbringing of kids. Obviously, there are exceptions such as those in the abuse and abandonment cases, as the court would not subject children to danger.
Child Support Disputes Expenses
According to child support law in Georgia, the non-custodial parent must pay child support to the custodial one. If some other relatives such as grandparents are primary caregivers, then both parents must make the payments. Therefore, before getting into child support talks, it is necessary to determine what custody arrangements to put in place.
How is Child Support Calculated in Georgia?
There are specific child support guidelines in Georgia that help to calculate the fair payment amount that would help kids to maintain a decent standard of living despite the divorce of their parents. Even if a non-custodial parent is unemployed, their other income will be considered when making calculations.
Additionally, the sum might be modified to cover extra expenses such as camps and certain medical bills. To lower the amount, the paying spouse will have to show considerable evidence of their inability to pay it.
Uncontested Divorce with Children: How Much Does It Cost?
Uncontested divorce in Georgia with children will cost around:
- $400 without a lawyer
- $4,000-5,000 with an attorney.
Filing without a lawyer, spouses will only have to cover the court fees, amounting to about $230. If they are in need of help with their paperwork and also require filing instructions, they can order everything online for only $139.
Overall, the cheapest way to get a divorce with a child is to agree on all child-related issues and file for uncontested marriage dissolution. In this case, spouses will not need to hire lawyers or other experts to resolve their disputes, which will decrease the spending considerably.