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How to get a loan to cover divorce costs

6 options when you're struggling to pay your legal fees out of pocket.

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Divorces can be expensive, but you don’t necessarily need to have the funds on hand to cover the cost. Attorney payment plans, personal loans and funds from your joint bank account are just a few options that can help you cover the heavy financial burden. Plus, there are ways to cut down on divorce fees from the beginning to avoid a large bill at the end.

How can I finance a divorce?

You have several options to cover the cost of your divorce when you don’t have the money up front.

Compare financing options

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount
Credible personal loans
4.99% to 35.99%
Fair to excellent credit
$100,000
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose an offer from a selection of top online lenders.
SoFi personal loans
5.99% to 18.53%
680
$100,000
A highly-rated lender with competitive rates, high loan amounts and no fees.
LendingTree personal loans
Starting from 3.99%
Good to excellent credit
$50,000
Receive up to five loan offers in just minutes through LendingTree's simple online form.
NetCredit personal loans
34% to 155%
No minimum
$10,500
Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
Monevo personal loans
3.49% to 35.99%
None
$100,000
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter Values Min. Credit Score Min. Amount Max. Amount
Tally lines of credit
660
$2,000
$20,000
An app and line of credit designed to help you pay off and manage your credit card debt.
Upgrade personal loans
600
$1,000
$35,000
Affordable loans with two simple repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.
HSBC lines of credit
Not stated
$1,000
$25,000
Access up to $25,000 with no annual fee.
KeyBasic Credit Lines
Varies
$250
$5,000
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
Get 3% cash back on groceries on up to $6,000 annually (then 1%) with no annual fee. This is a simple and effective rewards card. Rates & fees
Chase Freedom Flex℠
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
15.99% to 22.99% variable
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $$1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
N/A
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$0
An impressive 18 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$95
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $250. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
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Should I get a divorce loan?

A divorce can be extremely disruptive to your personal finances — and throwing more debt into the mix might not be the best idea. But it could be a good option if you have a lot at stake in the proceedings. Taking out a loan can help you afford better legal representation and in some cases may even pay for itself.

If you go with a lender like SoFi, you can also access resources like free financial advice. But you’ll generally need to have a good credit score of at least 670, steady income and few personal debts to qualify. If you relied on your spouse for income, this might not be the best option unless you have a cosigner.

Pros and cons of divorce loans

Take in these benefits and drawbacks before you decide to take out a loan to pay for your divorce.

Pros

  • Hire better representation. Taking out a loan opens you up to more options for your legal team and helps you build the best possible defense for yourself.
  • Maintain your lifestyle. If your former spouse has most of your assets, a loan can help tide you over while you get back on your feet.
  • Less expensive than a credit card. Personal loans tend to come with lower rates than credit cards
  • No collateral required. Most personal loans are unsecured, meaning you don’t have to put any assets on the line to qualify.

Cons

  • Increases monthly expenses. If you’re living on an already-limited budget, a divorce loan can tighten it even more.
  • Makes it harder to get other credit. If you need a new car or a new home, taking out a personal loan can make it difficult to finance those costs.
  • Few options for bad or no credit. While some lenders like Stilt look at factors other than your credit score — like your income, spending and savings habits — generally you need a credit score of at least 670 to qualify.
  • Increases total cost of divorce. When you borrow to pay for a divorce, you’re adding interest to something that’s already expensive.

How much does a divorce cost?

The average cost of a divorce is around $15,000, according to a survey by online legal guide Nolo. This number includes court fees, attorney costs and other expenses like having your assets appraised and hiring a tax adviser.

However, how much you actually pay will vary based on several factors, such as where you live, whether your divorce is contested and if you have any children. Uncontested divorces are typically less expensive than contested divorces — you might not need to hire a lawyer or mediator. Having a child can up the bill, since you might need to pay for a child custody evaluation.

Average cost of divorce by state

StateAverage cost
Alabama$12,500
Alaska$13,100
Arizona$13,000
Arkansas$11,100
California$13,800
Colorado$14,500
Connecticut$15,500
Delaware$16,200
Florida$13,500
Georgia$14,700
Hawaii$11,700
Idaho$11,200
Illinois$13,800
Indiana$11,400
Iowa$11,700
Kansas$10,900
Kentucky$10,200
Louisiana$12,600
Maine$11,100
Maryland$14,000
Massachusetts$15,900
Michigan$12,900
Minnesota$14,200
Mississippi$11,000
Missouri$13,500
Montana$8,400
Nebraska$8,200
Nevada$13,700
New Hampshire$12,300
New Jersey$15,600
New Mexico$10,700
New York$17,100
North Carolina$13,100
North Dakota$10,400
Ohio$12,500
Oklahoma$12,500
Oregon$12,700
Pennsylvania$14,300
Rhode Island$13,200
South Carolina$12,600
South Dakota$10,900
Tennessee$12,600
Texas$15,600
Utah$13,200
Vermont$11,200
Virginia$11,500
Washington$13,400
West Virginia$10,400
Wisconsin$11,300
Wyoming$11,400
Source: Laywers.com

6 ways to cut back on divorce fees

From avoiding court as much as possible to relying on paralegals when you can, here are a few ways for you to lower your divorce bill:

  • File online. Filing online can cut down on attorney and court-appearance fees, meaning you only need to cover filing costs. However, this is usually only an option for uncontested divorces.
  • Come to an agreement on your own. An uncontested divorce means you don’t need to hire an attorney or get the courts involved in your assets. This can often reduce the cost to a few hundred dollars.
  • Spend as little time in court as possible. Appearing in court is where your attorney fees can really add up, especially if your case is delayed and you’re paying by the hour.
  • Stay away from attorney bundles. Some attorneys offer divorce packages that include multiple services, which you may or may not end up using. Hire an attorney for individual services instead to avoid wasting your money.
  • Rely on paralegals when you can. Paralegals can help you with basic legal advice and generally cost less than a divorce lawyer.
  • Only go for mediation if you’re both serious about it. Mediation might keep you out of court, but it isn’t free. And if you can’t agree on things, you’ll have to repeat the process.

Bottom line

Divorce might not be as expensive as marriage, but it isn’t cheap. If you and your spouse don’t have $15,000 each up front, using a payment plan or taking out a personal loan could make it easier to shoulder the cost.

You can learn more about how borrowing works by checking out our guide to personal loans.

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