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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.

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

Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Loan Amount
BHG personal loans
Varies
Accepts fair credit
$20,000 – $200,000
Best Egg personal loans
5.99% to 29.99%
600
$2,000 – $50,000
A prime online lending platform with multiple repayment methods.
SoFi personal loans
5.99% to 19.63%
680
$5,000 – $100,000
A highly-rated lender with competitive rates, high loan amounts and no fees.
Credible personal loans
2.49% to 35.99%
Fair to excellent credit
$1,000 – $100,000
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose an offer from a selection of top online lenders.
Monevo personal loans
3.49% to 35.99%
None
$500 – $100,000
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
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Name Product Filter Values Min. Credit Score Min. Amount Max. Amount
Upgrade personal loans
600
$1,000
$50,000
Affordable loans with two simple repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Purchase APR Balance transfer APR Annual fee Filter values
Citi Simplicity® Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$0
With an intro APR of 18 months, this card has one of the longest balance transfer offers on the market. Plus, no late fees and no annual fee.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)
$0

Best of Finder 2021

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.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
A new cashback card that automatically awards 5% to your highest eligible spending category each billing cycle, on up to $500 (then 1%).
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
N/A
$0
Earn up to $250. You'll get 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first six months for up to $150 back, and $100 after you spend $2,000 in the first six months. This is a higher-than-average welcome offer for a card with no annual fee. Terms apply, see rates & fees
TD Double Up℠ Credit Card
14.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable
0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 14.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% variable)
$0
Earn up to 2% cash back. 1% cash back on purchases plus 1% when you redeem into an eligible TD Bank Deposit Account.Available in: CT, DC, DE, FL, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT
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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

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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