How Much Does a Divorce Cost in North Carolina?

Stacks of coins on the table with the inscription "cost" above them

The cost of a divorce in North Carolina can vary depending on several factors, including attorney fees, court fees, and the complexity of the case. According to a survey conducted by, the average cost of a divorce in North Carolina ranges from $8,000 to $12,000.

What Factors Influence the Price of Divorce in North Carolina?

While North Carolina is not the most expensive state for divorce, the marriage termination costs can be very high and reach $10,000 and more, depending on individual case specifics. Most often, contested divorces require much more financial resources than uncontested ones.

Involvement of minor children, type of divorce – with or without a lawyer, and the presence of joint property and assets also affect the final cost.

Marital Assets and Case Complexity

couple dividing house during a divorce
Couple dividing property during divorce

In North Carolina, marital property and assets are divided according to the equitable distribution principle, which is not always 50/50. Distributing assets between spouses can be a complicated process as each party may argue that they deserve more than 50%, and the judge should then decide on what is considered equitable in such a case. The more assets spouses have, the more expensive a divorce is likely to be. The marital property to divide usually includes:

  • Real estate objects
  • Cars and vehicles
  • Family and joint businesses
  • Pension and investment accounts
  • Works of art and jewelry.

If you have many assets to distribute and disagree with your partner, you will likely need to involve third-party experts, such as property evaluators, and attend several court hearings, leading to additional expenses.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce means that spouses cannot agree on one or several following issues:

  • Custody of children
  • Visitation schedule
  • Alimony payments
  • Assets division, etc.

Disagreements between spouses typically necessitate legal representation or mediation services, and they are usually paid for based on hourly rates.

Legal Assistance 

Legal assistance in filing a divorce in the NC
Hiring a lawyer for the divorce process may lead to significant expenses

Legal assistance is often required during a divorce, especially a contested one, and usually comes at a high cost. Lawyers typically charge hourly rates, so the more issues to resolve, the more time a lawyer should spend on the divorce case, and the higher the overall price for their services is.

When it comes to complicated contested divorces, hiring separate lawyers to fight for spouses’ rights in court can lead to significant expenses reaching several thousand dollars and more for each party.

Besides, spouses may need to involve mediators, child custody experts, property evaluators, etc.

The Average Cost of Divorce in North Carolina

The average cost of divorce in North Carolina is from $500 to $1,000 for uncontested cases and from $8,000 to $20,000 or more for contested ones. This difference is explained by the high price of legal services required in complex divorce situations.

Infographic on Contested VS Uncontested Divorce
Comparing uncontested vs contested divorce

1. Uncontested Divorce Cost

Usually, the costs of uncontested divorces range from $500 to $1,000. If spouses have no children and joint property or are able to reach an agreement on child-related matters and asset division on their own, they can proceed without a lawyer, which will save a lot of money.

The price will also depend on whether spouses complete the paperwork on their own or ask a lawyer or online services to prepare it.

In general, the cost of an uncontested divorce consists of the following expenses:

  • Preparation of divorce forms online – close to $140.
  • Petition filing fees
  • Hiring a sheriff to serve a spouse
  • Changing the surname to a maiden name if necessary.

2. Cost of Getting a Divorce in NC with a Lawyer

The cost of a dissolution involving lawyers in North Carolina starts at $5,000 and can reach more than $20,000 in the most difficult cases. The overall divorce expenses will include the NC divorce filing fee, other court fees such as making copies and serving your spouse, and attorney’s costs.

The average cost of a divorce lawyer in North Carolina is between $250 and $500 or more per hour. The prices differ depending on the following:

  • Lawyer’s location – costs are higher in big cities
  • Experience and expertise – the number of cases completed successfully and years of practice in the field
  • The number and complexity of contested issues a lawyer will need to deal with.
check eligibility for divorce

How Much Are Divorce Filing Fees in North Carolina?

How much it costs to file for divorce in NC may depend on the county where you file, but it is typically around $225.The other court fees that impact the cost of divorce in NC are:

  • Payment for making copies of forms
  • Sheriff’s service fee – $30
  • Serving the defendant via certified mail – $7
  • Fee for changing the maiden name – $10.

Spouses that cannot afford to pay court filing fees can submit a Fee Waiver, proving their financial hardship.

The Bottom Line

The cost of a divorce in North Carolina consists of court filing fees and additional expenses for services such as:

  • mediation,
  • legal representation in court,
  • help with paperwork,
  • involvement of other experts such as property evaluators, etc.

The cost of uncontested cases starts at around $500, while contested divorces are more expensive and typically cost $5,000 and much more.

If you want to save time and money during a divorce, the best solution is to turn your contested case into an uncontested one. This way, you can manage your divorce without a lawyer.

If completing divorce forms is an issue for you, our online divorce service can help you with your documents for an uncontested low-cost divorce in North Carolina. For a reasonable set fee, you will receive the necessary forms and instructions on how to file them, which will allow you to simplify your divorce process and make it less expensive.