With our free divorce cost calculator you can calculate yourself the expected legal and court costs of divorce.
Divorce incurs costs, that's clear – but how expensive will it be?? With our free divorce cost calculator, you can quickly and easily determine what a divorce will probably cost you in legal fees and court costs. By the way, the divorce cost calculator also works when it comes to the dissolution of a registered civil partnership.
To estimate the divorce costs, you only need the net income of the wife and husband and the number of dependent (minor) children. How the procedural costs of a divorce are made up in detail, you will find out further down in this article.
1. Divorce costs: what costs are incurred?
The costs of divorce proceedings are generally made up of two, or in exceptional cases three, cost factors:
- Court costs,
- Attorney's fees,
- sometimes also expert costs – for example, because an expert opinion is to determine the value of the joint house. However, this rarely happens.
2. Who pays what?
At the very beginning of the proceedings, the party filing for divorce must pay the expected court fees to the court as an advance on court costs. Half of them will be reimbursed by the other party at the end of the proceedings. Because the court costs are shared.
If both spouses have a divorce attorney, each bears the attorney's fees themselves. In the case of an amicable divorce, only one of the spouses has a lawyer, in which case the legal fees are also shared.
3. The procedural value (amount in dispute)
The court fees and the lawyer's fees for court activities (such as appearing at the divorce hearing) are fixed by law. The so-called procedural value is important for their amount. This is the value in dispute in family proceedings. This value is to a certain extent intended to capture what is at stake financially in the legal dispute. The higher the value of the proceedings, the higher the court costs and attorney's fees.
3.1. The net income determines the procedural value
In a divorce, the procedural value is based on the net income: It is equal to the husband's net income plus the wife's net income for three months.
The husband earns 2.800 Euro net, the wife 2.500 euros. The amount in dispute is therefore 15.900 Euro (2.500 Euro + 2.800 Euro = 5.300 euros x 3 = 15.900 Euro).
However, there are exceptions, special features and differences in handling. Thus, there are different views on whether ALG II is considered income. Parental allowance counts as income. Child support can be taken into account, but often it is left out.
There is also no uniform line on the question of when and how assets increase the procedural value (e.g. ownership of real estate, savings, shares, etc.).). As a rule, an allowance of 20.000 euros per spouse and 10.000 Euro per child, higher allowances are also possible. If property is taken into account, it increases the value of the proceedings by a percentage of its value. This can range from 2.5 percent (in the case of an amicable divorce) to 5 percent to 10 percent.
Even if both spouses have no or very little income, the procedural value is at least 3.000 euros. In certain cases, the judge can reduce this value even further. Also otherwise the judge has a certain leeway in the determination. The value in dispute is only bindingly determined at the end of the proceedings. For this reason, cost estimates and the divorce cost calculator can only ever give a rough guide.
4. Pension equalization
At the same time as the divorce proceedings, a procedure for the so-called pension equalization is carried out. A separate procedural value applies for this. The pension equalization is often the most complicated part of the divorce proceedings. That is why we limit ourselves to a simplified presentation.
In the case of pension equalization, the respective pension entitlements of both spouses are determined. If one of the two is better off in the process, the other can demand compensation from him: The spouse with the lower entitlement is entitled to half of the difference.
The procedural value for this part of the divorce is also determined on the basis of the net income of both spouses from three months, but amounts to 10 percent of this sum for each existing pension scheme. Every pension insurance is taken into account in the calculation, in addition to the statutory pension insurance, for example, also a company pension plan.
The husband earns 2.800 euros net, pays into the pension insurance and participates in a company pension scheme. Wife earns monthly 2.500 euros net and is only in the statutory pension scheme.
In this case, the procedural value for the pension equalization is three times 10 percent of 15.900 euros, i.e. 4.770 euros.
4.1 Waiver of pension equalization
Sometimes the pension equalization does not play a role:
- It can be excluded or limited by a marriage contract.
- If the marriage has lasted less than three years, both spouses can agree that no pension equalization should be carried out.
- In the case of a marriage of short duration, one side can also waive the equalization of benefits. In this case, however, a value of 1 applies.000 euros.
5. Collaborative proceedings: Alimony, custody, property, etc.
In addition to the actual divorce and the pension equalization, many other things usually have to be clarified in a divorce, such as:
- Questions about maintenance
- Questions of custody and access rights with regard to the children, perhaps one of the spouses is also suing for the surrender of a child
- The question of who takes over the apartment or house, what happens to the household goods and assets
- in connection with this, the question of whether there is community of gains, separation of property or community of property for the marriage
If these matters are each settled in separate proceedings, this becomes very expensive. More favorable is the so-called Verbundverfahren, in which such issues are decided together with the divorce at the family court. The individual object values are then added together.
If, on the other hand, such consequential matters are asserted outside the compound proceedings in separate proceedings, then – unlike in divorce proceedings – the losing party must bear the entire costs (d. h. the lawyer's representation costs for both sides and the court costs).
6. Divorce by mutual consent
If both spouses agree on the divorce as well as on the subsequent arrangements, they can save a lot of money. In an amicable divorce, only one of the spouses has a lawyer. The other spouse agrees to the divorce petition presented by the other party's lawyer.
In this case, the attorney's fees are divided. Matters of divorce are resolved out of court between the spouses. The family court decides only on the divorce and, if necessary, on the pension rights adjustment.
As a rule, the family courts set the procedural value 30 percent lower in the case of an amicable divorce, so that the fees are reduced.
7. Out-of-court legal services
In the case of so-called extrajudicial activities, the divorce lawyer can set the fee himself, unlike in the case of activities related to the judicial part of the divorce proceedings. Extrajudicial activity includes, for example, advice on what points need to be settled in the divorce proceedings and what the optimal outcome would be.
Payment for out-of-court advice and representation is regulated by a remuneration agreement. The client concludes this agreement with his attorney at law when the mandate is granted. The compensation agreement specifies an hourly rate and/or lump sums for out-of-court activities.
8. Legal aid and advance
If someone has little or no income and also no assets, he can not afford the divorce costs. In this case, there are two possible ways out.
- He or she can apply for legal aid from the family court through the lawyer. If this is granted free of installments, there are basically no costs for the divorce proceedings including the compound proceedings.
- If one spouse has practically no money of his or her own, but the other spouse has assets and income, then the spouse without assets can request an advance on procedural costs for the divorce proceedings from the other spouse. He has a legal claim to this, legally this is a maintenance claim. If the wealthy spouse refuses the advance, however, it must be decided in a separate proceeding.
- Procedural value: basis for determination of divorce costs. Depends primarily on net income.
- Legal fees and court costs: the value of the proceedings and statutory fees result in concrete costs.
- Out-of-court legal services: freely agreed.
- Pension equalization: mostly mandatory, own procedural value.
- Compound proceedings: Will alimony, custody, property issues, etc., be resolved?. clarified in the divorce proceedings, this saves costs
- Divorce by mutual consent: only one lawyer, reduced value of proceedings.