Divorce Filing Fees in Maryland: Can You Afford to Break Up?

Find Out If You Are Eligible For Maryland's Fee Waiver With Our Calculator

Income Eligibility Calculator

Does the thought of paying $13,500 to sign divorce papers make you shudder? If you’re thinking about getting a divorce in Maryland, you’ve likely wondered about the costs and the time it takes. Divorce filing fees in Maryland can be overwhelming, not just emotionally but financially as well. The costs can soar up to $13,500, and the process can stretch over 12 months.

What if I said choosing a no-fault, uncontested divorce could save you money and time? You could wrap up your divorce in roughly two to three months. It sounds better, doesn’t it? On the other hand, a fault-based divorce means more expenses and time because it involves proving your spouse’s wrongdoing.

Since 2018, Maryland’s laws changed to make mutual consent divorces quicker, even for parents. This could save you from the financial and emotional stress of a traditional divorce. Want to know more about divorce filing fees in Maryland and how to save? Let’s get into the details!

Key Takeaways

  • The average cost of a divorce in Maryland can be up to $13,5001 .
  • The divorce process typically takes about 12 months from filing to judgment1 .
  • No-fault, uncontested divorces can be settled in approximately two to three months1 .
  • The 2018 law update allows mutual consent divorces even with children involved1 .
  • Fault-based divorces can be more expensive and take longer due to the need to prove misconduct2.

Understanding Divorce Filing Fees

Getting divorced is tough not just emotionally, but also financially. You have to deal with court fees and other costs. People often wonder, “What are filing fees in Maryland, and why must I pay them?” Let’s delve into that.

What Are Filing Fees?

Filing fees are the costs you pay the court to process your legal papers. They form part of the legal costs in a divorce.

These fees help cover the court’s operating costs. They make sure your divorce doesn’t get lost in the system. In Maryland, expect to pay between $165 to $215 for filing, depending on your case34.

Why Do You Have to Pay Them?

You may ask, “Why do I need to pay my hard-earned money for this?” The answer is straightforward yet frustrating. Legal matters, like divorces, cost the judiciary money to process. The fees you pay help keep the system working.

This money helps ensure justice is served effectively. And if you’ve had to deal with red tape, you know every bit helps.

Breaking Down the Cost of Divorce in Maryland

When looking at divorce in Maryland, knowing the costs involved is key. The average price is usually around $11,000, which is less than the U.S. average of $15,000 to $20,0004. The final cost, though, can change due to different factors.

Average Cost

Divorces where both sides agree on everything tend to cost less. This is because there aren’t any long court fights4. In Maryland, the filing fee is about $165, but this can vary5. For those hiring lawyers, prices go up since their rates are usually $280 an hour4.
Here’s a quick cost breakdown:45

Expense TypeCost
Filing Fee (without attorney)$165
Filing Fee (with attorney)$185
Attorney Hourly Rate$280/hr
Contested Divorce Trial$15,000 – $20,000

Factors Affecting the Cost

Different things can change how much a divorce costs. Issues like contested divorces and custody fights can make the price jump to $20,0004. For divorces with blame, proving wrong actions can increase legal fees, especially for alimony4. Also, other charges include a $100 fee for lawyers from other states to appear in court and $5 for certification copies plus $0.50 per page5. Knowing these factors can help manage costs and avoid surprises.

How to File for Divorce in Maryland

Filing for divorce in Maryland can seem tough, but it’s manageable with the right steps. Here’s a brief overview of the process to start you off properly.

Steps to Filing

Decide what kind of divorce you’re seeking. Maryland offers three reasons for divorce: Mutual consent, 6-month separation, and Irreconcilable Differences6. With your choice made, it’s time to file the required divorce papers. You’ll need to submit the Complaint for Absolute Divorce, Civil Domestic Case Information Report, Parenting Plan, and depending on your income, Financial Statements7.

Next, check with the court about the fees for filing. Can’t afford them? Fill out a Form to Waive Prepaying Costs. Make sure you make copies of all files for yourself and give them to your spouse properly7. The documents must be served within 60 days after the summons7. The time to respond to a divorce varies: 30 days within Maryland, 60 days in another state, and 90 days if abroad6.

Required Documentation

Gathering the right paperwork is key to a smooth divorce process. You’ll need a Marital Settlement Agreement for mutual consent divorces and a Joint Statement about Marital Property7. Organize your financial records, property details, and child support papers. If kids are involved, work out a Parenting Plan7.

Have your Division of Vital Record’s Report of Absolute Divorce or Annulment ready7. And, if you’re considering alimony, know the types available in Maryland: Pendente lite, Rehabilitative, and Indefinite alimony6. Remember, you have 18 months post-divorce to request a name change back to your maiden name, if desired6.

In complex cases, like those with disputes over money or property, get a lawyer. This is also true for disagreements over child custody or supporting a needy adult child7. Yet, for simple, uncontested divorces, you might handle it alone by carefully following these steps.

No-Fault vs. Fault Divorce: Cost Implications

Getting a divorce brings emotional and financial ups and downs. It’s key to grasp the costs involved to keep your head above water. We’ll explore the costs of no-fault and fault divorces in Maryland.

No-Fault Divorce Basics

Want to part ways with less fuss? No-fault divorce in Maryland is your best bet. It usually means lower lawyer bills because there are fewer legal hoops. You don’t have to prove your spouse did something wrong, leading to less spent money. In Maryland, no-fault divorces can cost between $200-$300. That’s affordable compared to the hefty fees of a contested divorce8. Opting for an uncontested divorce can cut down your expenses significantly9.

Fault-Based Divorce Basics

If your spouse’s mistakes are pushing you towards divorce, a fault-based split might seem right. But beware, proving wrongdoing like unfaithfulness or abuse can make your divorce drag on and cost more. These divorces rack up more in legal fees, usually $250-$350 per hour in Maryland8. And fault divorces usually hit the pocket harder than no-fault ones9. At their most expensive, these trials can cost around $20,0009. The thought alone is tough on the wallet.

Here’s a quick cost comparison:

Divorce TypeAverage CostComplexityTime Frame
No-Fault Divorce$200-$3008MinimalQuick
Fault-Based Divorce$20,0009HighProlonged

The cost of divorce in Maryland can hit hard based on your choice. A no-fault divorce in Maryland is simpler and can save you money and stress. Meanwhile, a fault-based divorce, with its need for proof and battles, can make expenses skyrocket. Think it over carefully.

Divorce Filing Fee in Maryland

Divorce isn’t just hard on the heart; it’s tough on your wallet too.5 In Maryland, filing fees for divorce change based on a few things. If you go to the Maryland Circuit Court by yourself, you’ll pay $165.005. This cost covers a $80.00 filing fee, a $55.00 MLSC surcharge, and $30.00 for the Records Improvement Fund5.

Adding an attorney to your team? That’ll cost $185.005. It means paying $20 more to have a lawyer speak for you in court.

The cost for an absolute divorce might go up if you need to go to court more than once. Or if you need a Divorce Judgment from a different county, which is $15.005. Usually, the cost is about $2153. But who ever said divorce is simple?

Divorce filing fee in maryland
Divorce filing fee in maryland

And then there are the extra charges, like $300.00 for mortgage or deed of trust on your house5. Suddenly, you’re not just worried about your heart.

The Maryland Circuit Court has plenty of fees to go around. Need to change child support or file a contempt motion? It’s $31 each time10. And divorce lawyers’ hourly rates? They’re between $200 and $5003. That’s really expensive!

So, going through divorce in Maryland, with or without a lawyer, prepare your wallet. It’s not just your marriage ending; your bank account might feel it too.

Filing Cost Breakdown: What You Need to Know

Getting a divorce is never easy on your wallet, and understanding the filing costs can prevent budget shocks. The main parts of divorce expenses include court fees and attorney fees. Let’s go over what costs you might face.

Court Fees

Court fees are a must when you’re going through a divorce. In Harford County, MD, filing by yourself costs $165. This fee includes an $80.00 filing fee, a $55.00 MLSC surcharge, and a $30.00 Records Improvement Fund fee5. Filing with a lawyer’s help increases the cost to $1855. For an easy divorce in Maryland, the fee is around $165. But in Washington, D.C., it’s about $8011. Remember, more complex cases with extra court visits can make these fees grow.

Attorney Fees

Attorney fees change a lot depending on your divorce’s complexity. For simple, uncontested divorces, the cost is usually between $1,000 to $5,00011. But prepare yourself because difficult divorces can cost from $10,000 to over $30,00011. Moreover, if you need special financial analysts or property evaluators, you might spend an additional $5,000 to $20,00011. Fees for analyzing child custody and support could run from $2,500 to $10,00011. It’s key to remember that your lawyer’s time is money for you.

If your divorce gets really heated, court costs could reach thousands or more11. Each new court date or trial means more fees. You may also need to pay for expert witnesses. Their fees differ greatly, depending on their expertise and how long they work on your case11.

In sum, by grasping this overview of filing costs, from unavoidable court fees to varying attorney charges, you can better manage your finances. Hopefully, this knowledge helps you save more.

Cost CategoryAmountDescription
Individual Action Filing (Without Attorney)$165Harford County, MD: $80 filing fee, $55 MLSC surcharge, $30 Records Improvement Fund5
Individual Action Filing (With Attorney)$185Same breakdown as above5
Uncontested Divorce Filing$165 – $80Maryland: $165; D.C: $8011
Attorney Fees (Uncontested)$1,000 – $5,000Depending on complexity and hourly rates11
Attorney Fees (Contested)$10,000 – $30,000+Depending on complexity and experience11
Forensic Accountants/Valuation Experts$5,000 – $20,000+Based on the case’s complexity11
Child Custody/Support Evaluations$2,500 – $10,000+Depending on the case11
Expert Witness FeesVariesBased on expertise and time spent11

Can You Get a Fee Waiver in Maryland?

Dealing with a divorce is tough, especially when you’re tight on money. But there’s good news. Maryland offers fee waivers that can really help with divorce costs.

Eligibility Criteria

So, who gets this help? Before starting, Maryland needs you to pay court fees upfront. This is hard when money is tight12. If you’re struggling, the court looks at your income and financial situation to decide on waiving fees based on the MLSC Client Income Eligibility Guidelines12.

Application Process

The application sounds tougher than it is. You’ll fill out an Affidavit of Income showing all your money sources like jobs and social security13. Make sure to list any big stuff you own, like houses, cars, and bank accounts13. Then, the court decides if they can waive the fees based on what you’ve told them13.

It’s important to know what happens if they say no. You have 10 days to pay up, or you’ll have to drop the case12. And, for appeals, the court can decide to waive fees if you really can’t afford it12.

Here’s what you should know for Maryland:

StageAction RequiredOutcome
Initial FilingPre-pay Court Filing FeesCase Opened
Fee Waiver RequestSubmit Affidavit of Income, Income Source DetailsApproval/Dismissal of Waiver
Post-DenialPay Fees Within 10 DaysCase Continues/Withdrawn
AppealsForm Submission for Appeal CostsCost Waived

If you meet the criteria, a fee waiver can make a big difference in managing your divorce costs.

Mutual Consent Divorce: A Cheaper Alternative?

Thinking about a mutual consent divorce in Maryland might save your mind and money. In 2018, they made it easier for couples. Now they can get a divorce without waiting for 12 months2. How great is it to skip that wait and move straight to freedom?

Benefits of Mutual Consent

The simple divorce process can really save the day. It cuts down long fights, which means less money spent on lawyers charging $200 to $500 every hour3. Also, it uses a collaborative model to help sort out any remaining issues2. It’s surprising how peaceful a divorce can be.

Cost ElementPrice Range
Filing Fee$165 to $21523
Attorney Hourly Rates$200 to $5003


So, what’s needed to qualify for this mutual consent divorce in Maryland? You need a marital settlement agreement first. This agreement must take care of all matters like property, alimony, and kids2. Think of it as making an after-marriage agreement, but this time it’s to undo your marriage vows.

The residency rule is simple for mutual consent as long as both live in Maryland when filing3. Lastly, the divorce turns into a final decree that ends the marriage, except for matters about kids2. So, there you have it—freedom without the trouble!

Additional Costs to Consider

Let’s look at the unexpected divorce costs that can creep up during financial planning. Apart from the known legal fees and court costs that vary from $165 to $215 based on location43, keep an eye out for other expenses.

First, consider mediation fees. If a $280 per hour lawyer sounds expensive4, mediation might surprise you with its extra cost. It’s used for making agreements between you and your ex, but it’s not cheap.

Also, think about financial advisor costs. When faced with complex finances, especially with large assets3, you’ll need a professional. They can help you make smart choices during the divorce.

Think about the need for separate living spaces too. Moving out involves more than just a new place. You’ll have to buy furniture and possibly pay rent or a new mortgage. Include this in your hidden divorce expenses.

Last, if your divorce is contested, the costs can jump significantly. In Maryland, a contested divorce trial might cost between $15,000 to $20,000 due to disagreements4. So, hidden costs can quickly lead to a financial strain during divorce.

Tips to Reduce Your Divorce Costs

Getting a divorce doesn’t mean emptying your wallet. You can cut costs on divorce with smart planning. This can make a tough time easier to handle.


Representing yourself, known as pro se divorce, is a big way to save. This avoids the high attorney fees, which in Maryland3 can be $200 to $500 an hour. Just remember, you’ll need patience and to understand legal paperwork well.

Make sure you fill out all forms right, like financial statements and agreements. This prevents delays and extra costs3.

Online Resources

The web has a lot of divorce help. This includes sites for documents, how-to guides, and online advice. These can save you a lot compared to hiring a lawyer. Plus, there are checklists and templates to keep you organized and ready.

Using online help can save you money and teach you about the divorce process. Deciding to handle things yourself or use online tools, you can lower your divorce costs. With some smart choices, you can get through this hard time without spending too much.


Dealing with divorce finances can feel overwhelming, like juggling fire on a unicycle. But, getting to grips with the costs can really help during such an emotionally tough time. In Maryland, the divorce filing fee varies if you have an attorney or not. Going it alone costs $165, which includes several fees5. With an attorney, it rises to $1855.

What about appealing? That’s $165 at the Circuit Court level5. Heading to the Appellate Court increases the cost to $1215. Need certified copies of divorce papers? That’s $5.00 plus $.50 for each page5. You can pay using various methods, making things a bit easier.

If these fees are hard on your wallet, you might have options. Maryland courts look at certain income guidelines to possibly waive these costs. However, the court makes the final decision12. If they don’t waive the fees, you have 10 days to pay up or your case could be dropped12. Knowing this can help you make smarter choices.

Yes, navigating divorce feels like a financial circus. But being well-informed can ease the journey. From understanding filing fees to knowing about waivers, being ready is crucial. Stay focused on your goal, and you’ll make it through, hopefully in a peaceful manner.


What are the divorce filing fees in Maryland?

The cost to file for divorce in Maryland changes by divorce type and needed solutions. Prices vary from 5 to 5. But, check with your local Circuit Court for exact fees.

Why do you have to pay filing fees?

Filing fees are what you pay to have your papers processed by the court. It’s like the cost of postage for court papers. This fee helps keep the court system running.

What’s the average cost of divorce in Maryland?

Get ready: getting a divorce in Maryland costs about ,500 on average. But, if you avoid long custody or property fights, it could be cheaper. An uncontested no-fault divorce is less expensive.

What factors can affect the cost of a divorce?

Many things can increase your divorce cost. Arguments over kids, property, and money can make it pricey. If your case is complex or you need lots of lawyer time, costs will go up.

What are the steps to filing for divorce in Maryland?

To start a divorce, choose the divorce type and get the right papers, like financial and child support documents. Then, file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce. Follow the legal steps until your final court date. It’s stressful, similar to putting together complicated furniture.

What documentation is required for filing a divorce?

You need financial reports, property deals, and child support plans. If a document proves something important, you’ll likely need it. Your scanner will become your best friend.

What is a no-fault divorce?

In a no-fault divorce, no one is blamed. It’s saying “it’s not you, it’s me,” but legally. They’re faster and cheaper because you don’t have to show a big mistake.

What is a fault-based divorce?

For a fault-based divorce, you must prove your spouse’s wrongdoing, like cheating or abuse. This requires evidence and may lead to more court time. It’s often costly and slow.

Can you break down the filing costs for me?

Sure! Court fees help run the judicial system. Lawyer fees change based on how much help you need. A complex case means higher fees. It’s like choosing an expensive adventure.

Can you get a fee waiver in Maryland?

Yes! If money is tight, Maryland might let you skip some fees. Just show you really need it, and you could get fees lowered or dropped. Think of it as a sale on divorce.

What are the benefits of a mutual consent divorce in Maryland?

Mutual consent divorces are quick and less expensive. You and your spouse agree on everything early, skipping the usual waiting and fighting. It’s like a fast pass to end your marriage legally.

What qualifies for a mutual consent divorce?

You need an agreement on assets, money, and kid-related issues. If both agree on these points, you’re on the fast track.

Are there additional costs I should consider?

Yes. Think about mediation, financial advice, and the cost of moving out. Planning for these helps avoid an empty wallet surprise.

Any tips to reduce divorce costs?

Definitely! Representing yourself or using online help cuts costs. Doing it yourself saves on lawyer fees. Also, the internet has helpful guides that save money.

Source Links

  1. https://www.dwhittenlaw.com/divorce/2022/12/15/what-is-the-fastest-and-cheapest-way-to-divorce-in-maryland/
  2. https://www.shellyingramlaw.com/practice-areas/maryland-mutual-consent-divorce/
  3. https://www.marylandlawyerblog.com/how-much-does-a-divorce-cost-in-maryland/
  4. https://www.rossalbers.com/blog/2023/january/cost-of-a-divorce-in-maryland/
  5. http://www.courts.state.md.us/clerks/harford/civilfees
  6. http://www.mdcourts.gov/legalhelp/family/divorce
  7. https://www.mdcourts.gov/sites/default/files/court-forms/ccdrina.pdf
  8. https://www.unbiased.com/discover/banking/divorce-in-maryland
  9. https://jamescrawfordlaw.com/2022/04/11/how-much-does-a-divorce-cost-in-maryland/
  10. https://www.courts.state.md.us/sites/default/files/import/circuit/feesummaryschedule.pdf
  11. https://tstahllaw.com/the-cost-of-uncontested-and-contested-divorces-in-maryland-and-d-c/
  12. http://www.mdcourts.gov/legalhelp/filingfeewaivers
  13. https://www.mdcourts.gov/sites/default/files/court-forms/courtforms/joint/ccdc089.pdf/ccdc089.pdf