It is very difficult to predict the cost of a divorce. It all depends on the issues involved and how the opposing party is going to respond to the divorce.
However, the more issues (i.e. custody, property valuations, fitness of a parent) that arise and the number of contested issues will add to the cost of the divorce. The more issues that clients and the opposing party can agree on, the lower the cost of the divorce.
When discussing whether or not a client can afford to go through a divorce, we often explain to the client that there are highs and lows in a divorce case. At the onset of a case, fees will be quite expensive with getting the initial pleadings (petitions and answers) filed and working on getting temporary orders (dealing with possession and access to children, property issues and financials) issued.
Typically there is a lull in the case while the parties are conducting and reviewing discovery, evaluating the parties (fitness as a parent), and negotiating for a final settlement. During this lull, we recommend that parties begin to build a “war chest” by saving money, borrowing from family, or gathering other resources so that once we are ready to go to final trial or to draft the final decree of divorce, the parties will be financially able to proceed.