Best and worst states to get a divorce

By Business LeadersFOXBusiness

Bezos' divorce announced when Amazon is looking like the more stable of the tech companies: Tech analyst

Wall Street Journal tech reporter Tim Higgins and Fox News legal analyst Mercedes Colwin on the potential fallout from the announcement Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie Bezos will divorce.

Divorce is in the air as the world’s richest man announced on Wednesday that after 25 years of marriage and after building the country’s most valuable company, he and his wife, MacKenzie, are getting a divorce. 

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Rumors are swirling about what will happen next and who will get what, as the former power couple reportedly did not have a prenuptial agreement, according to TMZ. One thing that may hurt (or help) Bezos – who has an estimated fortune of $137 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index – in the process is filing in his home state of Washington.

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“I don’t think he is in a good state as it’s a communal property state with both spousal and child support,” Peter Walzer, founding partner of Los Angeles-based Walzer Melcher and president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, tells FOX Business.

The big reason, he says, is that Jeff Bezos owns 16 percent of the shares in Amazon, which will most likely not have to get split between him and his wife. Bezos founded the company shortly after the two married in 1993.

“He may try to buy her out, but I don’t think there is enough money to come up with to pay her for her shares, so she will have an equality ownership, which could be good for him,” he added, citing that an equal ownership would defuse the need for spousal and child support.

Still, Walzer advises people who are in the midst of the divorce, like the Bezoses, to check their state’s rules and fees as well as average attorney costs as some are much more expensive than others.

Last month, GoBankingRates.com, compiled a list of the most and least expensive states for getting a divorce based on the criteria below.

Here are the top four best and worst states for getting a divorce.

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Best (least expensive) states

1.            North Dakota

Average divorce filing fee: $80

Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,200

Why: It has the third-lowest average divorce filing fee and average divorce attorney’s fees.

2.            Mississippi

Average divorce filing fee: $63

Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,700

Why: It has the lowest average divorce filing fee in the country.

3.            Wyoming

Average divorce filing fee: $70

Average divorce attorney’s fees: $9,000

Why: It has the second-lowest average divorce filing fee in the U.S. Plus, it has a relatively short minimum processing time of 80 days.

4.            South Dakota

Average divorce filing fee: $95

Average divorce attorney’s fees: $8,600

Why: It has not only one of the lowest minimum processing times of 60 days but it is also has one of the lowest average divorce filing fees.

Worst (most expensive) states

1.            California

Average divorce filing fee: $435

Average divorce attorney’s fees: $13,800

Why: It has the highest average divorce filing fee and the second-highest average divorce attorney’s fees in the U.S., making it the most expensive state overall to get a divorce.

2.            Connecticut

Average divorce filing fee: $360

Average divorce attorney’s fees: $12,200

Why: It has the fourth-highest average divorce filing fee as well as the eighth-highest average divorce attorney’s fees when compared to other states.

3.            Florida

Average divorce filing fee: $380

Average divorce attorney’s fees: $10,700

Why: The overall average cost to file for divorce in Florida is the third-highest of any state, making it one of the most expensive states for divorce.

4.            Texas

Average divorce filing fee: $300

Average divorce attorney’s fees: $12,400

Why: It’s one of the most expensive states to get a divorce due to its high average of divorce attorney fees—it’s the sixth-highest in the nation.