My divorce cost me $17,695 — these were the most surprising expenses

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The author is a 27-year-old data analyst living in Clovis, New Mexico. If you would like to share a story relating to the cost of your divorce, email the editor at

Divorce can be expensive — we all know that. A recent survey found that the average cost of a divorce in the United States is $15,000.

But being young and without kids, I didn’t expect for my divorce to cost as much as it did.

My husband and I got married at the end of 2013 after a whirlwind romance that began in April of that year. I was 21, freshly graduated from college, and had almost nothing to my name beyond student debt and a credit card with a limit of $1,900. We moved from North Carolina to Georgia in March 2014, and once I secured my first full-time job, I felt that financially I was headed down the right path.

Unfortunately, whirlwind romances don’t play out like they do in the movies. Being young and not having strong enough roots in who we were yet led to struggles and disagreements without the ability to effectively communicate. In June 2014, I told him that I wanted a divorce.

Read more: 6 things wealthy people do to protect their money when they get married

I thought the process would be simple: move out, legally separate, file for the divorce. And since we both were of little means, we would file uncontested and not have to pay for attorneys. It would be a no-fault divorce, and then we could go our separate ways.

We had been married for only eight months and had no children. Ownership of the dog we adopted together was an open question, but I assumed we would also handle that when the time came. However, to file uncontested in Georgia, we could have no shared finances.

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What followed my decision to divorce was a year of financial turmoil and painful, damaging decisions I had to make about debt to get out of the marriage and begin a life of my own.

Below are the expenses I hadn’t considered when I chose to divorce — and how much they set me back.

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