How much does it cost to get divorced?
There are two different areas of expense that are part of the divorce process – costs and attorneys fees.
The costs involved in a divorce are mainly filing fees, along with service of process. If you have a matter that requires an expert of some sort, like a CPA, those expenses are also “costs.”
In order to file your petition for divorce, you will need to pay the “first filing fee.” In most counties in California, the first filing fee is $435. In some counties, like San Francisco County, the filing fee is more.
If a response to the petition is filed, the Respondent will also need to pay a first filing fee in the same amount.
If you file a Request for Order, there is a filing fee and a court reporter fee. The filing fee is $60 and the court reporter fee is generally $30.
Some documents can be filed for free, like proofs of service or judgment packages. Domestic violence restraining order requests are also free.
To learn more about statewide filing fees, click here. To learn about your county’s filing fees, search for “[your county name] superior court” and then select the link for “Forms and Filing” and then “Local Fees.”
What if you can’t afford the filing fees?
If you can’t afford to pay the filing fees for your matter, you’ll need to fill out a Fee Waiver Request and submit it to the court. You’ll need to tell the court about your income and expenses so that it can determine whether you qualify for a fee waiver. To learn more about fee waivers, click here.
An attorney’s fee is the money that you pay your attorney. Your attorney charges for time spent on your matter, whether it’s research, communicating with you, communicating with the other side or the court, drafting documents for you, or going to hearings. When you hire an attorney you’ll sign an agreement, usually called a retainer, that lists out what your attorney will be doing for your (scope) and how much they charge. Some attorneys will do flat fees for certain types of work, but most attorneys bill on an hourly basis.
A number of attorney’s fees you have will vary based on your case. If your case is very complex or requires a lot of hearings, it will be more expensive. Where you have a more simple case or you and the other side are in agreement, it will usually be less expensive.
If you don’t have an attorney, you won’t pay any attorney’s fees. Some people feel comfortable representing themselves in their divorce and go forward without an attorney. In some cases, this may work out well for all involved. However, consulting with an attorney or the self-help center at your local courthouse can help ensure that your case goes smoothly and all issues are resolved. An attorney will also help advocate for you, to ensure that your rights are fully protected.
Have questions about how expensive your case will be? Contact Romanovska Law to learn more.