How Much Does a Divorce Cost in California?
How much does a divorce cost in California? On average, a divorce in California costs $17,100 if there are no children and $26,300 if there are children. This is higher than the national average. Attorney fees account for approximately 79% of the cost. Other expenses include filing fees and hiring experts, such as appraisers or child custody evaluators. The average cost for a divorce attorney is $330 per hour. In the larger cities with higher incomes, such as Los Angeles or San Francisco, a divorce attorney will likely charge $400-$500 per hour. You can save thousands of dollars by hiring San Diego Esquire to process your divorce. (sign up below).
The answer to how much does a divorce cost in California depends on a number of factors, and it is possible that a couple could obtain a divorce for a few hundred dollars. If a couple has no children and little or no assets, they may opt to represent themselves. One spouse needs to file for divorce with the court, which incurs a filing fee. The filing fee can be waived for lower income couples. If the couple can work out a marital settlement agreement with each other, they can file it with the court, and that is the end of the proceeding. This may be the cheapest way to obtain a divorce, but does mean that one or both spouses must invest a significant amount of time learning the divorce process. This may be an unrealistic prospect, and a divorcing spouse may want to hire an attorney for a limited scope. A spouse can hire an attorney to prepare and file the petition for divorce. He/she can also hire an attorney to prepare or review a settlement agreement. Some attorneys will charge a flat fee of a few hundred dollars for these services. A lawyer-free divorce or using a lawyer for limited scope representation, may be the cheapest way to obtain a divorce, but is not ideal if the couple has a fair amount of property or debts, or if there are children involved.
As you can see, divorces are expensive, but there are ways to minimize the cost. Spouses can agree to go through mediation, where a neutral mediator, usually a retired attorney or judge, will work out a settlement that is fair to both parties. Mediation can be done with or without an attorney. Mediation can cost as much as $9,000, but that figure is much less than $26,000. Another way to minimize the cost of a divorce is settle the case quickly. The longer a divorce drags on, the more expensive it gets. A spouse can reduce the cost of a divorce by only contacting an attorney when it is absolutely necessary. Another way to significantly reduce the cost of a divorce proceeding is to have a prenuptial agreement. In a prenuptial agreement, the couple will have already agreed on most of the issues that arise in a divorce proceeding.
How much does a divorce cost in California? While you can minimize the cost of a divorce, it will probably be expensive.
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SD Esquire provides flat fee uncontested divorce services. We will prepare the legal documents you need to file for and complete your divorce. This includes preparing and filling your divorce petition, completing your financial disclsoures, and drafting your marital settlement agreement (MSA). Our uncontested flat fee divorce service starts at $1500 for standard divorce (you are responsible for paying court filling fees). The fee also includes service of process fees. You can make installment payments as your case progresses. It costs $500 to start your matter. Sign up today to get started.