California Divorce Attorney Fee Calculator

Circumstances of Your Divorce
Legal Implications Affecting Total Cost
Minor children of the relationship?

This includes biological and/or adopted children.

YesNo

Additional issues regarding child custody, visitation, and support may need to be resolved.

Do you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?

This may save you time and money.

YesNo

The agreement must be in writing. Verbal agreements are often dismissed in court.

Do you or your spouse own your own business or work as an independent contractor?

Ex: Sole proprietorship, LLC and S-Corp Owner, or 1099 worker.

YesNo

Extensive discovery may need to occur to review all streams of income.

Do you or your spouse own real property together?

Real estate specialist may need to appraise the value of your property.

YesNo

Both parties may be subject to capital gains and tax deductions.

Do you need spousal support or alimony?

What is the salary difference between the spouses?

YesNo

Spousal support is based on a formula. The court may take other factors into consideration when granting a spousal support order. Alimony may be awarded for up to six years or more for long term marriages that end in divorce or legal separation. Alimony is based on many factors that is subject to a balancing test.

Are your assets greater than $1 million?

Both parties may need to consult with an attorney to best protect their financial interest.

YesNo

Both parties could spend an extensive amount of time dividing assets.

Do you have secured and unsecured debts?

YesNo

The court may divide debt in half between the parties unless the moving party can show the debt is a separate property.

Do you have retirement benefits (pension, 401 (k), 403 (b))?

YesNo

You may need a QDRO to divide retirement accounts.

Fees range: $8000 - $10000

Disclaimer

This tool provides an estimate amount only as to how much money you may or may not be required to pay an attorney in a contested divorce. Contact an attorney to discuss your contested divorce case in confidence.

Flat Fee Uncontested Divorce Service

Contact San Diego Esquire for more information about our flat fee uncontested divorce service. Our California licensed attorney will serve as your third party mediator to help you complete the divorce process in an affordable manner. Review our California Uncontested Divorce Services for more information.

Uncontested Divorce Overview

Uncontested divorce cases are ones that are settled outside of court. There are many advantages to an uncontested divorce. Preparation for a divorce trial is the most time consuming, expensive, and stressful part of the divorce process. If the case goes to trial, each spouse can expect to pay about $20,000 in attorney fees, most of which will be for trial preparation. An uncontested divorce is a preferable option for couples with children, because children are in a better situation if their parents are not at war.

Common Uncontested Divorce Issues

During the divorce process the couple will need to decide on a number of issues. The couple will need to decide how they will divide their marital assets and determine who will be responsible for paying marital debts. If there are children, they will need to figure out a custody and visitation schedule and calculate child support. They will need to decide if one spouse will receive alimony and figure out who will pay attorney fees. If the couple is on friendly terms and are willing to listen to legal advice, they can usually come to an agreement on these issues with thoughtful negotiation with or without the assistance of an attorney. Attorneys can assist the spouses with the negotiation advise them of what they are entitled to, and they can ensure that the settlement is fair and consistent with California law.

Uncontested Divorce Alternatives

If the couple cannot come to an agreement on their own but still wish to avoid trial, there are alternatives to a costly trial. A couple can opt for mediation. During mediation a family law expert, usually an attorney or retired judge, evaluates the couple’s situation and drafts and agreement that is fair and consistent with state laws. The settlement is not binding, and one spouse could reject the proposed settlement. Arbitration is a similar option to mediation, but unlike mediation the settlement is binding. For arbitration to be binding, both spouses must agree to it beforehand. Once the couple has agreed to all the terms, an attorney, mediator, or the couple themselves will draft a marital settlement agreement. Both spouses need to sign the agreement, have the agreement notarized, and attach the agreement to the Judgment. If the settlement agreement is fair and consistent with California law, a judge will approve it, and it will become a court order.

Deciding to Go to Trial

While an uncontested divorce is preferable to a contested divorce, in some situations an uncontested divorce is not an option. An uncontested divorce is not viable option when there is a history of domestic violence of child abuse. If one spouse is trying to hide assets or is not being forthcoming on his/her income, then the divorce case will require a forensic accountant and will probably go to trial. The divorce will need to be settled by a judge if one or both spouses are narcissistic or unwilling to negotiate. Even if the couple is amicable, they may reach an impasse on some of the issues during the negotiation and the case will need to go to trial.