When people think about divorce, massive expenses often come to mind. While a contentious divorce can be extremely expensive, a straightforward divorce doesn't have to be that way. Most spouses will stand by their decision to get a divorce regardless of cost, but need to know what to expect financially in order to make plans for the future.
Every divorce in California is unique and will cost various amounts that will depend on their assets. However, the cost to file a divorce is somewhat predictable – such as basic court fees.
For some couples, the fear of divorce expense keeps them unhappily married. Better understanding the legal fees and expenses associated with divorce will give you an idea about how much your divorce is likely to cost.
In order to file for a divorce in California, you will have to follow the court process. It starts with spouses working together to decide what terms they can agree on by themselves or through mediation.
Obviously, if spouse's can reach an agreement on divorce terms without going to trail, they will save money on standard court costs. If just one spouse files for a divorce – rather than both – it will also save some money. If you are considering divorce, discuss your concerns with an experienced divorce attorney.
To give readers a better understanding on the fee that are involved in getting a divorce, our California divorce lawyers are providing an over below.
Fees Associated with California Divorce
If you are moving forward with a divorce, there are several categories of expense that you need to take into consideration, including:
- Court filing and administrative fees
- Attorney fees
- Fees for professional services (if your divorce involves high assets or a complication such as business ownership)
Court Filing and Administrative Fees
The court filing and administrative fees for divorce are not astronomical, but they can add up. The court and administrative fees for a California divorce are listed under the Superior Court of California civil fee schedule. It should be noted that the fees are the same in all counties and designed to pay the cost for maintaining court records.
These fees start with the first paper fee, which refers to you and your spouse's first filing. If, for example, your spouse files for divorce, that first paper will cost him or her $435, and your response will cost you the same amount. There could be additional fees for any motions or copies of records, and the fees could change annually.
It should be noted you might qualify for a fee waiver if you are low-income – receive public benefits – or if the filing fee cost are too expensive. In order to apply for a fee waiver, you will have to submit a FW-001 form – request to waive court fees.
After you've both filed your first papers, you'll be charged a $60 fee for each subsequent motion. For example, if you need temporary spousal support in the divorce interim (between filing for divorce and having your divorce finalized), filing that motion will cost you $60.
Finally, filing a stipulation and order with the court costs $20. A stipulation and order refers to those issues that you and your divorcing spouse are able to come to terms with between yourselves and that the court need not address. These fees are separate from any attorney fees your divorce lawyer will charge you.
Divorce Attorney Fees
Divorce lawyers normally require a retainer and then charge an hourly rate that varies depending on experience. Most lawyers with longer experience will generally charge more, but they are also usually more qualified to handle your divorce most effectively. There are many spouses who ask if they can force their spouse to pay their attorney's fees.
The cost of a California divorce always includes required court and administrative fees, but other cost will vary from case to case. While you are well-advised to consult with an experienced divorce attorney if you are moving forward with a divorce, this doesn't mean that your attorney fees are going to break the bank.
The fact is that the more decisions that you and your divorcing spouse can make between yourselves, the less you'll need to spend on attorney fees.
Divorce is never fun, easy, or simple, but if you both recognize that you have similar goals – sticking to the basics, keeping costs down, and making compromises that neither of you is going to particularly love – it can help you hammer out some critical decisions that will move your divorce forward without racking up exorbitant attorney fees.
It is, nevertheless, essential to recognize that, if your divorce involves complicated financials, it probably isn't in your best interest to compromise for the sake of expediency alone. Your rights matter and the outcome of your divorce will significantly affect you and your children's futures.
Fees for Professional Services
If your financials are relatively straightforward, it's unlikely that you'll need to consider fees for professional services. If, on the other hand, your divorce is financially complicated, it's a different matter.
If yours is a high-asset divorce, you'll want to make sure that you receive the amount that you're entitled to. The greater the wealth, the easier it is to hide assets, obfuscate, and worse.
This isn't to say that your soon-to-be ex is attempting to cheat you, but complicated financials are just that – complicated. The relative expense of paying for expert forensic valuation services is outweighed by the peace of mind that comes from knowing your rights were well protected throughout the divorce process.
Owning a business can also complicate your financials. Often, small-business owners allow their personal and business financials to comingle. This means that it's necessary to disentangle the two before you obtain an accurate valuation.
In such situations, it's important not to let your desire to keep your divorce quick and cheap get in the way of your good judgment. Complicated financials warrant a closer look.
Experienced Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer
Divorce can be extremely expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Our dedicated legal team serves the greater Los Angeles and committed to keeping your costs down while protecting your rights throughout the divorce process.
Our experienced divorce and family law attorneys will carefully consider your individual circumstances in order to maximize your relative return. In other words, if your divorce is straightforward and you and your divorcing spouse are committed to collaborating, your legal fees will be minimal.
If, on the other hand, your financials are complicated, it's very likely worth an investment in more complete legal services. To schedule a free consultation, don't hesitate to contact or call us to review your divorce and options.
Furman & Zavatsky
15821 Ventura Blvd #690
Encino, CA 91436