Once you’ve made the decision that your marriage is irretrievable broken, you will likely consider moving onto the next step. For most, the next step is seeking a legal divorce so both parties can move on with their lives as separate, individual people, rather than a couple. For those just beginning the process of a divorce, one of the major questions that come up is whether or not a divorce is expensive. The answer isn’t as cut and dry as some may hope. Some divorces are simple, quick, and relatively inexpensive, while others can be rather long processes that can cost an exorbitant amount of money.
Types of Divorce
In the state of California you can file for divorce in one of three ways. You can either file for a summary dissolution, an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce. A summary dissolution is the quickest form of divorce, and in most cases the cheapest. Generally, a summary dissolution is only granted to couples who have been married for five years or less, and do not have any children together. An uncontested divorce is granted to a couple who have agreed to the terms of the divorce outside of court. In this case, the divorce proceedings simply include the filing of appropriate forms and paperwork before the divorce can be granted. The price of an uncontested divorce simply include the price of court fees, and any legal counsel you may have obtained for the purpose of filing.
Finally, a contested divorce, is a divorce in which one party or both parties fail to agree to the terms of the divorce. In these cases, outside mediation has not worked, and the divorce terms must go before a judge to be finalized. Contested divorces are the most expensive type of divorces, and in some cases, can take several years to finalize.
The Price of Divorce
In the state of California, a couple who wishes to obtain a summary dissolution can file for relatively cheap. Lawyers do not have to be involved in this process, although it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer prior to filing, or to get help during the filing process. In most cases, paralegals can help with this type of paperwork. The filing costs for a summary dissolution, in most counties in California, is between $300 and $450. In San Francisco, specifically, this type of filing costs court fees of $450.
An uncontested divorce can be obtained by simply filing the necessary paperwork and appearing for any court hearings that may be scheduled. Hearing are generally not necessary in this type of divorce, and hearing are usually granted for free. The filing costs for an uncontested divorce is roughly $450 in most counties in California, including in the San Francisco area. Similar to a summary dissolution, it is important to speak with a lawyer prior to the filing of divorce papers, to ensure you are protected during the process.
Contested divorces can become extremely expensive because the court fees and attorney fees associated with them add up quickly. According to recent statistics, the average contested divorce can cost upwards of $20,000. The cost of these divorces are directly attributed to the attorney fees and the court fees associated with multiple hearings, as well as mediation meetings, and other associated attempts to come to an amicable agreement between the parties. A divorce can be contested on the ground of finances, child custody, or the division or property.