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The Cost of Divorce

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. the-cost-of-divorceFor 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.

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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in Divorce

 

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The Effects of Divorce on Children

the-effects-of-divorce-on-childrenRecent research shows that when divorces occur especially early in a child’s development s/he will have a harder time later connecting with parents. If divorce occurs when a child is between the ages of three and five children show a high level of feelings of insecurity towards one or both parents than if the child had experienced the divorce when s/he was older, and perhaps in a more resilient position to handle the trauma of a parental separation.

Attachment Theory: Specific Versus Diffuse Insecurity 

The basic tenet of attachment theory is that an infant, or very young child, needs to have a healthy relationship with at least one parent, usually the primary caregiver, to have healthy social and emotional interactions with others later in life. Although parents are justifiably concerned about how their divorce will subsequently impact their children, research tends to show that children later in life only have a problem with fostering a relationship with their parents, rather than their peers and others.

That is, there’s a prevailing theory in psychology and in the public consciousness that children of divorce will suffer negatively in all their adult relationships because of an early divorce. This is not what research in attachment theory and divorce actually shows, however.

Research from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin shows that insecurity among children of divorce is selective rather than diffuse. This means that children of divorce don’t later have problems with all of their relationships into adulthood (peer, employee-boss, romantic, etc.) but rather children of divorce only struggle with forging a deeper bond with their parents. This makes future relationship problems specific to their parents rather than diffuse across settings and individuals.

Childhood Versus Adolescent Response to Divorce

Other research shows that children younger than age nine and adolescents from nine to around thirteen respond to divorce in fundamentally different ways. Although the lifestyle challenges for children and adolescents alike can be similar – e.g., trips from one household to another and only rarely experiencing both parents together – can be a challenging way to negotiate middle school and eventually high school.

It is very interesting to note that if a child under age nine experiences a divorce the tendency is for that child to have an increased dependence whereas with an adolescent the pattern is the reverse, and the tendency in adolescents experiencing divorce is towards independence. It seems that younger children tend to show more of a regressive reaction to divorce whereas older adolescents tend to react in a more aggressive and independent way to parental separation.

Coping Mechanisms in Young Children 

Very young children tend to buy into the narrative that mommy and daddy are going to reconcile and that divorce isn’t as permanent as it is in reality. It is difficult to convince some children under age nine that divorce is a lasting situation and that these lifestyle changes (e.g., being shuttled between mom’s house and dad’s apartment) is how things are going to be from now on. Some psychologists worry that a parent’s unwillingness to be direct and honest about the finality of the separation could exacerbate a child’s false hope of a parental reconciliation.

Young children, moreover, may exhibit the following symptoms in their inability or unwillingness to accept the divorce for what it is:

–  Excessive crying, moping and tantrums

–  Fear of Separation

–  Bed wetting or unconcern with caring for self

All of these symptoms serve to re-garner the parent’s attention. This is in line with the regression that young children of divorce can show – the underlying pattern is towards greater dependency.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Effects of Divorce

 

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