How Much Does a Divorce in California Cost?

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

More people are turning to the option of divorce to deal with troubled marriages. The State of California has lead the country in developing many legal precedents. How much does a divorce in California cost?

Court Fees Determined by County

The California government is short of money, so when you file for divorce in California, expect to plenty of fees and charges. The primary fee will be a filing fee for the county records being updated. There might also be a paperwork fee for processing everything.

Each county determines its own divorce filing charges. There might be a response fee also to officially notify your spouse of the divorce filing. Every year these fees change, but a ballpark figure for courthouse filing charges is between $300 to $500. If you have an amicable divorce without children or much property, you might be able to work with a legal aid service charging between $250 to $400.

Final Costs Depends Upon Circumstances

Divorce is always hard because it is a process requiring the cooperation of two parties who were not able to cooperate in their marriage. It pays for both parties to work together to find the best solution, but emotions get in the way. Some want to “punish” the other spouse with endless paperwork, half-truths and outright lies.

California is a no-fault state making it very easy to get a divorce. It is wise for the ex-spouses to understand that their property is a “total estate.” The more that one spouse makes the process difficult for the other party, the more it will reduce the total value of the estate.

If you want to save money during divorce proceedings, you can represent yourself pro se. For those who want to hire a lawyer, you can try to get a “flat-rate” fee as opposed to the common hourly charges.

Many American courts have become extremely bogged-down. The time for the completion of your divorce depends upon your circumstances – mindset, children and property. It might be completed as fast as 6 months or take years. Every judge will give you a different answer.

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