Many people wanting to initiate a divorce have to prepare financially. Every divorce case is unique. Therefore, it is hard to estimate an accurate cost of a divorce in California.
Statistics suggest that California’s median cost of a divorce is around $17,500 if no children are involved. However, the actual price can be much lower or higher depending on several factors. Some of these factors include the number of contested issues, the time it takes to reach a settlement, and the type of divorce initiated.
For example, an uncontested divorce is among the cheapest options, while a contested divorce is among the most expensive. There is also the option of a $2,500 flat fee divorce. A divorce attorney in Orange County can tell you more about this and how to qualify for it, along with other valuable information.
Average Divorce Costs in California
Many statistics show that California’s average divorce costs are higher than in other states. As stated above, the average price of a divorce without children is around $17,500, while with children, the average costs are about $26,300.
The divorce filing fee in California is $435, which is among the highest in all the states, but there is also the option of a fee waiver. Attorney fees aren’t cheap, but the issue of reaching an agreement with your spouse truly drives the divorce costs. The longer it takes, and the more things you can’t agree on, the more it will cost.
Once the divorce process is over, you’ll most likely want to change your last name. You will need to consider the name change cost in California, which ranges from $525 (if you do it yourself) to $715 (if you hire name-change specialists to handle the process for you). All of these costs need to be considered before you decide to undergo the divorce and posterior name change proceedings.
Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce
The most expensive type of divorce is a contested divorce. It occurs when spouses cannot agree on certain aspects, such as:
● Property division
● Child Support or Custody
● Spousal support or alimony
● Shared business ownership
In a contested divorce, the spouses can argue about many things and disagree with certain aspects in the hopes of remaining with more assets or not sharing their actual earnings to avoid spousal support.
Child custody and support decisions, splitting financial assets like investment or retirement accounts, seeking alimony (spousal support), or splitting the rights for business owners all drive the litigation process up and up. Every claim must be analyzed, checked, and proven in court.
On the other hand, an uncontested divorce is the most affordable type of divorce in California. This type of divorce can be initiated when spouses agree on everything. They can achieve this type of divorce with the help of an attorney, mediator, or on their own.
In both types of divorce, divorce cases without significant assets such as real estate, businesses, or minor children are also less expensive and resolved faster.
When To Hire an Attorney
Why should you hire a lawyer if divorce proceedings are so expensive in California? Hiring a divorce lawyer will increase divorce costs, but receiving legal advice and guidance is more cost-effective than making costly mistakes.
Divorce attorneys can help you win more in the long run, especially if:
● Your spouse isn’t honest and forthcoming about finances
● Minor children are involved, and both of you can’t agree on child support or parenting time
● You don’t understand or get confused by the divorce self-help paperwork
● Your marriage has a history of substance abuse and domestic violence
● You can’t have a clear understanding of your finances or are worried about your financial situation after the divorce
A divorce attorney can help you with these issues and the necessary paperwork. They can also advise you on how to protect yourself while the divorce proceedings are in place. For example, what you post on social media can be used against you, and you may lose more than you bargained for.
At the same time, a divorce attorney can use social media evidence against your spouse so that you can win child support, alimony, or other things. This is just one example of the many ways a divorce lawyer can help you out in your divorce proceedings.