How much does a divorce cost? 27 Answers as of November 11, 2011

How much does a divorce cost and how do I find out if my soon to be ex wife filed divorce papers?

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The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
Cost, like anything, depends on many factors. Some divorces cost hundreds; others, many, many thousands. Just call the chief clerk's office of the county where she would have filed to see if they have a divorce pending.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/11/2011
Fox Law Firm LLC
Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
It depends on your situation, contested or uncontested, among other factors.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 11/11/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
First to see if she has filed, contact the local court clerk and ask or better yet, look online. Most courts now have filings online - you may not be able to see the petition, but you can look up the district clerk's office, go to the website, search for open cases, type your wife's name and see if she has filed anything. If that does not work, call and ask. As for cost: cost is always an important question for a client looking to get a divorce. Unfortunately, there is no way to give you a solid answer. The cost will depend on so many factors that are as yet unknown that any lawyer that gives you a cost is either just guessing or offering a "fixed cost" also known as a Flat Fee. The problem with Flat Fees is that the lawyer has to make a choice, set the fee high enough that he or she is covered if the case goes awry, or figure out how to make the case stay within budget. What I can tell you is the basics. There is a filing fee (usually $270-300) - if your wife already paid, this fee is not an issue, only the filing party has to pay it, though some jurisdictions charge a fee for counter-petitions (usually $50). The filing fee is paid to the court. Other cost you may expect, again this depends on the case include: Issuance of Citation and Issuance of Notice if required, the Court cost for these items is generally about $10 each; service of process varies depending on location plan $75-100 if it is required; as your case proceeds, you may find a need for a private investigator and that cost is very difficult to calculate and depends on what is needed (surveillance, skip tracing, asset searches, etc.); the Court may require social studies, DNA testing, Home studies, and in extreme cases, appointment of an attorney ad litem for the children - again these cost vary and are not in every case, but this is cost that could pop up depending on the circumstances of the parties. All of the cost quoted above are just court cost, no attorney's fees, no copy charges, no consideration for closing documents, etc. Closing documents would be things like the Austin Form, Withholding Orders, Medical Support Orders, Deeds of Trust to Secure Assumption on real property, or Special Warranty Deeds for the house, and Power of Attorney for transferring vehicles, not to mention a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) for each 401K, SEP Plan or Defined Retirement plan (QDROs cost $400 each at my firm, we send them out to a firm in Houston with a lot of experience in preparing them - $400 each is our cost). Finally, the "cost" quoted above does not include any attorney's fees for doing the work, this is just a list of things that you will or may have to pay to the Court or third parties. Attorney's fees will vary according to the Attorney/Firm billing rate and the amount of time required to complete you case. In a simple case with kids, plan at least 3 hours for drafting pleadings and a proposed decree. Assuming your spouse simply signs the proposed decree with no questions or concerns, there is another hour of drafting basic closing documents (this number can easily triple if there are assets to deal with) and an hour to prepare the final Orders and present the prove-up to the Judge. Minimum attorney time is 5 hours, up to 10 hours and this is for a simple case. Add in any hurt feelings, issues that you or your spouse want to fight over, another attorney, temporary orders, or custody issues and the limit is how long each of you can hold out for the fight. All is not bad as it seems.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 11/10/2011
AyerHoffman, LLP
AyerHoffman, LLP | Cara Lee Thompson
You can certainly check with your local family court in order to determine whether your wife filed a complaint for divorce, but keep in mind that since she has to serve you with the complaint within 90 days of filing, you will know at one point or another whether she's filed, unless she chooses not to serve you, and at that point, she would need to refile her complaint. As for cost, it is difficult to say how much a divorce will cost. If you are on amicable terms and there isn't much property to divide and maintenance is a non-issue, you may be able to do a joint filing, which will keep costs down. Even if the divorce is contested you may not have to pay as much if you qualify for assistance from legal aid. And, if you are able to receive pro-bono assistance, you may pay nothing at all (potentially, just filing fees). Also, mediation tends to be a less-expensive alternative to lawyers. However, again, it is difficult to say whether it will be expensive - it depends on how amicable of terms you are on, whether the division of assets/debt is contested, and also on both of your stances on maintenance, if applicable.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 11/10/2011
Dunnings Law Firm
Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
Depends on what issues exist and how much time an attorney will need to spend on the case. You can contact the Circuit Court Clerk's office to see if a divorce has been filed.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/10/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
    If you were served, you would know. If by publication then you would have a good cause for defense if she knew where you were or your lawyer could go online and search by your name.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    A divorce could cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to millions, depending on information you did not post. If you have not seen any papers, there is likely no case.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
    The filing fee for a divorce is $289.00. If your divorce is uncontested, you might want to consider hiring counsel or going to the Self-Help Center at the Family Court for help with the forms. If your divorce is contested, I strongly recommend that you hire counsel. Notwithstanding, the Self Help Center will also help you with the proper forms to begin your contested divorce. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Depending on the facts and circumstances, anywhere from $1000 to $20,000 is possible.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    The cost of a divorce depends on the issues and how hotly contested they are. You should consult with an attorney immediately. As for whether she has filed, you can call your local clerk of court in the county where either you or she resides.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Law Office of Jane E. Ginsburg
    Law Office of Jane E. Ginsburg | Jane Ginsburg
    It is impossible to say how much a divorce will cost. It depends on what the attorneys charge and how contentious the action is. When a divorce action is filed, the other party must be served with the appropriate papers. Records of filings can be found at the courthouse.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    The cost of divorce depends on the particular issues contested by the parties and whether they are able to resolve those issues. Cases that are uncontested may cost a thousand dollars, whereas contested cases that proceed to trial may cost tends of thousands.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    The cost depends on many things: issues involved, whether any of the issues are contested, where the case must be filed, the actions of the other party and their attorney. In order find out of your wife has filed divorce papers, you need to contact the court clker's office in the county in which you live (and in which your wife lives if she lives in a different county).
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    Uncontested $750, contested more than $750.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Court costs can be found on your local family court's website. Most county courts in CA currently charge a $395 filing fee. Depending on how your case evolves, there could be more court costs. As for attorney fees, there is no standard amount, either by hour, or total cost. Family law attorney's charge by the hour. Again, there is no standard hourly rate. Lawyers charge what they think they are worth, and what they think the market will bear. E.g., I've seen hourly rates from $150 per hour, all the way up to $450 per hour in the counties in which I work. Also, the hourly rate is often times not an indication of a lawyer's skill. Some simply charge more because they want to earn more, while others charge less because they want to attract more business, or because they think a lower rate is more fair. For instance, I charge $200 per hour, and I have about a decade of experience. Most lawyers with my same skill level charge from $250 to $350 per hour. Hence, their clients in my opinion are being overcharged. Also, some lawyers bill for every second they work on a case, while others only charge for work that actually advances the case. Bottom line, attorney fees vary substantially from one lawyer to the next. Best to interview many lawyers and ask the tough questions about how they bill. You should also ask for references so you can confirm their billing practices are fair and reasonable. Finally, even if you hire a lawyer who charges a fair rate and doesn't overbill for his/her time, the total cost of a divorce could be higher or lower depending on whether the parties fight over every issue and drag out their case, or whether they can be reasonable and reach agreements without a prolonged battle. Some clients waste thousands of dollars fighting because they simply hate each other. If your spouse hires a contentious lawyer, that will also raise the total cost. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    To get a proper answer to this question, you need to meet with a skilled family law attorney in an office consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Goddard Wetherall Wonder, PSC
    Goddard Wetherall Wonder, PSC | Brook Goddard
    The cost of a divorce is difficult to answer as most attorneys charge an hourly rate (the standard in King County seems to be around $200-$375 - my rate is $250) and every divorce proceeding is unique and thus has different costs. An "amicable" divorce can cost as low as a thousand dollars, while contested divorces can cost many thousands of dollars. Your wife is required by Court rule to serve you with the initial divorce papers shortly after she files them.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    If she files. It will cost you nothing unless you hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    The cost of divorce is all over the map. To a large degree, the cost is a function of the amount of attorney time that has to go into it. How much attorney time has to go into it depends on how much you and your spouse want to fight and the nature and extent of the assets, debts, children, etc. In terms of finding out if your spouse has filed, if you know the county, you could check with the county clerk.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
    The filing fee for a divorce is $408.00. The issuance of a Summons and service of the Summons totals $50.00. As for attorney fees, those can vary widely from as little as $500.00 into the thousands of dollars, depending on the issues to be litigated.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Bruning & Associates, PC
    Bruning & Associates, PC | Kevin Bruning
    The cost of the divorce depends on many factors, including the length of the marriage, whether or not there are children of the marriage, whether or not one of the spouses is in need of spousal support, and the amount of property involved in the marriage.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    The cost of a divorce is unknowable. It depends on many factors not the least of which is whether the parties are willing to cooperate with each other, negotiate in good faith, and the nature of the assets among other matters.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 11/9/2011
    David A. Browde, P.C.
    David A. Browde, P.C. | David Browde
    The cost of the divorce varies based upon the hourly charge of the attorney you hire, the complexity of the case (are their children, properties or pensions/401ks?) and upon how much disagreement there is in working out the divorce.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/9/2011
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