Where do I start with getting a divorce and how much does it cost? 25 Answers as of September 12, 2011

I have been married to my husband for 8 months and separated for 4 months. The marriage was an abusive mental and physical to my child and myself also life threatening. Financially it wasn't good and it where women that were in and out of our marriage. Where do I start with get the divorce and the cost?

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Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C.
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C. | Karen A. Clark
There are many programs available for victims of domestic violence. If you feel that your life or your child's life is in danger, you should contact one of these program's as soon as possible. The Eastside Domestic Violence Program offers a 24-hour crises line.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/12/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
Start by contacting the local Bar Association in the County where you reside.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/2/2011
The Law Office of Erin Farley
The Law Office of Erin Farley | Erin Farley
The filing fee is $395, but if you do not have much money you may qualify for a fee waiver. Ask the clerk at the court for a fee waiver packet and/or check out the California court's self-help website (the website also has an excellent overview of the divorce process, with links to the paperwork you will need to file). If this is a domestic violence situation, it is imperative that you obtain appropriate legal advice and, preferably, some mental health counselling because you will most likely have a difficult road ahead. Consult your local legal aid office - legal aid has qualified and competent attorneys available for free so long as you qualify. That office can steer you toward some free services available to abused women and children. Stay Safe and Good Luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/31/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
Since it is such a short marriage with no children of the marriage you may wish to do it yourself.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 8/30/2011
Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
A divorce begins upon the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and then the service of that document with a Summons on the other Party. Attorneys can range from approximately $1500 to thousands depending on their level of expertise and experience and the complexity of the case. The filing fee if you choose to do it yourself, (and I never advise anyone to do this themselves), can vary amongst clerk's offices, but is typically around $418.00 including the Summons. I suggest you consult an experienced Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    The first decision that you will have to make is whether you are going to do this yourself or whether you want to hire someone to represent you. If you do it yourself, then, the cost would be relatively little-only a few hundred dollars for things like the filing fee and the cost of service. However, you mentioned that your relationship was abusive and dangerous to you and your child. For that reason, my feeling is that doing it yourself might not be a good idea. If you are representing yourself, you and your spouse are likely to have to have at least some contact. Having an attorney represent you eliminates at least some of that need for contact. If you are going to have an attorney represent you, in addition to the costs I mentioned above, you are going to have to pay the attorney. How much the total bill ends up being will depend to a large degree upon how much of the case is disputed. In a hard fought case, the cost can be thousands of dollars. If you decide you want to hire an attorney, your next steps are to save of the money for a retainer and then pick out an attorney that you like.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Hire an attorney. The attorney fees vary from attorney to attorney. With a marriage of such short duration, it will probably be uncontested since there does not seem to be a child issue and you could not have accumulated much in the way of property and debt in such a short period of time. Maybe $3,500 or less.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    If you can reach an agreement with your spouse regarding the issues related to divorce, the proceeding may be concluded rapidly by agreement drafted by an attorney and at low cost . If an agreement cannot be reached, a contested proceeding is required which may have significant costs. As a result, the first step is to discuss potential resolution of issues including division of property and debts with your spouse.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    Wow, that is incredible, you were married only 8 months and separated 4 months, and he had other women and was abusive. You need a divorce, and you need a good lawyer to help you.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    There is no simple answer to your question because there are so many variables at least as to cost. That said, I can start with a few basics. If you and your spouse agree to all the details - in other words, you both agree the divorce will occur and you have agreed to who gets what property and who pays what bills, who is keeping the house/apartment, etc. Then you have what we call an uncontested divorce. The cost of an uncontested divorce varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction based on court cost - cost are generally in the $300 range, but some counties may charge more or less. Then there is a question of whether or not your spouse will sign a waiver or enter an appearance without service - service is having the Constable deliver the divorce papers - that can cost up to $150 depending on the jurisdiction again. If there are kids, you have to take a class for divorcing parents - that cost $25 per person here in Plano. Certified copies of the decree at the end (if you want them) cost as well (again, it is jurisdiction dependent) and can run between $5/per copy and $1.50/page (decrees can be 10 - 14 pages without kids and typically up to 45 pages with kids). The short version of this is that the court cost alone can range from $300 on the low end up to $500 and this is for a simple case that is agreed - if it is contested (you two decide to fight) the cost can easily top this price with court mandated mediation, social studies, etc. Attorney's fees also vary widely. For example my firm charges a flat fee for uncontested divorces/custody issues. Some firms charge hourly even for uncontested/agreed matters. The time put into the case varies according to the facts, and to be blunt, your desires and goals. To give you an idea - if you and your spouse have no kids and agree to everything (in my definition that means you both come to my office with the fee and 3-4 hours of time to work on the matter - you leave when the papers are signed by everyone except the judge and the only thing left to do is pay the court fees, set the final hearing, prove it up, get copies certified, and file the "Austin Form"). My charge for these services would be $1,050 which is a turn key price in Collin or Dallas county - it covers the filing fee, drafting petition and an Answer (appearance for your spouse), drafting an Agreement incident to divorce which is filed with the court in case either of you change your minds later, completing the Final Decree of Divorce and securing three (3) certified copies - one for each of you and one held in my files - and it covers the cost of coordinating and appearing for the final hearing to prove up the divorce and the Austin Form. If there is a house that is not going to be sold and proceeds split - you will need a Special Warranty deed $35 and a Deed of Trust to Secure Assumption $35 If you need Powers of Attorney for Car titles those are $20 each If you need to divide a retirement plan - that requires a Qualified Domestic Relationship Order (I and most attorneys send those out) and the cost is $350 for each account. If there are children and you need custody orders, add $400 for the attorney time to address those issues (which includes Wage withholding orders and medical support orders, setting up the child support account, etc.) Again, this is all assuming current cost and fees as of February 2011 as charged by my firm and that you and your spouse agree to everything or at least work it out in my office. If you are fighting over things, you can assume the attorney fee will be at least triple per side (ie: $3000 each) and depending on what the fight is over, the sky and your desire to fight is the limit. The cost is based on hourly fee multiplied by time invested into your case. While I am certain this did not answer all your questions and may have brought up even more, it does provide you some sort of framework on the cost. As for time that too is up to you. Uncontested, the minimum time is 60 days, beyond that, it is up to you, what you are fighting over, and the court's schedule.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    The Coyle Law Office
    The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
    You can file for divorce at your county courthouse - a clerk will give you the forms you need - you may also want to ask for forms to set up an order of protection.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    Where you start is a full consultation with qualified divorce counsel. The cost is entirely a function of how contested the matter will be. You should also consider annulment.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    You need to contact a family law attorney and they will let you know what the Court filing fee is as well as the costs of an uncontested divorce. The filing fees vary by County so it depends on the county in which you file.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    You begin by talking with family and friends about good divorce lawyers in your area and then by going to meet with them, and asking questions, before retaining them.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    File a petition and summons.You can get the forms on line if you search Washington Divorce Forms.Make sure you're at the Washington Court website.Follow the directions available or linked to that site.The filing fee is $250 but that can be waived in some circumstances or reduced.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    You start by consulting with and retaining an experienced family law attorney who can walk you through the process. The cost varies depending on the issues involved. However, with your short term marriage, it should be pretty straightforward, I would think.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    The cost depends on what county you live in, which lawyer you hire, what relief you seek, what assets and debts you have, if you have children, and whether your husband will sign or not. Those are things an attorney would need to know to quote fees.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    If you do not hire a lawyer, depending upon what county you live in, then file for divorce by buying forms and filling out the Divorce Complaint and paying the filing fee (approx. $150-200) to get the process started. Then serve your spouse with a copy.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    You should start by consulting with a family law attorney. Get a referral from a family member, friend or someone else that you trust who might have used a family law attorney. You can also search on Findlaw.com Once you get some referrals, schedule a consultation appointment. Even if you have to pay for the consultation, it will be worth the small fee to find a lawyer that you are comfortable with.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    Meet with a skilled family law attorney in a free consultation to explore your legal options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You either start by hiring an attorney to handle things for you or you have to educate yourself sufficiently to do things yourself. You can go to the Colorado Supreme Court website and find the necessary forms and instructions in the Self-Help Center of that website. It isn't possible to accurately estimate the cost without knowing all the relevant facts and how much actual conflict & dispute there might be. You can probably figure the total cost with an attorney will be somewhere between $2,500 and $5,000.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    Call a local domestic abuse shelter, they usually know of resources to help.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Hugo Florido ESQ.
    Hugo Florido ESQ. | Hugo Florido
    You can start with an attorney or most courts now offer "self-help" in most court houses. The filing fees are around $400 in Dade and Broward County. The attorney's fees will vary but around $750 is reasonable.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/29/2011
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