Like any legal proceedings, the cost of divorce can vary widely from state to state and within the same state. The cost of divorce in California is no exception. Filing for divorce in California can be done for as little as $355.00 or can incur costs well into thousands of dollars, depending on how complicated and contested the divorce proceedings become.
For couples who agree on everything divorce related, have no children, have little or no debt or property, and do not hire attorneys, the cost of divorce in California remains on the low end of $355.00 to $400.00, the general amount of filing fees only. This would be classified as a summary divorce in the state of California. A summary divorce occurs without a hearing or trial and moves fairly quickly, another factor in keeping the cost low.
For couples who do not agree on everything, who have children, or who may have large amounts of debt or property, the initial filing fee of $355.00 to $400.00 is only the beginning of the cost of divorce in California. This type of divorce would be classified as a regular divorce and will often require a hearing unless both parties choose otherwise. If one party files for divorce and the other party does not respond, the divorce is considered uncontested and will likely be resolved more quickly and cheaply. However, if the other party chooses to respond, the divorce is considered contested and will initially require further filing fees. The cost of divorce in California can then increase based upon the costs of copying, notarizing, and serving papers, as well as the cost of hiring an attorney. Generally, hiring an attorney can increase the cost of divorce by a range of $1000 to $10,000 or more, depending on whether the attorney charges a flat fee or charges by the hour.