3 factors that influence the cost of a California divorce
The average person will confirm that divorce is an expensive process, if asked. Not only do divorcing couples need to split up their resources, but they also have to pay for legal representation and time in the California family courts.
According to recent research on the average cost of divorce proceedings, couples usually pay around $17,500 for a divorce. However, the average cost of divorce is often significantly different than what people actually end up paying for divorce. The following factors tend to have an influence on the total cost for a couple’s divorce, although the unique circumstances of each couple’s situation necessarily vary.
Whether or not spouses have children
Minor children are often the biggest complicating factor for a divorce. Parents will have to resolve not just how they divide parenting time and decision-making authority but also financial responsibility for the children. It can take far longer to litigate or negotiate a divorce settlement when the people preparing for dissolution share responsibility for minor children.
Which concerns (if any) require litigation
The number of outstanding disputes that people have when they go to family court directly influences how much time their divorce requires and therefore how much it costs. The more issues a judge has to hear about and rule on, the higher the total cost of the divorce. Those who litigate multiple different matters in their divorces can generally anticipate having a much higher total cost for the process than those who are able to settle matters through mutual agreement before going to court.
The amount of outside support each spouse needs
Both spouses will need to have their own attorneys representing them. Couples may also work with another outside legal professional who serves as a mediator to facilitate negotiations between the spouses. Beyond that, high-conflict divorces often require the support of numerous other professionals. People may need to bring in a forensic accountant if they want to prove that their spouse hid assets. They may need to hire a real estate professional to appraise their home or other experts to place a fair market value on marital resources like art, vintage vehicles and collectibles.
The more secondary services people require to prepare for divorce, the higher the final price tag for the process will be. Counter-intuitively, many couples sign that bringing in a mediator is one of the ways that they can keep costs a bit lower, as successful mediation can lead to a settlement and fewer court costs.
Seeking legal guidance to better understand what issues influence the total cost of a California divorce may help people plan the most effective approach to the process given their unique situation.