How Much Is a Divorce in California? DoNotPay Has the Answer!

Divorce Settlement Agreement How Much Is a Divorce in California? DoNotPay Has the Answer!

How Much Is a Divorce in California? Get the Answer NOW!

When your marriage is ending, finances are probably the last issue you want to think and worry about. With such high divorce-filing fees, though, taking the finances into consideration is a necessity. If you’re getting a divorce in the Golden State and want to know how much it’s going to cost you, you’re in the right place!

Besides answering the “how much is a divorce in California” question, we’ll show you how to get a low-cost option!

What Is the Average Cost of a Divorce in California?

How much you’ll have to pay when getting divorced depends on many factors, but the crucial aspect is the nature of the dissolution.


In California, the average cost of a divorce is $17,500, which is $2,500 more than the national average. If there are any disputed issues, this amount can increase even further. Fortunately, the number can be much lower in uncontested divorce cases.

Attorneys’ fees are the most responsible for the high divorce costs. Depending on the complexity of your case and the part of California you live in, these fees can range from $250 to $950 per hour. You should count on the initial retainer fee being anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000.

What Affects the Cost of a Divorce in California the Most?

To find a way to avoid steep attorneys’ fees and other costs of a divorce in California, you should figure out what causes them to be sky-high. In general, these factors impact divorce costs the most:

  1. Divorce type
  2. Marriage with children
  3. Financial disputes
  4. Divorce method

Divorce Type

A divorce can be contested or uncontested, and the type you choose (or qualify for) can make all the difference regarding the costs. People opt for uncontested divorces when they can agree on pivotal matters, such as:

  • Alimony
  • Child custody
  • Division of debts and assets

If you and your spouse qualify for an uncontested divorce, you can probably handle it without a lawyer. In case you can’t reach a settlement and there are many disputes, you’ll be looking at a contested divorce and sky-high attorneys’ fees.

Marriage With Children

If you have children with your spouse, divorce can be even messier and more stressful. Some aspects, such as child support and custody, can complicate the process, even if you have a friendly divorce.

In some cases, it also means more paperwork, a prolonged waiting period, and additional legal help—all of which can result in higher divorce fees.

Financial Disputes

In California, the community property rule is used to determine who gets what after a divorce. According to this rule, all assets that spouses gained during the marriage have to be divided equally. Disagreements regarding the value or ownership of assets can prolong the process and increase the costs.

Divorce Method

Did you know that you can get divorced without going to court? There are several divorce methods, and we’ll explore them alongside the litigation in the table below:

Divorce Method Explanation
Litigation This is the most widely-known divorce process. It requires both spouses to hire attorneys and get a divorce in court. It is also the most expensive option
Collaborative divorce This method requires both parties to negotiate divorce terms in the presence of more than one professional—typically both spouses’ attorneys and divorce coaches. There are often child and finance specialists involved. To reach an out-of-court settlement this way, you have to pay nearly as much as for litigation
Mediation Mediation consists of either lawyers or mental health professionals helping you and your spouse negotiate the divorce terms. They usually charge standard hourly fees for their services
DIY divorce A do-it-yourself divorce is the least expensive method. The plaintiff (person who’s petitioning for divorce) is in charge of everything—from gathering information to serving divorce papers. With this option, you have to pay filing fees, which are negligible compared to attorneys’ fees

How Much Are Divorce Fees in California?

The standard cost of filing divorce papers in California is $435. Besides this amount, you may have to pay additional fees if the county you live in requires it. You should always check the fees with your local clerk’s office to be sure.

If you’re experiencing financial difficulties and cannot afford the filing fees, you can submit a request at the clerk’s office. If you qualify, the court will waive your fees.

How To Get a Low-Cost Divorce in California

If you believe that you and your spouse can negotiate and agree on important matters without going to court, you can save a lot of time and money.

Here’s how to get a cheap divorce in California:

  1. Negotiate with your spouse
  2. Opt for a DIY divorce
  3. Find the uncontested divorce forms online at the Judicial Branch of California
  4. Request a fee waiver when filing your divorce papers
  5. Ask a friend or relative to serve divorce papers to your spouse
  6. Register for DoNotPay to get a settlement agreement and finalize the divorce

Don’t Waste More Money on Lawyers—Use DoNotPay To Draft a Divorce Settlement Agreement

One of the most important parts of finalizing an uncontested divorce is drawing up a divorce settlement agreement. Many people think they need to spend a lot of money hiring attorneys to create this document for them, but we’re here to tell you there’s a better way!

With DoNotPay’s budget-friendly service, you can get a personalized divorce settlement agreement in minutes!

Open DoNotPay and follow these steps:

  1. Find the Divorce Settlement Agreement tool
  2. Give us details about your spouse and children (if any)
  3. Tell us about your financial assets and how you’d like to allocate them
  4. Notify us if you need a notary

You’ll receive a customized settlement agreement that complies with California laws and rules and covers the case-specific information.

If you need more details regarding this matter, you should visit our learning center. DoNotPay can show you how to:

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