Divorce is almost always a difficult emotional experience, and it can be a financially costly one as well. Many couples do not realize how much a divorce will cost and are not prepared for the expense.
Before you decide where to file for a divorce, you need to make sure you meet the residency requirements where you want to file. Make sure that you or your spouse has lived there long enough to file a divorce.
There are several types of costs involved in filing a divorce. You may have to purchase the forms you need to use, or they may be available for free from the court or downloadable online. If you are initiating the divorce, you will have to pay a service of process fee to have someone serve the papers on your spouse. You may be able to get a friend to do this for free, but you can never do it yourself. Once your spouse has been served, you can file your papers with the family law court in the county where you are bringing the action. Each county sets it's own fees, but according to one online divorce service, legalzoom, the filing fees range from around $100 to $350. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, the court may allow you to file for free. Contact the family law court to get the right forms and find out the fees in your county.
The filing fee for beginning the divorce only covers the party bringing the divorce. If the spouse wants to file a document in response, he will have to pay an additional fee. When parties are using the same resources to get the divorce, its important to know that two fees need to be paid.
Many people think that filing the divorce is all you need to do, but that only begins the process. Issues like child custody and support, spousal support, division of property and debt have to be resolved before the divorce is granted. If the parties cannot agree, this can take several months to resolve.
There may be several other costs involved in a divorce beyond the filing fee. It you need an attorney to sort out a complicated situation or draft agreements, there will be attorney's fees, and you may need experts to value property. There will also be costs involved in separating and setting up two homes. These costs can be kept to a minimum if the parties can cooperate and use some alternative way to resolve differences, such as mediation or arbitration.