Friday, July 27, 2012

California Divorce Court Fees

The prospect of getting a divorce is certainly a devastaing experience. But while it may be emotionally difficult, it may not be as financially crushing as you might expect. The basic California divorce court fees are one aspect of the process, but it may not be the only area of expense. You have some control over the cost if you are willing to approach the divorce rationally and in a cooperative manner. A review of the entire process will help you understand what to expect and help you make financial plans.

The legal process begins with the required forms. You can download them for free from the California Courts web site. Be sure to read all instructions carefully and fill out all the necessary documents. You will need:

  • Petition - Form FL-100. This form provides basic information to the court and allows you to ask for any court orders you want.
  • Summons - Fm FL-110. This form covers the divorce or separation process as well as some standard  orders with repect to your assets and liabilities. It also addresses moving out of state with your children.
  • Property Declaration - Form FL-160 Is an extension to FL-110 to fully list your properties and debts. 
  • Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (Form FL-105/GC-120) is required if there are children of the marriage under the age of 18.
  • Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment - Form FL-311is not required, but will help ensure that all custody and visitation issues are addressed.
Once you have filled out all of the forms it is a good idea to have them reviewed by an attorney. There are no regulations governing attorney fees, but the average in California is between $250 and $400 per hour. You may also get some assistance at a self -help center through your county court. Under certain circumstances you may be eligible for a summary dissolution instead of a divorce. The filing fee is $395. Some courts require local forms as well as the state mandated forms. You can find out whether this is required in your county of residence by checking its website.

When your forms have been completed and reviewed, you will need to file them with the court. California divorce court fees are $435 for the initial filing. If the party who is not filing needs to respond to the claims made in the initial filing, the spousal response fee is another $435. This is why it is much less expensive to come to agreements ahead of time as to property, debt, child custody, visitation and support payments. If you can't afford the fees, you can request a waiver.

The person filing must serve the other spouse with copies of all of your paperwork. The law says you cannot serve your spouse yourself, but you may have a friend or family member do it for you. Otherwise you must hire a process server or sherrif to deliver it, both of which will charge fees. Your spouse has thirty days from the date served to respond. If you and your spouse are in agreement, the divorce process is fairly simple from this point. If not, extended court battles and attorney fees can be extremely expensive.

That is all of the California divorce court fees, but when there are children involved the court can order psychological evaluations and treatments that can be very costly. If you focus on equitable solutions for both parties and not on winning or losing, you can minimize the financial burdon of this difficult legal situation so that both of you can move on with your lives.


  1. I really want to thank the author for such a nice blog that helped me to know about court. I always find a good option while reading your blog . Thank you for shearing this informative article here. Gretna Defense Attorney

  2. You need to have a clearly understood fee agreement. Also you should keep in contact with the attorney to know how your car accident case is going.

  3. I admire this article for the well-researched content and excellent wording. I got so involved in this material that I couldn’t stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thank you so much. Gretna Divorce Lawyer

  4. Such a lovely collection which you have shared here. I liked your way to express your views in this article. Thank you for sharing this blog with us. debt settlement lawyer

  5. Your blog had very good knowledge and that gave huge instructions and that was really commendable ideas. you have provided good knowledge on this topic please share more information with us. divorce attorney bluffton

  6. Thank you for taking the time to post this blog. I am pleased with your work after reading this post. This is very useful for us. Keep sharing such blogs. my divorce papers