Family Law & Divorce FAQ

How Much Does the Divorce Cost?

The answer to this will absolutely depend on the circumstances of your case. In divorce cases, parties need to consider both the filing fees and the retainer fees. All counties will have a first appearance fee so that you can file the petition; in most cases, this is approximately $450. There are other costs, but the “major” expense is the first appearance fee. In addition to that, there will be a retainer fee. This is for hourly rate cases. At our firm, the hourly rate is $425 per hour with Attorney Edgar and $350 per hour with our associate attorneys.

In addition to that, our spousal staff has an hourly rate. If our firm is working on the case, we will bill you. Every month, you will receive an itemized billing statement that explains all of the charges and the work we did for you that month. Because every case is different, it is difficult for us to estimate the cost for you.

We offer a 25% discount to military members (active, retired, and reserve).

For an uncontested divorce, our firm offers a flat rate of $1,500 so long as both parties are in complete agreement. For this flat rate, we will prepare all of the paperwork; this does not include filing fees.

Because we know cost can seem intimidating, we can often offer payment arrangements or financing. You can discuss these options during a free consultation with our firm.

To learn more about the cost of divorce, we encourage you to click here.

Where Do I File for Divorce?

In California, you are required to file for divorce in the county that you have resided in for the last three months. In order to file for divorce, you must have been a resident of the state of California for six months. If you do not meet these residency requirements, you may file for a legal separation. Then, once you have reached the requirements, you and your spouse can amend the petition to a divorce.

What Is the Difference Between Divorce & Legal Separation?

Legally speaking, a divorce will terminate your marital status—meaning that it is a final way to put an end to the relationship. That being said, the procedure for divorce and legal separation are very similar. In both, the court will determine arrangements for child support, alimony, custody, etc. However, if you are filing for a legal separation, your marital status will not actually be terminated. You will still be legally married.

To learn more about the difference between divorce and legal separation, please click here.

How Long Does a Divorce Take?

In California, divorce will take a minimum of six months. This is known as the “waiting period” and is required. Not even the judge can shorten that period of time. It is required so that you and your spouse do not change your mind; it is a period of time given to you by the court in case you want to reconcile.

How Are Divorce Papers Served?

The first step in divorce is to file the divorce petition or summons, which will outline the most important information. After this has been filed, the papers will be served to your spouse. This will let them know papers have been filed and that the divorce has been started. At our firm, we advise you use a certified process service. We employ one and can arrange for the service of process according to your instructions. Divorce papers can be personally delivered to your spouse, mailed along with an acknowledgment form that must be signed, dated, and returned, mailed via certified mail, served by a sheriff, etc.

Can I Stop a Divorce Once It Has Been Started?

If your spouse has filed for a divorce, there is no way for you to stop it unless there is a mutual agreement by both parties. You do not have to agree with the divorce for the process to continue.

Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First?

Usually, no. Whoever files first will be known as the Petitioner and the responding party is known as the Respondent. However, regardless of whoever files first, both parties will be required to pay the first appearance fee and filing fees. Both parties can seek out a temporary order. The only true advantage to filing for divorce first is the party who files first presents their case first if it proceeds to trial.

Where Else Can I Find You Online?

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