How Much to File a Divorce in California?

Last updated on October 7th, 2022 at 07:36 am

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The divorce cost in California is $435, which is the filing fee that you need to pay. If your spouse responds to the divorce complaint, then they also need to pay $435.

These are the costs for an uncontested divorce. If there is a divorce case, then the costs will naturally increase. You need the services of a divorce lawyer to help you win the case, and you will need to pay attorney fees.

How much does a simple divorce cost in California?

A simple divorce refers to divorce proceedings that is uncontested. In such a case, the costs would be less. You only need to pay the filing fee, which is $435.

What does it cost filing a divorce in California with child?

When you have a child and are then filing for divorce, the process becomes a bit more complicated. There are many issues to be decided like child custody, child support, visitation rights, etc.

Even if both parties agree to the terms of the divorce, the process takes time. If there is a contested divorce, then the services of forensic accountants may be needed to clarify of finances.

On average, the costs to file a divorce in California with child would be $26,300. The filing fee is only $435. Other costs are mostly legal fees.

How much does it cost to get a divorce if both parties agree?

The easiest way to get a divorce is when both parties agree. When there is a collaborative divorce and no contest, then the divorce proceedings are smooth.

When both parties agree to the divorce, there is probably no need to use a lawyer’s services. When such is the case, the costs would be $435, which is the divorce filing fee.

Under certain conditions it can be possible to get a summary dissolution of the marriage. This speeds up the process.

However, if issues like child custody and spousal support are not resolved the costs can go up. The couple can then try mediation to try and arrive at an amicable solution.

Mediation fees or legal advice fees are extra.

What is a wife entitled to for a divorce in California?

A straight interpretation of the law is that a wife is entitled to 50% of the assets in the marriage. They can also claim 40% of the husband’s income for spousal and child support.

Assets in the marriage are known as community property. It refers to all the assets purchased through money earned during the marriage. This includes businesses too.

Child support needs to be paid if the wife gets custody of the child.

As per California law, there is no fixed alimony for a wife. The alimony has to be decided mutually or in divorce trials.

The exact costs would depend on various factors like:

  • Income being earned by the husband.
  • Assets and debts of the marriage.
  • The duration for which the marriage lasted.
  • Whether there is a child in the marriage.
  • The standard of living prior to the divorce.
  • Whether the two partners are financially independent.

How to file for divorce?

Before filing the divorce papers, it is important to know if the two residency requirements are met.

  1. Either of the spouses must be resident of California for 6 months, and
  2. For 3 months in the county where the filing is being done.

The California courts website has forms that need to be downloaded, filled, and then filed.

  • Form FL-100 (Petition – marriage), and Form FL-110 (Summons) are two forms to be filed.
  • FL-160 can be filed to declare property owned.
  • If there are minor children, then the form to be filed is FL-05/GC-120 (Declaration under uniform child custody declaration and Enforcement Act). FL-311 (Child custody and visitation application attachment) is optional, but is advisable to file.
  • If you have received a divorce notice, then you need to file FL-120 (Response – Marriage). Also, FL-330 (proof of personal service) or FL-335 (proof of service by mail) needs to be filed.

If both parties agree to and are eligible for a summary dissolution, then a joint divorce petition can be filed with the settlement agreement during the court appearance.

The filing fee of $435 needs to be paid to the court clerk. If you are not in a position to pay, you can file FW-001 and request the court for a fee waiver.

Financial disclosures are required to be served. The forms include:

  • FL-140 (Declaration of disclosure).
  • FL-150 (Income and Expense declaration) or FL-155 (Financial statement).
  • FL-142 (Schedule of Assets) or FL-160 (Property declaration).

Once the divorcing spouse serves the forms, then FL-141 (Declaration regarding service of declaration of disclosure) needs to be filed.

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What are the different types of divorce in California?

There are four types of divorce in California:

  1. No-fault divorce that make it easy to get a divorce.
  2. Uncontested divorce, where both parties agree.
  3. Simplified divorce, where the marriage is summarily dissolved.
  4. Limited divorce, which is like a legal separation.

How much is an online divorce California?

An online divorce can be done where the spouses can do the paperwork themselves without a divorce attorney. The cost is the filing fee, which is $435.

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What was the cost of divorce in California 2021 – has it gone up?

The cost of divorce in California 2021 is $17500 (if there are no children). If there are children, the cost is $26,300. The costs remain the same and have not gone up.

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FAQs relating to how much to file a divorce in California

The FAQ given below tells you all you want to know about California divorce costs.

How can I get a quick divorce in California?

If you want to get a quick California divorce process, it is a good idea to opt for summary dissolution in a court hearing. This is possible if you have been married 5 years, have no children, and both waive spousal support.

What is the cheapest way to get a divorce in California?

The cheapest way of getting a divorce is through an uncontested divorce. This is where both parties agree for the divorce and there are no disagreements.

The only cost is the filing fee of $435.

How much does a divorce cost in California 2022?

The average cost of a divorce in California in 2022 is $17,100 (without children) and $26,300 (with children).

These are average costs, the exact costs depend on whether the divorce is contested or not. Attorney’s fees would contribute to majority of the costs.

Because of the high cost of living in California, the divorce costs are 37% higher as compared to rest of the country.

What are the 5 stages of divorce?



Divorce is a painful process that happens when there are irreconcilable differences in a marriage. The legal process involves getting a mutual divorce or going through a contested divorce and awaiting a court order.

The emotional process is challenging to manage. It involves five stages depicted as D-A-B-D-A.

The 5 stages of divorce are:

1) Denial

This is the first stage where the mind refuses to accept reality. Denial occurs because a person is not able to process what is happening.

Denial can be accompanied by shock. It would involve shedding tears and suffering emotional and physical symptoms.

Everyone goes through the denial stage, but the intensity may vary.

2) Anger

The second stage is anger. Here there is a feeling of betrayal and rejection. There may be a strong feeling of being deceived by a partner who was trusted.

Anger can be with the partner, with oneself, or with the entire process. Anger can be accompanied by frustration and anxiety.

This can cause problems in people who resort to substance abuse or binge eating to resolve the situation.

3) Bargaining

In this third stage, the person bargains and guilt begins to set in. There is a thought on ‘What if I could have done things differently’.

People try to rehash how things happened and wonder if a better outcome would have happened. They try to negotiate with their spouse to try and save the marriage.

4) Depression

Once reality sets in, the fourth stage of depression may be experienced. People experience it with different intensities.

There is grief and a feeling of loneliness. The realization that one is now permanently separated from the spouse has to be accepted.

While some people manage this stage easily, others find it difficult. Serious depression issues may be experienced and the help of a counselor or therapist may be required.

5) Acceptance

Once all the above four stages are complete, it is time to accept the inevitable. This is the acceptance stage where one is ready to move on.

The realization sets in. People understand that this is now a reality. They get support from family and friends to forget the past.

This is when people start making plans for the future and try to move ahead in life.

It is important that one gets help if they are finding it difficult to cope up during any of the five stages. One should pay attention to their physical and mental health, so they can recover well.

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