The average cost of divorce in San Diego can vary from approximately $500 to several thousand dollars. For uncontested divorces, the price starts at a $435 filing fee and depends on whether you deal with the case completely on your own or turn to legal assistance with, for example, the form preparation. Of course, a contested dissolution of marriage, when you have to hire a lawyer or mediator, entails higher expenses.
Cost of Uncontested Divorce in San Diego
If spouses can reach an agreement concerning the division of marital property, child custody, spousal support, etc., they can file for an uncontested divorce, which costs $500-$700 if they prepare documents and deliver them to the court without the lawyer’s help. However, if you want to get some basic legal advice or clarify any point regarding the process, you can pay for a legal consultation with a divorce attorney.
It is highly recommended to file for an uncontested divorce whenever it is possible since:
- this type of legal case is faster due to the absence of discovery, case management conference, judge trial, and other time-consuming procedures.
- it is cheaper because you don’t need to pay attorneys and mediators.
- you will have more control over crucial points like property division, and there are more chances that you will be satisfied with the final decision, which is not always the case in complex contested divorces.
Instead of filing for divorce in a physical court, you can also start an online divorce in San Diego if your case is uncontested. Keep in mind that eFiling entails additional expenses set per the statewide fee schedule. We will be glad to help you with the divorce forms at a flat fee of $139, and since we deliver them in pdf format, you will be able to choose the convenient way to file.
Average Cost of Divorce Attorney in San Diego
The average cost of a divorce and custody lawyer in San Diego County varies from $150 to $500 per hour. The rate depends on their experience and reputation. In general, a specialist needs at least a couple of hours to familiarize themselves with your case and provide a basic consultation.
If you want a lawyer to prepare and file your documents and represent you in court, the final price of their legal services will increase accordingly based on the hourly rate and charges for court representation. The total amount you may have to spend on a divorce and custody lawyer in San Diego can reach $5000 or even exceed this sum.
Another thing to consider is a lawyer’s retainer, which is a sum you have to pay at the beginning of your cooperation. It covers some of the legal fees upfront and guarantees that a lawyer will not drop you as a client during a divorce process. A lawyer will analyze your case and its complexity, pre-calculate a probable final cost, and define a respective retainer.
If you can’t afford legal assistance but still require it, you may use free local services. For instance, this can be the Casa Cornelia Law Center, the San Diego Volunteer Law Program, San Diego County Family Law Facilitator, Central Courthouse Branch, or the Legal Aid Society.
Cost of Divorce Meditation in San Diego
In San Diego, a mediator can charge $150-$250 per hour for the first 2 hours of communication, depending on the case complexity. If this time isn’t enough, and parties don’t reach common ground, they will have to pay a mediator’s hourly rate. The fee is split between spouses equally. Usually, mediator fees are from $200 to $1000 per hour.
Mediation is a private, non-binding communication between spouses and a certified person who helps two parties reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of disputed issues. A mediator is a completely neutral person who neither makes a final decision nor resolves a dispute but helps clients understand each other’s side and personal needs. A mediation process is aimed at simplifying a formal trial and, potentially, helping to make a contested case uncontested.
Ernest Pritchard is a former family law practitioner who became a full-time writer to share his knowledge and guidance regarding divorce and relationships with others. He advocates for incorporating love into life and encourages couples to tackle challenges as a team. For those seeking a divorce, Ernest offers his recommendations and guidance through helpful articles and divorce checklists. His works have been featured in well-known relationship blogs such as Marriage.com and DivorceMag.