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How much will it cost to file for divorce?

The filing fee for a divorce petition or complaint is approximately $100-$350 in most counties. It generally costs an additional $100-$200 to file a response to the petition. These fees are collected by the government and are in addition to any service or legal fees.

Who pays for the cost of the divorce?
It makes no difference who talks to an attorney first and pays an attorney. The costs of the divorce are often split, but this is definitely something that can be negotiated. Often the moneyed spouse pays all or most of the cost.

How long does it take for a divorce to be final?
On average, there is a zero to six month waiting period after the initial divorce petition is filed and served on the other spouse before a divorce becomes final. A judge may make a final ruling, or judgment, on the divorce prior to that date. This order will be effective immediately. However, the marriage is not finally dissolved, and the spouses may not re-marry, until after the waiting period.

During the period between the judge's order and the expiration of the waiting period, any action taken by either spouse is a separate act. In short, these decisions will no longer effect community property.

Of course, if a divorce cannot be resolved agreeably and requires litigation or a trial, it could take longer than six months to finalize.

How is child support determined?
Most state laws have guidelines to determine child support payments. The payment amount is based on each parent's income and the amount of time he or she spends with the children. The guidelines also provide for add-on amounts for the following expenses:

  • Child care
  • Health care and health insurance
  • Special educational or other needs
  • Travel-related visitation
Parents can increase or decrease the guideline amount if the following conditions are met:
  1. Both parents acknowledge they are fully informed of their rights under state law and the amount of child support is mutually agreed upon
  2. Both parents declare that the agreed upon amount is in the children's best interests and will adequately meet their needs and
  3. For welfare recipients, the right to support has not been assigned to the county, and neither parent has a public assistance application pending
Keep in mind that the judges presiding over divorce proceedings are the ultimate authority on child support decisions. They can deviate from the guidelines as they see fit.

What happens if we reconcile and want to cancel the divorce?
You and your spouse can dismiss the divorce after the papers have been filed. Simply request a dismissal form from the county clerk anytime before a judgment has been entered. If no response has been filed, the petitioner alone can file the dismissal form. If a response has been filed, both spouses must sign the dismissal form.

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