The Top 3 Factors that Influence the Cost of a California Divorce

by | Jun 21, 2024 | Divorce

When a couple divorces in California, they may believe they’re braced for how expensive and time-consuming the process will be. Nevertheless, many couples are still shocked by the size of the costs when the bills start to roll in. Despite all the popular information found online about the average cost of divorce in California (a commonly cited figure is $17,500), it can be extremely difficult to guess in advance how much a particular divorce will cost by the time it’s over.

This does not mean it is impossible to distinguish which divorces have a greater likelihood of being expensive to resolve. While some key factors influencing divorce costs can be reduced, others may be inherent and unchangeable. Knowing the top three factors that impact a divorce’s costs can help in understanding where managing divorce costs might be possible versus when certain expenses are unavoidable.


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Reason 1: The Complexity of the Case

One of the biggest factors that can drive up the cost of a divorce case is the complexity of financial matters and other shared issues tied to the divorce. To put it simply, the more issues that need to be addressed, the more time, money, and legal resources will be required to produce a fair, mutually acceptable outcome.

For example, a couple that has children and needs to determine child support and child custody arrangements will have more to work out than a couple without children. Similarly, property division will be more challenging and take longer in a high-asset divorce, such as with couples that have large portfolios of real estate, stocks, retirement accounts, and more to negotiate over, compared to situations where a couple has limited assets. Other common complicating factors include if one party is seeking spousal support or if one party owns a business, for example. If experts like forensic accountants or mental health professionals are needed to help resolve competing claims, this can also add to the cost of divorce.


Reason 2: Dynamics of the Case

Another crucial factor is how willing the parties are to work together. Couples who go into the process largely in agreement over the terms of the divorce, or who are able to respectfully negotiate and compromise through mediation, will save money compared to those who fight over every detail in court, racking up litigation fees. The reality is that it takes cooperation on both sides to effectively reach a settlement agreement and avoid litigation. When one spouse is determined to be hostile and combative, the divorce process will inevitably be longer, more stressful, and more costly than it might have been otherwise.


Reason 3: Legal Services

The cost of a divorce lawyer can vary considerably based on the lawyer’s location, overall experience, expertise in family law, and the scope of services provided. This is an area in which some couples may try to reduce their expenditure, either by choosing an attorney with a lower hourly rate or opting for limited-scope representation, in which their lawyer handles only certain aspects of the divorce. However, focusing solely on attorney’s fees may not be the ideal strategy to manage the overall cost of a divorce.

A more experienced attorney may be able to guide the case to a resolution more efficiently and negotiate more effectively on their client’s behalf, keeping the focus on important issues rather than wasting time in disputes over minor details. In addition, failing to get accurate and timely legal guidance can lead to mistakes that drag a divorce out longer. It can ultimately be more cost-effective to base the selection of an attorney on the quality of the services they provide, and if they can support you through the full scope of the legal side of divorce.


Providing Family Law Representation in Silicon Valley

At the end of the day, a divorce is a lawsuit, and can turn unexpectedly complex or contentious if you aren’t prepared. Finding effective legal representation can help you navigate the legal process, protect your long-term interests, and enter your post-divorce life in the best possible position. At Hoover Krepelka, our compassionate team of family law attorneys is experienced in handling every aspect of divorce. If you’re preparing for divorce, we can answer your questions and give you insight on how to move forward. To schedule your consultation, fill out the form below.  



*The above is not meant to be legal advice, and every case is different. Feel free to reach out to us at Hoover Krepelka, LLP, if you have any questions. Information contained in this content and website should not be relied on as legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice on your specific situation. 

Visiting this site or relying on information gleaned from the site does not create an attorney-client relationship. The content on this website is the property of Hoover Krepelka, LLP and may not be used without the written consent thereof.


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