My husband and I have not lived together for over 10 years. I filed for divorce 10 years ago while I was incarcerated, but neither of us actually went to court. The order of divorce is on file with the courts because we have a child. Our son is 16 years old and he lives with his father. I am not trying to get custody.
I am pursuing the divorce now because I am currently in a relationship and want to be able to progress in that relationship. My current husband and I get along and there is no property to be split up. It's merely a matter of getting the separation on paper.
I would like to know about how much it would cost and if I would have to start paying child support. I am currently on SSI and support my son the best I can, but there aren't any custody issues.
Elder Law Attorney
Would you have to pay child support? Probably, until your son turns 18. Child support is determined by adding up the income of both parents and figuring out what percentage each contributes to the whole (it is all a rather mathematical process). For a divorce like the one you described, I would say the amount it you cost depends on the lawyer. However, this far down the road, do not expect you have to break the bank, considering there are no property issues, no custody issues, etc.
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Family Law Attorney
If both spouses agree on everything and there are no real property or retirement plans, the cost of a dissolution of marriage can essentially be the filing fees (about $300 in WA). If the spouses are low income, they can ask the court to waive all or most of the filing fees.
Most of the mandatory pattern forms for WA family law proceedings are free at http://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/ . Some public libraries allow their customers to print out some documents for free. So, there may not be any monetary cost in obtaining the blank forms.
Alternatively, packets of blank forms can be bought at the superior courthouses for less than $50 per packet.
From the page for the court forms, there is a link to WA LawHelp. That site provides informative self-help guides.
The family law facilitators, located in the superior courthouses, charge less than $50 to help a person fills out the forms.
If there are real properties or retirement plans, there are costs to file the deeds or to submit the QDROs needed to divide the funds in the retirement plans.
Hiring an attorney to prepare agreed forms probably costs a few hundred dollars.
If you can, you likely should at least review your specific facts with your attorney. If there is a minor child, especially if the child has received any type of public assistance, your situation likely is more complicated than you realize.
Family Law Attorney
The cost is very unpredictable. If the parties are in agreement on all issues, they should be able to fill out the mandatory forms on www.courts.wa/gov/forms. The filing fee varies from county to county, but is in the $200 - 300 range. Minor disagreements can often be resolved by going to a mediation service like the Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution, which accepts mediations for parties in other counties.
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