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Claremont, CA |

My wife after 24 years of marriage wants a divorce. How much do they usually cost and are the do it yourself kinds of divorces o.k. to use? We are making payments on a car that she can have and we own no property. She can have the children but if they want to see me I have no problem with that. I am currently unemployed and she is just starting a full time Job.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Your long-term marraige might indeed be suitable for uncontested divorce, but you would be greatly served by consulting counsel. There are many areas where you might not have considered the consequences of some decisions.

    Here is a link to some great info re: CA courts, and divorce.

    Good luck!

    The above is not intended to be legal advice, but may be used for general information. Please contact an attorney for specific help tailored to your needs.

  2. Cost depends on what an attorney will charge you. If you do-it-yourself, the cost will be the filing fee of $435. If, however, you make mistakes in preparing your documents, the cost will be much greater, which is why we tend to recommend that you have an attorney assist you so it can be done right the first time. Many lawyers, including myself, may offer flat fee arrangements in the case of a simple and/or uncontested matter. In the meantime, go to the Los Angeles Superior Court's web-site and click on the "self help" link for family law litigants. I believe there is a step-by-step instruction page for doing it yourself.

  3. This is a loaded question. It may start out uncontested and become contested. I offer flat fee agreements with clients with specific language spelling out my hourly fee should it become contested. There are also the filing fees as noted by my colleague above. I suggest you buy some books and/or go the self-help desk if you are determined to do this alone. You can do it (1) alone; (2) limited representation; (3) full attorney representation - you can be creative. I have also had clients just come in and pay a flat fee to review the file and the settlement agreement. I always prefer to handle cases from start to finish - that way we, as attorneys are totally familiar with all the facts. But if you are diligent and get educated, you can do it alone and/or have an attorney review the items. I find that self-represented make mistakes and find themselves doing things again and again until they get it right which may take longer. But if that doesn't bother you, have at it. I believe the books I recommed are by Ed Sherman I'll find them and put the links in the comment below. Most court houses have self-hep desks. We have several pro bono organizations outside of the courthouse as well (in LA) so you might want to investigate that option as well. Best of luck!

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