How Much Will it Cost to Start My Family Law Case in Los Angeles?

Hossein Berenji, Aug 01, 2016

One of the first questions people often ask when they seek a divorce lawyer’s assistance is ‘How much will my case cost?’ Unfortunately, the answer given is often unsatisfactory because it can be vague.

At the outset of a case, it is difficult to determine an exact dollar amount a person will be charged because all cases are different and each case has qualities that can make the process more or less expensive. The typical response to the question ‘How much will my case cost?’ is a frustrating, “It depends.” The time spent, the complexity of the case, and experience of your attorney are all factors that affect the final dollar amount for your proceeding. If you need information on how much a divorce might cost, call our Los Angeles office today for a free case evaluation.

What are Some Definite Costs that Will Appear in My Family Court Case?

Even if you choose to represent yourself, there are still basic costs involved in filing a lawsuit. To begin a lawsuit you must pay filing fee with the court. As of July 1, 2016, Los Angeles County has a new list of fees that are required to file certain cases. While some actions such as a petition to prevent domestic violence have no fee, others like filing for a divorce or legal separation have fees as high as $435.

Child custody cases that require a two-day parenting plan assessment can have fees as high as $1,950 just to file. The majority of cases require some sort of filing fee to begin, and this cost is one that individuals should be aware of.

There are some scenarios in which a court will waive these filing fees. In order to file without paying a fee, you must file a fee waiver. There are a few ways to qualify for a fee waiver:

  • You are receiving some form of public benefits like food stamps, Medi-Cal, Cal-Works, SSI, Tribal TANF or CAPI.
  • Your household income before taxes is less than 2,484.38 per month for a family of four (or less than the income levels listed in section 5b of this form).
  • You do not have enough income to pay basic household expenses and court fees.

As part of your court case, you can also expect to pay attorney’s fees. While you can avoid paying attorney’s fees by representing yourself, this would likely put you at a serious disadvantage in a contested case. You can find more information about attorney’s fees as part of your family court case here.

How Can a Divorce Lawyer Help Your Case?

Whether your case is simple or complex there will be costs involved. The lawyers at Berenji & Associates have experience in ensuring that your rights are protected and that you only pay the minimum costs required. If you have a family law issue, do not go it alone. We help keep costs low by offering a free case evaluation for your case. Contact us  today for help on your case!