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Divorce costs vary widely

The cost for filing divorce in California is approximately $435 -- but that only includes the filing of the divorce documents. For most couples, the paperwork isn't the part of the process that has the most cost attached. Depending on how many issues you need to work through, e.g., custody, alimony and property division, divorce can cost much, much more.

At the low end, most couples spend a few thousand dollars on a divorce, often when they are working through a civil divorce and are using a lawyer or mediator. At the high end, couples can spend tens of thousands on the divorce process, especially when dealing with contentious or high-value divorces.

While this might seem disheartening for couples who are seeking divorce, the highest costs are not the norm. There are ways you can reduce the cost while still receiving a legal, valid and professionally-assisted divorce.

First, it's important to understand that divorce, like many things, is often only as good as the investment you are willing to make. While do-it-yourself toolkits do exist, it's common that such DIY divorces end up back in court later because something important was left out or the parties are not in complete agreement. The cost of working with a legal professional now can save you money and stress later.

You can also reduce the cost of divorce if you, as a couple, agree on some things from the outset. This is obviously not always possible, but if you can go into the process with an understanding of how property will be divided or custody will be arranged, then you might experience less need for litigation. Whatever you decide, working with a lawyer for your divorce can help you ensure your interests are protected now and in the future.

Source: ABC 10, "Getting divorced? How to end your marriage without sacrificing too much money," Gabrielle Carol, Feb. 09, 2016

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