The Costs Associated With A Divorce

One of the most frequent questions we are asked is: how much does a divorce cost?

There is no simple answer to this question. There are the court fees, first of all. These are fees that are payable directly to the court and the amount is very dependent on the path the case takes. In a simple uncontested divorce, there is a $157 filing fee for the filing of the divorce application plus an additional $10 for the filing of the form to search the Central Divorce Registry. And, as long as the divorce remains uncontested, when the affidavit for divorce is filed, there is a further $280 fee to be paid to the court to set the matter down before a judge to be heard. And then, after the judge grants the divorce order, there is a further $19 fee to have the divorce certificate issued by the court. If there are problems and the person’s file does not proceed as smoothly as they may have initially anticipated, there may be further court fees as well, and court fees may also change. Thus, the person wanting to obtain the divorce may have to pay several hundred dollars to the court just in the filing fees alone.

There are also fees payable to the process server. The process server is the person who serves the opposing party with court documents such as an application for the divorce. The process server also travels to the court to have documents issued by the court and to file documents with the court. We conduct a lot of business with process servers so the companies we use give us very reasonable rates.

For issuing or filing a document at court, the fees generally range from $20 to $35 but can even go as high as $120 if we need the process server to serve something in a rush. And, the fee for personally serving someone with a document varies a great deal depending upon where that individual resides. Typically, process servers charge us anywhere from $35 to $75, and of course, these fees are passed on to the individuals we represent. Depending on the process server, those fees may or may not include several attempts at trying to serve somebody. And, the fees may or may not include an extra cost for the process server’s mileage.

Then there are the lawyer’s fees which usually make up the bulk of the fees that individuals pay on their file. We usually charge our clients based upon the time our staff works on their file. And, we also bill our clients for disbursements such as photocopying, courier and postage fees. If a person’s file proceeds smoothly and amicably then we will not have as much work to do and it will cost less. If a person’s file is contentious and goes on for a long period of time, then we will generally have to do more work and the fees will be higher. But, it’s really difficult to say how much a file will cost from start to finish. And, again it is best to speak to a lawyer who can find out the facts of your situation and provide you with an idea of how much they expect that the file may cost.

Even when it is uncontested divorce and there are not any other issues, it is still an expensive process.

If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with family law issues in York Region, Durham Region or Toronto, contact Feldstein Family Law Group for a consultation.

This article is taken from a November 14, 2008 interview with Michael Wilson, Family Lawyer with Feldstein Family Law Group,a Toronto Ontario Family Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.