Couple on the beach in Carlsbad.

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in California?

The cost  of  attorney fees for a divorce is often asked of those in contemplation of dissolving their marriage. Madonna is said to have recovered 75 million, Mel Gibson is said to have paid 425 Million to his wife, Rupert  Murdock reportedly paid 1.7 Billion. In these cases you just know the attorney fees were far more than the average of $15,000 in the United States as a whole.
The answer to the question is  difficult and is said to be like real estate and depend on “location…location…location.” With that said Los Angeles is generally less than New York. San Diego is less than Los Angeles, and Vista is less than San Diego.
If a case is contested most attorneys charge hourly. The hourly rates run from something like $150 per hour to $500. The lower hourly rate lawyer may be a beginner or work out of their home. The higher rate lawyers usually have a large staff and the nicest of offices. Many divorce clients are insecure about the process and believe that spending more money buys a better divorce. Some attorneys unfortunately are predators that take advantage of the situation.
The best way to reduce the cost of attorney fees is to find out what your are paying for before you hire an attorney. If your goal is to hire a Rambo lawyer then expect a Rambo like bill to fallow.
My suggestion is to get as much information about your finances before you see a lawyer the first time and concentrate on co-operating with your lawyer to resolve the division of assets in a business like manner and minimize the emotional issues. Some couples like to fight and continue it at great cost into the divorce process. However, approaching a divorce employing  good business principals will reduce the cost of attorney fees. The length of the case is maybe the number one factor contributing to higher attorney fees.
Many good lawyers are available in northern San Diego county in the range of $250 to $350 per hour. Some do  and some do not charge for extra services like secretarial.
I found no statistics, but I would think the average divorce in Northern San Diego County costs about $5,000 to $8,000 per side in a mildly litigated case?
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