People often ask how much it costs to get divorced.  The answer is “it depends.”  Certain costs are predictable.  Currently, it costs $400 to file a divorce petition in a Minnesota district court.  Some counties charge slightly higher, depending upon the amount of the surcharge for the county law library.  If each party appears in the proceeding, each party has to pay their own filing fee of $400.

It costs $100 to bring a motion for temporary relief (or to file any other kind of motion) in family court.  This is in addition to the $400 court filing fee.  Again, each party that appears in the motion proceeding has to pay the $100 filing fee.

It costs $25 to file a document by fax, even for a one page document.  Sometimes, because of time deadlines, it is necessary to file by fax.  If the fax is more than 50 pages, it costs another $25.

To start the divorce process, the responding party has to be personally served with a copyof the Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.  Depending upon who does the service, the cost can be $50 on up.

If the court requires a custody evaluation, this can cost quite a bit.  In the past, courts had internal court services workers who would perform custody evaluations.  Generally speaking, the courts no longer offer this service because of the cost.  So, custody evaluations are often done by professional psychologists or sometimes professional social workers.  The cost of a custody evaluation typically starts at about $5,000.  This would be an inexpensive evaluation.

If the parties agree on everything, it could still take 10 or so hours of attorney time to prepare all of the paperwork and actually get the parties divorced.  If the parties have a lot of assets to divide (retirement accounts, real estate, motor vehicles) it can take more than 10 hours, even with an amicable settlement.

If the parties disagree, divorce can cost quite a bit.  The biggest cost is the cost of a contested child custody proceeding.  This can cost thousands and thousands of dollars.  Sometimes its worth it to fight about this, and sometimes its not.  This is a decision that one needs to make for one’s self, weighing the benefits and the disadvantages.

If you have questions, feel free to call Minnetonka Family Law at (952) 270-7700.