Potential Costs of Uncontested Divorce. All divorce costs will be explained and approved by the client before the cost is incurred, so there are no surprises when it comes to the costs of the divorce.
1. Basic Uncontested Divorce at a flat rate. Includes filing fee charged by the Clerk of Court – $986.00.
a. This is the typical fee that is incurred for an uncontested divorce, but requires that there are no outstanding property issues that need to be decided or any issues of custody or support that are still undecided, unless they are being addressed by another court (Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court);
2. Property Settlement Agreement.
a. The parties can draft their own, but the enforcement of that document will be limited to the intent of the parties as described in the writing of the document, so people drafting their own agreements should be careful to use simple, exact language that clearly states the agreement of the parties, without ambiguity;
b. Attorney drafted PSA. An attorney at Virginia Divorce Now can draft the PSA, using the following rates:
i. $500 flat fee for simple PSA. This is by far the most typical attorney drafted PSA, however if it is not accepted by the other party, the cost for re-drafting and making changes will be $300 per hour;
ii. Hourly at $300/hour for complicated PSA documents and for negotiating agreements with the other party or their lawyer;
3. Qualified Domestic Relations Orders. These documents must contain language that is specific to the administrator of the retirement or deferred compensation fund, and each company or administrator has their own requirements. Therefore these documents are billed as an hourly fee, which is currently $300/hour due to the amount of research that can be involved;
4. Quitclaim Deeds. Used for the transfer of real estate, these documents can be drafted by an attorney in our office for a flat fee of $300.00 if the client provides all the necessary documentation (available from the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court where the property is located) for the deed to be drafted. If the client can not obtain that information, then the attorney’s time is billed hourly at $300/hour to obtain the necessary documents and draft the deed;
5. Name Change. A spouse can change their name as part of the divorce, for a reduced filing fee (charged by the clerk) and for an additional flat fee of $200.00;
6. Attorney Fees. If the divorce is expected to be uncontested and the spouse is expected to cooperate, but that doesn’t happen, there could be court appearances, negotiations, document drafting and other legal fees, usually billed at $300/hour although some flat fee rates can be available in some situations. If this situation arises an attorney will discuss your options with you and help you to decide how to proceed.
The following fees can be incurred in a divorce that are not legal fees, but are paid to third parties, depending on the situation.
7. Publication. In cases where location of other spouse is not known:
a. Paid to local newspaper, that is a paper of general circulation in the Commonwealth of Virginia;
b. Generally $300-400, and must run for three weeks;
8. Service of process. Normally in an uncontested divorce the other party will sign a document accepting service of process, and waiving further notice, however if they refuse to do so, the papers must be served on them and could incur the following costs;
a. $12 by sheriff;
b. $40-200 by process server depending on the location and type of service;
9. Incarcerated Spouse. If the other party is incarcerated and does not initiate the divorce or retain counsel of his own, a Guardian Ad Litem must be appointed to represent the incarcerated party. The filing party must pay the costs of the Guardian Ad Litem unless the spouse is incarcerated for an offense against the filing spouse. The costs of a Guardian Ad Litem can be substantial.
Photo by Sharon Mollerus