Family Law Filing Fees in San Diego County

If you are heading to the court house to file a Petition for dissolution of marriage (or a Response), don’t forget to bring your check book. Here in San Diego County, the current filing fee for a “first paper” (which includes a Petition or a Response) is $395. And while that may seem quite expensive, it could be a lot worse.

The Associated Press recently reported on a new law in Romania which allows each of the country’s municipalities to set their own fee for a divorce. The towns’ fees range across the board, with the most expensive being Sangeorgiu de Mures. Couples divorcing in Sangeorgiu de Mures must pay 10,000 lei, which is approximately $3,370. To put this in perspective, The Associated Press reports that this amount is nearly 60 percent of the average annual salary. Interestingly, the fee to divorce in Sangeorgiu de Mures is 2,000 times what it costs in the capital city of Bucharest.

So why the high fee in Sangeorgiu de Mures? The Associated Press reports that the goal is to discourage divorce, as many of the town’s 8000 residents are catholic. And in fact, it appears to be working. According to The Associated Press, a number of couples have actually decided to remain married after learning of the high fee.

Unfortunately, here in San Diego, the first paper fee isn’t the only filing fee a divorcing couple may have to pay. The fee to file a motion or Order to Show Cause is $40, with an additional $20 charge if that motion is to modify or enforce a custody or visitation order.

If you are receiving public benefits, are a low-income person, or do not have enough income to pay for your household’s basic needs and your court fees, you may qualify for a fee waiver. If you qualify, and woud like to ask the court to waive all or some of your court fees, you can complete and submit a Request to Waive Court Fees (Judicial Counsel Form FW-001). The form, as well as the current fee schedule, are available on the San Diego Superior Court’s website.

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