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Hidden Costs of Georgia Divorce
Attorney's fees, expert testimony costs, home appraisal fees, alimony, child support, and property division. These are the costs that commonly come to mind for many when thinking about the potential costs of divorce in Georgia. However, there are few costs associated with divorce that are not generally thought of or even discussed until it is necessary to pay them. There are several potentially hidden costs of Georgia divorce, but there are three that are common to most divorce in Georgia: filing fees, service fees and Parenting Seminar fees. Below is information concerning each of these potential costs along with price ranges commonly associated with them.
In every divorce case, unless special or extenuating circumstances apply, a filing fee must be paid to the Clerk of Court of the Superior Court in the county where the divorce action is filed. In Georgia, each county is allowed to set its own filling fee, but the fee must be within a certain range. Currently the average filing fee that must be paid to file for divorce in Georgia is between $200.00 and $220.00. Although some Court Clerks accept credit or debit cards, many do not. Thus, it is necessary to pay this fee either via money order, check, certified check or cash.
In addition to the filing fee, a service fee must also be paid. This fee is the cost to have your spouse served by the Sheriff's department with the divorce papers. This fee is almost universally $50.00, if you have the divorce papers served by the Sheriff's department. But there is another option. Divorce papers may also be served by private process servers, who are private individuals, granted permission by the court to serve service of process on individuals involved in divorce and other civil matters. Generally, if service is successfully made on the first attempt, the fee for private process servers is only slightly more than the Sheriff's fee. However, if several attempts are necessary, the fees for private process servers increase, and may total to be upward of $100.00 or more.
Parenting Seminar Fees
Several counties in Georgia have established what are normally referred to as parenting seminars or seminars for divorcing parents. Generally, these seminars must be attended by both parties to a divorce in the divorce involved minor children. The seminars are educational, often focusing on the effects of divorce on the children involved. These courses are held several time a year, and must often be completed before the case may be resolved. The fees for parenting seminars generally tend to be from $25.00 to $50.00. Because the requirements and fees for parenting seminars range from county to county, it is important to either speak with a Georgia divorce attorney, or the Clerk of Court in your home county to learn the specific details on your county's parenting seminar.