The fixed costs of divorce are government fees paid to the rabbinical court and family court. These costs are set by government regulation and from time to time updated and published in court literature. If it is difficult for you to cover these fees, you can submit an application for an exemption, along with a recommendation from your local welfare office, at the time you open your file (before any court proceedings take place). In family court you will also need to add a declaration of your assets, your spouse’s assets, and, if you are supported by your parents, your parents’ assets. You will also need to produce documentation supporting these declarations as well as a record of all income for the six months prior to the suit.
» Consensual Divorce:
Court fees include: opening a file and certification of the divorce agreement (251 NIS) and two divorce certificates (251 NIS each). If you certified the divorce in family court, you only need to pay 251 NIS in the rabbinical court. If the divorce process ended in compromise or cancellation before any actual court proceedings, half of the fee will be refunded. If the suit ended in arbitration or conflict resolution, it is possible the court will order a full refund of the fee.
» Non-Consensual divorce:
The court fees in a case of a divorce dispute are higher than those in consensual divorce since it takes more of the court’s time. The fees include: divorce suit fee (438 NIS) and two divorce certificates (251 NIS each). Each additional application during the course of the proceedings will cost additional sums as follows (sometimes a temporary deposit will be required):
In rabbinical court, an accompanying suit for property division or to have a spouse declared a ‘rebellious spouse’ costs 411 NIS, while a suit for ‘domestic harmony’ costs 316 NIS; accompanying claims regarding sustenance payments and child support, custody and visitation rights (unless this claim is brought separately from the divorce suit, in which case it will cost 251 NIS), a request for a restraining order on leaving the country or a request for the impounding of property do not involve further fees.
In family court, you will need to file and pay for each claim and request separately. A sustenance or housing claim will cost 311 NIS; a claim for custody and for certification of a financial agreement will cost 556 NIS. A request for a restraining order is not included in the fee. A stay of exit order within the context of divorce proceedings is free of charge, but if it applies to minors in custody of the parent there is a charge of 311 NIS. If there is no custody file, a new one will be opened for a fee of 556 NIS. A request for temporary alimony or child support is free of charge. A request for temporary seizure of assets has a fee of 311 NIS, but, within the context of a request for alimony or child support, it is free of charge.
The additional costs of divorce are personal expenses involved with the upkeep of two households and the costs of employing legal and family counseling experts. These costs are not required by law, but many people find them necessary. In some cases, you can get by with just a few consultations, or even share the same lawyer or mediator, thus keeping costs down. In other cases, agreement will only be reached only after long months or years of expensive legal fees and litigation. There is a great variety of legal experts to choose from, charging rates that differ immensely. The rates are usually determined by the status and prestige of the expert, and sometimes even by his office’s location. Rates for dealing with the case can range from a few thousand shekels to tens or even hundreds of thousands, depending on the complexity of the case, its length, the scope of assets involved, the raising of issues of jurisdiction, appeals in other courts, etc.
Lawyers can calculate legal costs in various ways: based on hourly rates, according to one set price for the entire divorce process, based on a certain percentage of the value of the assets in dispute, or according to set rates for each of the services provided. It is advisable to compare prices (including times and methods of payment and the services included) and to receive recommendations, before making a decision. In addition to the private professionals who deal in these areas, there are also non-profit organizations whose rates are much lower and who take into account each individual’s financial situation.