Getting divorced is an emotional and expensive process. Hiring an experienced family law attorney is essential so that your legal rights are protected. However, one of your big worries can be how much it will cost you to retain one.
How Attorney Fees Are Charged in Divorces
Even if you and your spouse agree on most issues in your divorce, it is important to hire your own lawyer because you each still have conflicting interests. One attorney cannot adequately represent both of you. Before retaining someone, you should know how much it will cost you. Attorney fees in divorces are often charged in one of these ways:
- Hourly rate. The most common way that lawyers charge their fees in a divorce is at an hourly rate for the time they spend working on a case.
- Flat fee. In uncontested divorces with few or no issues to resolve, some lawyers may charge a flat fee for handling a divorce. However, if disputes arise, they may charge additional fees.
- Retainer fee. Attorneys who charge on an hourly basis will often collect a retainer fee, which is a deposit on the attorney fees that will be owed, before starting a divorce for a client.
In addition to attorney fees, you will owe other costs associated with your divorce. They include:
- Filing fees for your complaint and pre-trial motions
- Service fees to serve your divorce complaint on your spouse
- Record copying fees
- Expert witness fees
- Deposition costs
Factors That Can Affect the Cost of a Divorce
Every divorce is unique, and several issues can affect the cost of a divorce. Some of these are:
- Contested divorce. If a divorce is contested, the cost will be far more expensive than in an uncontested divorce because the attorneys will need to work more on the case and attend more court hearings.
- High net worth. If the couple is wealthy and has a high income and assets, it can be more costly to hire experts to value the marital property and can take more time to reach an agreement on the division of property and alimony.
- Children. When there are children of the marriage, issues of custody, visitation, and child support must be decided. This could become costly if the spouses fight about these issues, and an attorney must attend numerous court hearings to get them resolved.
Depending on your situation, you may be able to ask that your spouse pay all or part of your attorney fees in your divorce. To learn more about your legal options and how we charge our fees in divorces, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.