How much does it cost to get divorced?
One of the most frequent questions posed to divorce attorneys is how much will it cost in legal fees to get divorced. The absolute reality is that there is no concrete answer to that question. The only correct answer that can be given is that it depends on the particular circumstances of your case.
By way of background, there are two main ways in which attorneys are paid for their time to represent someone in a divorce case. Typically the attorney is paid an initial retainer, which represents monies placed into a trust account. Lawyers have an hourly rate in which they bill for their time spent working on your matter. This time spent, as well as costs (including postage, copying, court filing fees and such) are paid monthly from the escrow account. In the event that the escrow account becomes depleted and there is still work to be done in your case then a request will be made to replenish your retainer. In the event that there are monies remaining in your trust account when your case is completed these remaining monies will be returned to you. Another, less common mechanism is paying your attorney a flat fee, which is a set figure that is paid to complete your entire matter. The particulars of how your attorney will be paid should be spelled out in a Retainer Agreement that will be executed at the beginning of your case.
Again, the amount of the initial retainer and your anticipated total costs over time will depend on the particular circumstances of your case. On one end of the spectrum are cases where the parties have already reached an agreement as to all the issues and/or there are really no issues in dispute. On the other end of the spectrum are cases that include those that drag on for years, have hotly contested issues, include expert witnesses, and/or are the subject of protracted litigation such as complex discovery or frequent motions. Or, there are countless scenarios that fall somewhere in between these two extremes.
While your attorney will not be able to give you a concrete estimate as to what your ultimate final bill will be at the end of your case, it is nevertheless prudent to discuss with your attorney the idea of budgeting for the cost of litigation. For example, if you know up front that there will be a genuine dispute as to custody then you need to plan for the potential expense of a custody expert. Or, if you believe that there are issues concerning the calculation of income or the value of a business then you need to plan for the potential expense of a forensic accountant. Or, if you know that your spouse will do everything in their power to delay or avoid the litigation then you need to plan for the possibility of filing motions with the court to address interim issues such as the payment of support and/or the production of necessary documentation. Of course, there is no crystal ball. But, the better that the attorney and the client understand the potential of what lies ahead the better it will be for the client to make sure that they are prepared financially to sustain the litigation.
All of the attorneys at Domers & Bonamassa are well versed and have years of experience addressing family law issues, no matter how complicated. Contact us today at (856) 596-2888 for a private consultation. We appear in the following counties: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Mercer, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May. Our practice areas include: divorce, custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, domestic violence, college expenses, equitable distribution, name changes, step parent adoptions, paternity issues, child abuse and neglect, prenuptial agreements, mediation and arbitration.
This posting is provided by Domers & Bonamassa, P.C. for their clients, advisors and other interested persons. Since technical information is presented in a generalized fashion, the communication is not meant to replace the need for competent professional advice and the reader should understand that the information contained in or made available through this communication is not intended to be a substitute for the services of trained professionals. As such, the reader should evaluate and bear all risks associated with the use of any comments, including any reliance on accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such content.