Cost is probably the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks about hiring a divorce lawyer. And while the price isn’t always the only factor to consider when choosing an attorney, it is critical as it plays a significant part in helping clients settle for what meets their budgetary preference.
So how much will a divorce lawyer cost?
Lawyer fees vary broadly, and the total cost of your divorce will base on a range of factors, including where you live, the attorney you hire, whether your spouse is collegial or combative, the number of issues that you will need to resolve, to mention a few. It is the same case as when you want to know how long your divorce case might take to complete.
So, the easiest answer to this question, “how long will a divorce lawyer cost” is “it depends.” Well, this isn’t a clear answer, however, when the critical issues surrounding the divorce are considered, the price of divorce becomes a little clearer. Here is a general breakdown of factors that cause divorce costs to vary:
Contested or uncontested divorce
A divorce that’s uncontested will cost way less than one that’s contested, reason being, the spouses have a common ground on most (if not all) of the issues involved in the case. In addition to the cost of hiring a lawyer, court fees and charges will come into play with every single paper that’s filed with the court. Although there are different reasons for contesting a divorce, it’s more cost-effective to have a collaborative divorce.
Having children doesn’t imply that you will need to pay more, but if a guardian ad litem is appointed, custody evaluations and psychological examinations need to be conducted, or an expert testifies or is deposed, then you’ll end up spending more.
You are responsible for paying your legal fees, and your spouse is responsible for paying their legal fees. However, there are some notable exceptions where the court may order attorney’s fee: for instance:
- When there’s a huge financial gap between you and your spouse
- If dividing the asset will need a significant amount of court time; and
- One spouse isn’t able to afford adequate representation
Determining an attorney’s fee
Lawyers can charge either a flat rate or an hourly fee. You’ll need to establish which billing method the law firm in question is using, so you can determine whether it is the right one for you, or not. Fortunately, an experienced Galveston divorce attorney can narrow down the kind of work that goes into a divorce. After the free initial consultation, you will have an idea of what could go into your case, including:
- Motions that need to be filed and defended
- Trial and possible appeal
Attorneys with years of experience representing clients in divorce cases will charge more than those who are just getting started. Many years in practice may translate to incredible knowledge, established relations, more resources and a good name, which come with a price tag.
Your location will also influence how much you will pay for your divorce. Law firms in areas that charge high rent will charge more, to cover for their overhead costs.