Obtaining a divorce lawyer can vary in price depending on your particular circumstances. The cost for a divorce lawyer will also depend on how complicated your case may be. Obviously if you and your spouse are in total disagreement about custody, division of family assets and support payments, the more you are going to require a skilled lawyer to negotiate an agreement. Conversely, if you and your spouse are in mutual agreement then your divorce will generally be quick and easy, and this will be reflected in the costs.
You have every reason to be concerned over the cost of your divorce since this is an out of pocket expense. A good divorce lawyer will be able to provide general information about the overall expenses of your divorce upfront. Typically, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100-$500 per hour for a qualified lawyer.
Trying to put a firm dollar figure on the cost your divorce may be difficult. As you can appreciate, every situation is unique and presents its own set of challenges. Attorneys fees for an average divorce can usually be pegged around $10,000, if the case does not go to court. However, if you’re in a situation where there’s a lot of disagreement between you and your spouse the dollar figure will be much higher – it’s not uncommon to see costs soar between $20,000-$50,000 for cases that go to trial. In short, it pays if you and your spouse agree to as much as possible. Your divorce lawyer should be able to determine whether your case can be solved amicably within a few weeks of taking your case.
How Can I Lower My Divorce Costs?
If you’re like most people, you probably would like to know how you can lower your divorce costs? I’ve outlined a few common approaches that you may want to consider.
- Legal Aid – Depending on your financial situation, you can be eligible for legal assistance. Under this scenario, the state may subsidize your divorce costs which is typically determined by your income and family situation. It’s worth noting that legal aid generally does not assist with the division of family property but rather provides help with custody, access and child support.
- Collaboration/Mediation (also sometimes known as collaborative family law) – If there’s agreement between you and your spouse on most issues, you may want to consider mediation. This process is fast becoming popular among divorce lawyers as it allows for spouses to negotiate an agreement under the supervision of a legal professional who is skilled in the art of collaboration/mediation. Generally, under this setting, each spouse will be represented by a lawyer who will help steer the discussion. They will document the areas of agreement and will encourage the parties to make compromises during points of contention. It has been found that mediation saves both time and money, if and only if, both parties are willing to compromise and reach a settlement.
- Coaching – A third approach that you may want to try in order to lower your legal bill is by way of coaching. As you’ve probably already learned, a family lawyer can be expensive. If you cannot obtain legal aid, then this option is a good one as you will handle all the issues of divorce on your own. However, you will utilize a lawyer to discuss your strategy and obtain guidance on the bigger issues. Consult a legal professional to see if this option will work for you.
What Is Right For You?
Without a doubt, if your situation is complicated your divorce can be very expensive and you will have every right to find ways to lower your costs. It’s important not to select your divorce lawyersolely based on his or her fees. If you and your spouse are amendable to compromise then your divorce lawyer should have no problem with providing an affordable service.