HOW MUCH WILL MY DIVORCE COST? FACTORS TO CONSIDER
Everyone who is going to go through a divorce wants to know how much it's going to cost. The answer is, it depends on several different things; how much your spouse is going to fight you, how many assets and debts you have, and how much parenting time each spouse is going to get. Those things all contribute to how long a divorce will take as well as how much it will cost.
In a typical divorce, there are several different pieces including negotiations, mediations, and during the discovery process there may be depositions and preparations for a trial. If you go through that entire process, it's obviously a lot more expensive than if you're able to settle the case earlier on in that process.
So, one of the things that you'll want to look at is the model that the attorney sets up. A lot of attorneys just bill for these types of cases on an hourly basis. While we do bill many of our cases on an hourly basis, we also have a flat rate model so people know they can do certain pieces of the case for a set amount of money, and that's something that people may have more confidence in.
WHAT CAN I DO TO REDUCE THE COST OF MY DIVORCE?
People often wonder if there's something that they can do to reduce the costs of a divorce. And the truth is, there absolutely is.
If people come here with all of their paperwork in order, make fewer phone calls and communications via email over and over again to the attorney, it will cost less money when billing at an hourly rate.
With all documents gathered together, we can sit down with them and lay out the process, which will take a lot less time and, therefore, cost them a lot less than someone we have to continually reach out to and say, “we need this, that and the other.” Being prepared can certainly save you a lot of money.
One of the other questions that people have is what is a retainer and how does that work. A retainer is simply an amount of money that's placed in a trust and that account is billed against as we go through and work on a case each month. Invoices are sent out and the money that's in trust is swept into that account and pays for the invoices. People will need to continue to have money set aside in trust to be able to have work done on their case.
IF I DON”T WORK, WILL MY SPOUSE BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ATTORNEY FEES?
Some people wonder if their spouse will have to pay for their attorney fees if they don't work. The answer is, there are times when the court can order someone to pay the other spouse's attorney fees. You can file a motion for temporary orders and request that the court order an allocation of money be given to that person in order for them to pay for their attorney fees. There are specific parameters that govern that.
Typically, most people are going to have to pay for their own attorney fees going through litigation, and then even at the end of litigation, unless there are significant issues in the case where people are doing things intentionally to drive up costs, or intentionally being unreasonable. It's a judge-specific issue, but we typically ask that the other side pay for attorney fees. Sometimes the court will allow it and sometimes they won't.
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