Divorce Lawyers Cost Money
When money is tight, a person seeking a divorce should consider the total cost of the action.
Every divorce requires the filing of a Complaint (or Petition) for Divorce, which, depending upon the county and jurisdiction, costs between $150 to more than $200. Normally, a process service or constable serves the papers on the respondent (or defendant), and the fees for this may go as high as $75.
Indigent persons may appeal to the court to a waiver from paying filing fees. The terms and conditions vary from county to county and jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Lawyers often ask for a retainer, against which they bill for their services on an hourly basis. Depending upon the county, divorce lawyers charge between $100 and $500 an hour. Some lawyers advertise flat fee divorces, but anyone using this should understand what the flat fee covers.
Divorces become increasing complicated when additional considerations are part of the case. The simplest actions are those where there are no minor children, no property, no significant assets and no disagreements. Simple cases where there are no significant disagreements generally require only a few hours of a lawyer’s time; complicated cases - those where there are minor children (with disagreement about custody and visitation), a house to dispose of, arguments about alimony and child support - can consume many, many billable attorney hours.
Resources & Tools
DATE OF SEPARATION – Depending upon the laws of the state of residence, the Date of Separation – called the DOS – has a profound impact on the eventual division and distribution of property and debt, including credit, pension benefits, and other marital assets. As of the DOS, the separated spouses are now in limbo legally and financially and remain so until the actual Date of Divorce. A great deal of money may be at stake. For example, one spouse may share responsibility for any debts incurred by the other; the value of a retirement plan or other marital asset, such as residential property, may fluctuate, often by thousands of dollars.
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Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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