The average cost of a divorce lawyer is $100 to $650 an hour or $10,000 to $15,000 total. The price of a divorce lawyer varies by location, whether the divorce is contested, and if there are any custody disputes.
You will probably pay a retainer fee, or an upfront amount paid before any legal work begins. A retainer is based on the lawyer's hourly rate and acts as a down payment that covers the costs of future hours. Many divorce lawyers apply the retainer to the total bill. The size of the retainer depends on the issues discussed during a free consultation:
A divorce lawyer helps file paperwork and negotiate the division of assets and custody during a divorce. If you can mediate every issue outside court, a divorce can cost a lot less than average and will be over sooner. If the divorce is amicable and you have no major assets or debts, you may be able to file the paperwork on your own. Just be aware that it is a time-consuming and frustrating process and may be delayed further if there are any mistakes in the paperwork.
You should hire a divorce attorney if your case is complicated or there is little chance of arranging terms without outside mediation. Common reasons for hiring a divorce lawyer include:
Divorce lawyers do not typically work on contingency, which means receiving a percentage of a settlement only if they win the case. Instead, divorce lawyers commonly charge per hour or work on retainer. Discuss fees and payment options with your lawyer before any casework begins.
Both parties usually hire different divorce lawyers. This way, both parties are equally and objectively represented by someone who will advocate for them. Each party is responsible for the cost of their own representation.
Start by searching our list of divorce lawyers, then:
When looking for a divorce lawyer near you, consider asking the following questions:
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