The question of how much a divorce will cost is, of course, a common and fair question to ask. The quick answer is, “it depends.” Oftentimes, the cost of a divorce depends less on the hourly rate an attorney charges than the method by which the divorce becomes finalized, the issues involved, and the parties involved.
A divorce where the parties are able to reach an agreement through negotiations between their attorneys is going to cost less than a divorce that proceeds through the complexities of trial. The preparation and presentation of evidence for hearings and trials take time and effort and that translates into costs. Sometimes, this is unavoidable. Other times, parties can enter into agreed-to orders and that is going to cost less. Also, the number and types of issues that need to be solved in a divorce play a large role in the cost of a divorce. A simple divorce with few shared assets and no custody issues is going to cost less than a divorce where child custody and dividing large estates are at issue.
The reality is that sometimes experts need to be brought in to asses at-home and financial situations and report back to a judge, so that the judge can have a more thorough understanding of the facts. Those expenses, which are completely unrelated to attorney fees, are going to drive up the costs of a divorce.
Finally, a large factor in the cost of a divorce is the other spouse and their attorney. If the other spouse is not cooperative or high conflict, it will take a greater amount of effort to obtain a fair outcome in a divorce. Even more so, if the other spouse’s attorney is aggressive in their approach, it will likely drive up the costs of a divorce.
The solution is hiring an attorney who understands how to get fair results through using methods that throttle costs. There are many approaches and tools available to a family law attorney and it is important that you not only choose an attorney with whom you feel comfortable but who will tailor their approach to your situation with sensible solutions.