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How much will my divorce cost?

A new client had just come to see a famous lawyer.

“Can you tell me how much you charge?” asked the customer.

“Of course,” the attorney replied, “I charge $ 200 for three questions!”

“Well that’s a bit steep isn’t it?”

“Yes it is,” said the lawyer, “And what is your third question?”


As expected, I get this question on a daily basis. First of all, I can only quote what I charge. Often times, in divorce cases, you will need to hire other professionals, such as forensic accountants, appraisers, child custody evaluators, counselors, etc. Even just for my services, here is my answer (which never changes) DEPENDS.


One. Lawyers, like most professionals, are workers with long hours of work. The product I sell is my time. You are paying my time by the hour, which is charged in 6 minute increments. So if you call me for 5 minutes, you will be charged .1 (or $ 30). If your phone call is 7 minutes, that equals 0.2 (or $ 60).

Two. Unless it is a flat fee case (possible if there are no disputed issues), the more time you spend on your case, the more expensive it will be. The amount of time you spend on your case depends on you, your spouse, your spouse’s attorney, and the issues involved in your case.

With these two points in mind, I will now turn to my article (found on my website), The Purpose-Driven Divorce, to prepare some price estimates.


Purpose: Start the process.

Attorney time: 5-20 hours ($ 1500 – $ 6000)

Process server: $ 40 – $ 500

Court costs: $ 400

Time factors: Is the case new or have you been through multiple attorneys and collected 1000 boxes of documents? Is your spouse cooperative, or difficult to the core, and does he require private investigators to monitor and care for him? There are kids? Are there properties? Have you reached an agreement on something in your case?


Purpose: To have a sense of peace and order by having temporary orders in writing pending the Sentence.

Attorney time: 10 to 30 hours ($ 3000 – $ 9000)

Court costs: $ 40 per motion

Time factors: Do you cooperate and return my phone calls? Do you cooperate with my requests for documents? Are you immediately available to meet with me to go over the details of your case? Can you review your statements and get back to me as soon as possible? If you have witnesses, what is their availability? Do they cooperate? Is the other side represented? Is your representation well versed in family law procedure and protocol? Does the court hearing conclude in one day? Keep going?


Purpose: In a high conflict divorce and custody case, to protect the parties and children involved.

Attorney time: 15 – 40 hours ($ 4,500 – $ 12,000)

Court costs: $ 40 per motion

Time factors: Domestic violence restraining orders are extremely important and require a lot of preparation. Preparation time includes establishing the case, interviewing witnesses, taking statements, preparing statements, speaking with police officers. Are court appearances on schedule and do they take place without delay? Does the judge have time in his calendar to hear from all the witnesses? Do witnesses appear? Does the other side have witnesses? Have you anticipated all the problems that might come up at the hearing?


Purpose: to reach a fair agreement and make sure that the agreement is not

It was later canceled due to lack of disclosure.

Attorney time: 10 – 50 hours ($ 3000 – $ 15,000)

Costs for citations, documents: $ 500 – $ 1500

Deposit fees: $ 2000 – $ 5000

Court costs: $ 40 per motion

Time Factors: Discovery is perhaps the most tedious process in a divorce case. If you have few or no assets, there should be very few to work on. However, the more assets or debts you or your spouse have, the more time we will need to obtain the documents necessary to determine the value for settlement, and the more time we will need to review the documents received. If your spouse does not cooperate, we may have to file court motions to obtain the necessary documents. The time it takes to complete the discovery depends primarily on the cooperation of the parties and the availability of the documents.


Purpose: Obtain judgment by finalizing your divorce case

If the case is resolved:

Attorney time: 5 – 20 hours ($ 1500 – $ 6,000)

Time factors: How cooperative are the parties?

If the case goes to trial:

Attorney time: 50-200 hours ($ 15,000 – $ 60,000)

Timing factors: the trial is not a joke. You will pay for the attorney’s time day after day. – this includes prep time, test time, review time, prep time … throughout the day. It is not unusual for an attorney to bill 10-15 hours a day for trial. My mentor once had a test that lasted 22 days. I think it helps to think of the trial as an hourglass with your money as sand.

In conclusion, a divorce case can cost anywhere from $ 1820 (uncontested divorce) to hundreds of thousands of dollars. There’s always Britney Spears, who paid her attorneys over $ 1 million for her custody case, and Larry Birkhead, who paid her attorney over $ 600,000.

Yes, lawyers are expensive. But if you find the right one, they are worth it.

On that note, remember this: marriage is great and divorce is around twenty thousand.

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