Getting a divorce is a time-consuming process that may cost a great deal of money. In Florida, the average divorce costs between $2,500 to over $25,000. The lower end of the spectrum for fees is an uncontested divorce, which includes amicably navigating through the legal channels, with the expertise and guidance of your attorney, to reach a final Dissolution of Marriage. The higher end of divorce costs occurs when couples cannot agree on most issues and the case must go to mediation and then possibly to trial. Before seeking help from a divorce attorney, it is important to understand what factors affect attorney’s fees and court costs. This will keep you from spending a fortune on the process.
Reasons Attorney’s Fees Cost So Much
Most divorce attorneys charge by the hour. When you have a lot of issues to address, the fees add up quickly. The most common problems include:
Equitable Distribution. The less you and your spouse can agree on how your marital assets are divided, and therefore need an attorney or a mediator to help you decide, the more your legal fees will increase. It is best to divide your assets amicably.
Child Custody. It is common for couples to disagree over shared parental responsibility/time-sharing issues. In Florida, this is one of the most costly issues in divorces. Since these battles are emotional, both sides may have a difficult time settling, which delays the divorce process.
Trial. If a divorce cannot be settled out of court, going to trial can be expensive. In these situations, attorneys will need to spend time preparing for court proceedings, and represent your interests, before a Judge, at the time-appointed trial. This factor alone will increase your legal fees, to a large extent.
Common Hourly Rates of Divorce Attorneys
In Florida, divorce attorney’s fees vary from firm to firm. The hourly rate for most divorce attorneys in this state, is between $250. and $500. In most instances, your attorney will require a consultation fee for your initial meeting. This meeting with your attorney is valuable, and the money is well spent, as you are given expert legal advice on your family law issues and are thoroughly prepared to secure much of the information necessary to move forward with your case in a confident and organized manner, which will ultimately save time and money on divorce proceedings.
An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties resolve their issues in a mutually satisfying manner, without the need to litigate in court. An uncontested divorce usually ends quickly, so attorney’s fees are much less than a contested divorce, which typically has multiple issues that must be resolved through more extensive litigation. An uncontested divorce usually costs between $2,500 and $5,000, whereas a contested divorce may cost double, triple or more… As you can see, the amounts of attorney’s fees widely vary, largely depending on how well the couple is able to negotiate and reach agreements on their marital and family issues.
Final Words of Wisdom: If you are filing for a divorce, it is in your best interest to negotiate with your spouse as much as possible. It will save both of you a great deal of time and money in attorney’s fees and court costs. The more effort that you put into settling your issues, the less money you will have to spend on legal counsel. Attorney Eric C. Cheshire is dedicated to helping people who are seeking a divorce lawyer and is committed to helping them save money during the process. Please feel free to read our article which includes more tips on how you can save money on attorney’s fees.
West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney Eric C. Cheshire, P.A., specializes in divorce and family law and offers more than 30 years of experience.. Give him a call at (561) 677-8090 for a consultation to review your specific case.