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Attorney Fees: How Much Will My Attorney Cost?

I am frequently asked how much a case will cost. The truth is "I don't know". Not very helpful, but true. To know how much a case will cost would require having a really good ability to predict the future and know what everyone involved with the case will do, and if I had that kind of crystal ball, I'd be on an island somewhere, not working for a living!

Family law cases are billed on an "hourly" basis, or in increments of time. That doesn't mean by the exact minute but in either quarter hour blocks of time or in 6 minute increments. So, how much your case will cost depends on how much time is spent on your case.

How much you will pay also depends on the type of case you have. The more issues that need to be resolved the more money you are potentially going to spend. Cases where the parties are amicable and can resolve issues with minimal court hearings are usually resolved for less than $5,000, including the filing and process service fees of about $500. The average case where the parties do not agree on most issues or where there are minor custody issues or financial questions cost at least $5,000. If the parties are beyond being able to cooperate and communicate, or if experts are going to be needed to resolve things such as custody or dividing a family business, the fees can be over $10,000.

I try to give a best case guess and a worse case guess. I know that many lawyers try to give the answers prospective clients want to hear just to gain their business. I find this is a very bad idea as it usually results in a client being very disappointed and distrusting of the attorney.

It is important to have an attorney who helps you determine where your money is best spent, not an attorney who is just there to spend your money. A good attorney will help you pick and choose your battles so that you are making good decisions both financially and in resolving your case without overspending.

Categories: Divorce, Family Law, Retainer
The Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires & Associates, APLC 909-907-8783

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