The Cost of Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in Southern California
Divorces can be expensive, and one of the highest expenses of a divorce can often be the attorney fees. When you are looking for an attorney, always make sure to discuss costs, fees, and payment methods upfront so that there is no confusion later on.
Remember that the cost of an attorney can vary depending on how you choose to divorce, and what you choose to use your attorney for.
The Cost of Self Representation in a California Divorce
If you choose to approach your divorce without hiring a lawyer, you can find a divorce kit online for around $100 or you can look up the necessary forms yourself on your local court’s website. At first, this may seem like the most reasonable and least expensive way to go. However, it is so important that before deciding to go completely sans-lawyer, you discuss your case with an attorney and understand the potential consequences of taking on a divorce on your own.
The highest costs and risks to you when you choose to represent yourself arise when you are in a contested divorce, especially when your spouse has a lawyer. If cost is the only issue, discuss your situation with an attorney and you may be able to have a temporary spousal support order that includes court fees and attorney costs.
Representing yourself in certain divorces can result in high costs in the end, especially if you end up with insufficient child or spousal support, or an unfair division of debts or assets. The purpose of hiring an attorney is so that you can use the law to your advantage and receive a fair divorce settlement that you and your family can live with. The cost of a lawyer will depend on the specifics of your case.
The Cost of Full Representation from a Divorce Lawyer
There are various ways an attorney can choose to charge you, from hourly fees, retainers, flat fees, payment plans, etc. On average, a flat fee can be as low as $200 for an uncontested divorce to $1,500 or more. An attorney in a rural area will usually cost less than an attorney in an urban area.
Full representation means that your attorney will be present at your court hearings, he or she will handle paperwork and filing, the lawyer should update you on the happenings of your case and help you to make informed decisions on how to move forward, etc. You should always discuss the expectations of both parties prior to signing an agreement with your lawyer.
If your divorce is particularly complex, ask your attorney about the cost of consulting specialists, especially when it comes to valuing property, child custody and visitation schedules, or uncovering hidden assets or debts. Usually, when an attorney is fully representing a divorcee, court costs are included in the attorney fees, but it is always a good idea to ask ahead of time. Court fees, process server fees, etc. can add up.
Limited Scope Representation in an Orange County Divorce
This might mean that your attorney helps you fill out the correct forms and prepare what to say in court, but you take care of the actual filing of the forms, and in court, your attorney is not with you.
If you are looking to save money on your divorce, limited scope representation may be the way to go. Discuss this option with your attorney, including your budget concerns and what you may be comfortable handling on your own.
Limited scope representation attorneys may also be appropriate if you choose to use a form of alternative dispute resolution to settle your divorce.
The Cost of Alternative Dispute Resolution or a Summary Dissolution
Divorce Mediation - During divorce mediation, neither party is allowed to have a divorce attorney present. However, they must hire a divorce mediator, who may also be an attorney. Both parties will meet together with the mediator to work out the terms of the divorce settlement. The cost of the mediator will depend on the arrangement with the couple, as well as the amount of time the couple takes to work out the terms of the divorce, and the number of things they need to work out.
Each party is also advised to consult with an attorney outside of divorce mediation, prior to signing any mediation agreements. The cost of the outside attorneys can vary, again, based on the location of the attorney, the attorney that the party chooses to hire, the complexity of the divorce, and the agreement with the lawyer.
Collaborative Divorce - During a collaborative divorce, both parties meet together with their respective attorneys outside of a courtroom to determine the terms of the divorce settlement. They are not constrained by the restrictions of the courtroom or any schedules or location barriers but those of the parties and their attorneys. The costs of the lawyers may vary, but it also depends on how quickly the couple is able to work out an agreement.
Orange County Divorce Lawyer
In summary, the cost of hiring a divorce lawyer holds a substantial amount of weight when determining your capability to file for divorce. One of the first questions people often ask when deciding whether they will file for divorce is regarding the cost. The cost of retaining a divorce attorney will vary. The specific details of a case will impact the estimated cost. It is important to keep in mind that everyone's situation will be different. If the divorce matter has many complex issues and the parties are unable to agree the case may be more expensive. The reason the divorce matter may cost more is due to the duration of the matter, additional court filings, along with the possibility for additional court hearings. On the other hand, if your divorce matter is simple with both parties able to reach an amicable agreement the cost may be lower.
Many attorney's offer a free initial consultation. When calling the attorney's offices you should inquire regarding the price for the initial consultation. In addition, you will want to find out if any special discounts are offered, as well as payment plans.
If you are ready to take the next steps toward retaining a divorce lawyer please call for a free initial consultation today. For further information regarding the cost of hiring a divorce lawyer please contact your local family law attorneys. Please call Yanez & Associates at 714-971-8000 for your free initial consultation. We look forward to assisting you with your family law matter.