I represent clients in Maryland and DC so the costs may be different in your state. Now for a “lawyer’s answer,” the cost depends on your specific circumstance. Do you have children, a home, a disabled spouse or a very sick spouse, significant debt, retirement accounts, a spouse that refuses to work with you in getting the divorce or refuses to agree on a parenting agreement or a marital settlement agreement.
There is no set fee because the cost of a divorce is very dependent on the cooperation of your soon to be EX. That being said, you can find an attorney that fits within your budget. Some attorneys will charge a flat fee for a mutual consent divorce (no minor kids, nor property, and both parties want a divorce. You can expect to pay around $1,000. The more complex your divorce is, or becomes, you can expect $4,000 or more. You will be required to provide a retainer fee that will be drawn down as your case progresses.
Your attorney should provide you with a client engagement letter that details your obligations and the attorney’s obligations including her fees and how they are calculated and paid. Most attorneys take credit cards.
No, I have not lost my mind but the stores do have the holiday decorations out. It’s time to think about two very important family law matters: starting a new life in the new year by moving forward with your divorce and making plans for how your children will spend the holidays.
First, divorce. It’s time to speak to a lawyer to find out how the process works in your state. For some, there can be a 1 year waiting period where the parties must live separate and apart. In some cases, you may be able to get a mutual consent divorce when there are no children and all of the issues between you have been artfully put into a settlement agreement.
It’s time to start gathering the financial information you will need- your’s and that of your soon to be EX. It’s also time to talk to your tax advisor and see if it makes more sense, dollar wise, for you to file separately or together. Plan a time when you can talk to your spouse about your desire for a divorce (not on Christmas Eve of New Year’s Eve…really!!!). However, don’t spill the beans until you have made copies of all financial, stock, retirement, and other documents that will support your need for alimony or the reason you can’t and should not pay alimony. Alimony is not just for ladies anymore. (Don’t talk to your spouse if you are in an abusive situation. See a lawyer before you do anything. If you have very limited income, you may end up hiring a lawyer for no cost or low cost).
Second, your children. Plan together how you will tell them about the divorce. If you are already divorced or separated, decide where the children will wake up on Christmas day. And remember, it’s about the kids NOT you. The same goes for Thanksgiving and every other holiday. Be kind to your spouse and generous to your kids. Think of creative solutions such as 1/2 day visits on holidays because it doesn’t have to be all or nothing with holiday visitations.
You may not be husband and wife but you are still Mom and Dad.