If you are shopping for a lawyer, you may be getting a little frustrated that none of us attorneys will give you a straight answer on how much your will your divorce cost. Here’s why: there isn’t one.
Some Divorce Costs Are Fixed
Very few things in the divorce process are certain, but there are a few costs that come up every time. Expect to pay between $200 and $400 over the span of your divorce in filing fees. This includes your Complaint, Motions, and Judgment fees. The only time these fees don’t happen is in low-income, public assistance cases where a party files a request for Waiver of Fees.
Some Divorce Costs Are In Your Control
The biggest deciding factor on how much your divorce will cost is how well you and your ex are able to resolve disputes on your own. If the two of you can sit down and work out who gets what furniture then you won’t have to pay me and the other lawyer to do it for you. But if you and your ex can’t stand to even speak to each other, or worse, if one of you is trying to stick it to the other, you can expect both sides’ attorney fees to go through the roof.
Some Cases Just Take Longer
Most lawyers do not offer flat-fee divorces. That is because even if my client is willing to be flexible and get things resolved quickly, the other side can still delay things and rack up the time spent on the case. Whether the sticking point is who gets the kids or whether I really need a copy of his tax returns, you and your ex can make your case take much longer than the statutory 60 or 180 day minimum. There could be very good reasons why it takes more work to resolve issues from who gets the marital home to how transportation of the kids will happen, but if it does, it means I can’t work on other cases and I need you to pay me for my time.
Some Divorce Costs Have Nothing To Do With Lawyers
When you are deciding if you have the money for a divorce it is important to remember that I’m not the only one you will be paying. You will probably be renting a new home or at least a storage facility. You may have to hire movers or a truck. There could also be taxes or penalties if you sell your home or use a retirement account to pay off debts. Even if I could put an exact number on your legal fees, which I can’t until the case is over, that price is far less than your divorce will actually cost.
Divorce is not a simple or cheap process. It requires training and expertise. That is why you should always hire a family lawyer to help you work through your case as efficiently and inexpensively as possible.
Lisa J. Schmidt is a divorce lawyer at Schmidt Law Services, PLLC, in Ferndale, Michigan. She represents parents and families and helps them divide their assets fairly. If you or someone you know is facing divorce, contact Schmidt Law Services today for a consultation.