In these difficult economic times, it has become increasingly common for people to be very concerned about the cost related to their divorce. It is important to remember that this process can dramatically affect your financial situation for years to come, so hiring a divorce lawyer is ultimately an investment. That said, anyone considering a divorce should have a clear understanding of the costs and payment structure involved with hiring a family law attorney.
Ultimately, the cost of your legal services come down to the hourly rate charged by your attorney, and how many hours they will need to spend on your case. This often makes people think that their attorney's objective is to work as long as they can at as high of a rate as possible. What any good lawyer will be aiming to do is get you the best possible result in the appropriate amount of time. Divorce with a difference is all about listening to what's important to you, and then customizing a plan that will efficiently and effectively achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Whether or not you and your spouse have agreed upon being civil through the divorce
I have seen cases where a husband and wife are in total agreement about how assets are divided, and I've seen other cases where literally every possession in the divorce is scrutinized and argued about. The less time you and your spouse spend fighting over who gets what, the more of it you're going to be able to keep. We've all heard horror stories about people fighting over assets until there's nothing left.
Your attorney's hourly rate
You wouldn't want to pay $200 an hour for someone to mow your lawn, but you also probably wouldn't want someone to perform surgery on you for $10 an hour either. Paying for an experienced family law attorney is the best way to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family. I don't recommend hiring the most expensive lawyer you can find, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend hiring the cheapest either.
Whether you and your spouse are in agreement about child custody and visitation
If your divorce causes a custody battle, additional costs like psychiatric evaluations or expert witnesses, can increase costs quickly. I will make every attempt to fully understand you and your spouse's unique circumstance and work towards a custody agreement that is in the best interest of the children.
The amount of marital assets and debts that need to be settled and divided
If you and your spouse have a general agreement about who will stay in the house or how any outstanding debt will be divided, your divorce will typically be less expensive. Dividing 401(k) accounts, IRAs or other retirement assets can become complex.
Generally speaking, the most you and your spouse are in agreement, the less your divorce will cost. That said, you don't want to concede to less of your end than you are rightly entitled to.
If you are contemplating a divorce in Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Marietta, Smyrna or in the North Atlanta Metro area, contact my Sandy Springs law office to work with an experienced lawyer who will work with you towards the best outcome for your unique situation.