The question divorce lawyers hear the most when they are consulting someone for the first time is “How much will this divorce cost?” The right answer is “hard to say,” but this is not always the answer a client wants to hear. The only costs divorce attorneys know for sure that will have to be paid are those filing fees that are required by the court. Apart from hard costs and the types of billing, it is near impossible for a divorce lawyer to give a client an accurate idea on day one of how much it will cost. This is for a few very good reasons.
Depending on the client, there may be a need to have extensive direct contact throughout the process, meaning that the costs for phone bills and other communications will add up. As family law attorneys work by an hourly rate, this can be significant.
There are a few different ways in which your spouse will handle the divorce.
- Ready to move on with their life
- Angry and wants to get revenge
- Thinks that you two may have a chance of getting back together and will try to delay proceedings
- Feels sorry for themselves
In other words, he/she may be approaching the issues emotionally; that is certainly understandable and “normal”, but nonetheless is often a factor in delaying legal resolution of the issues.
If they wish to drag out the proceedings, there are many ways to do so. This is especially common for those who are not being represented, as they will not be hit with lawyer fees every time motions are filed and where even “tiny” issues wind up having to be litigated.
Constant communication with the opposition lawyers will also raise your costs. Your lawyer is duty bound to read all correspondence and pleadings that come from the other side. Matthew M. Kremer will always try to work with the opposition in order to get an agreement that is good for both parties, thereby saving both sides the expense and aggravation of litigation. But it must be recognized that what your divorce attorney does for you is “proactive”. We can control that. When the other side takes some action, we have to react; we have less control, obviously, over what the other side does or does not do.
Complexity of the divorce and number of issues
The largest factor in the determination of divorce costs is the number of issues that are contested and the complexity of those issues. When the split is complicated and has many different variables at play, the longer one can reasonably expect the process will take to complete. If the issues are relatively straightforward, one or two hearings will usually suffice.
In order to avoid high litigation expenses, the goal should be reaching a reasonable settlement of all issues, or at least as many issues as possible. That requires compromise on the part of both parties.