Please note that all online divorce platforms are not the same. Much of the content below does not apply to BlissDivorce. BlissDivorce is the only complete online divorce solution, including property division, child custody, spousal support, and AI-powered Digital Divorce Mediation™.
Each divorce case has a unique nature and may affect the divorcing parties differently. While many people still take the traditional route and hire a lawyer to represent them, that may not always be the best option. Furthermore, we often hear separated couples question why are divorce lawyers so expensive?
That’s why, in this article, we reviewed the common cost of lawyers and their involvement in the divorce process. By understanding how an attorney may influence the case and what their obligations are, you’ll know if hiring one will truly be worthwhile. We also shared some less-expensive alternative options that may better fit your situation.
So, if you plan on separating from your partner, you’ll be ready to make a suitable choice after learning about the expenses. Continue reading to discover why divorce lawyers are so costly and what other options you should check out!
Why Are Divorce Lawyers So Expensive?
Divorce lawyers are expensive because of several reasons. Generally, the legal expertise, the case’s emotional nature and complexity, conflict resolution, tons of administrative work, and the overhead lawyer costs are just a part of the reasons for the lawyers’ high fees.
There are many alternatives that may save you tons of money, like online divorce services, which provide the same outcome but without hiring a lawyer at any step of the process.
To define how much are lawyer fees for divorce representation, we’ll review the costs and obligations they’re responsible for.
Expected fees and expenses for divorce lawyers
As mentioned, the exact costs of hiring a divorce lawyer may vary depending on your location and complexity of the case. Since some situations require more delicate strategies, the typical attorney expenses may increase alongside the duration of the process. Furthermore, some states have obligatory divorce fees that you have to pay to start the divorce.
For example, it may cost up to $450 to start a divorce process in California, so including a lawyer can make it even more expensive. But how much is a retainer fee for a divorce lawyer?
Despite the court fees, it may cost between $2,500 to $5,000 in retainer fees to begin working with an experienced attorney. This can be viewed as a downpayment to ensure the lawyer will be paid for their legal advice and services. This primary payment is usually determined based on the complexity of the case.
Furthermore, they may ask for the general hourly rate between $175 and $500 even after paying the initial fee. This price usually varies depending on the experience of the attorney you’ll be working with. With the primary costs set in place, the average expense of having a divorce lawyer through the whole case can be anywhere between $7,000 and $25,000+.
Divorce lawyer obligations
After looking into the expenses, the next step is to elaborate on a divorce lawyer’s obligation. This way, you’ll decide for yourself whether divorce lawyers are worth it and if hiring an attorney is your best option. That being said, here are some of the common tasks a divorce lawyer may commit to during the process:
- Offering legal knowledge and support
- Negotiating on your behalf
- Helping with asset division
- Working on strategies for child custody and spousal support
- Helping out with required paperwork
Other factors that may influence the price of a divorce lawyer
As with any practice, there may be other factors that influence the overall price of hiring a divorce lawyer. Some of the most common reasons why the price for an attorney may rise are the following:
- Child custody
- Complex financial assets
- Spousal cooperation level
The first factor that may influence the price of working with a lawyer is whether you and your partner have children. Deciding on child custody may be a long and complex process where both parents can’t find a mutual agreement. However, this may only put more strain on the child and further complicate the case.
In most situations where child custody and support are involved, divorce lawyers tend to have a higher price due to the nature of the subject. Ensuring the minor’s safety and well-being requires a professional with experience in family law and disputes. Thus, you shouldn’t be surprised if the costs are higher than what you’ve planned.
Complex financial assets
Complex financial situations may also affect the amount of money you’ll have to spend on a divorce lawyer. If you and your partner have a lot of assets that need to be divided, you may need help from a financial expert. Furthermore, there are many cases when one party has hidden assets and debts that need to be assessed before a fair asset division is concluded.
Although it may sound simple, dealing with complex financial situations is very time-consuming. Thus, many lawyers may charge you extra if you want them to help you reach the best outcome.
Spousal cooperation level
Despite the contentious issues your divorce carries, it is still important to be mature and cooperate with your spouse during the whole process. Good cooperation means less court visitations and lawyer representations, which equals paying less for divorcing.
However, this does not mean that the divorce will be cheap or easy, but the divorce expenses will arise if your spouse is unwilling to work with you. Moreover, there’s not much you can do, but continue the legal battle and pay the high lawyer expenses for extra representations.
Cost-Effective Alternatives to Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
Now that you know how much is a lawyer for divorce going to charge, you should be aware of other less-expensive divorce alternatives. The ones that may be most beneficial so far are online divorce services and DIY divorce. Since not many people know what these practices offer, we explained what they consist of and the difference between the price ranges.
Online divorce services
Online divorce platforms could be the best option for everyone who wants to dissolve their marriage in a human manner. These services allow spouses to divide their assets and property independently, reach an agreement on child custody and support, and complete the process required for filing a legal separation.
Not only is this option quite time-saving, but it will also save you tons of money. Most online divorce platforms have fixed rates for all divorce plans, which are a couple of times lower than the price you’ll pay for a lawyer representation.
For example, you can get started right away and later invite your spouse and mutually review the asset, debt, and custody terms and finalize your divorce petition for prices starting as low as $1500.
The maximum price you might pay for an online divorce can be around $3500. Such plan includes child and spousal support agreement and divorce mediator consultations, great for couples who have disagreements.
Whether you can not agree on property division or face some difficulties managing child custody and alimentation, a skilled mediator might help you find a mutual language. This way, you will resolve all disputes between you and your spouse without arguing and making the process emotionally harder.
The more complicated of the two alternative options is DIY divorce. Even though it’s one of the cheapest divorce processes, it requires substantial knowledge and careful planning. As the name implies, filing for a DIY divorce means that you’ll be dealing with all the legal requirements and paperwork yourself. Thus, you should never rush into this process and be mindful of all the details.
Even though there are different requirements depending on your location, many states offer guides to help you start the process. For example, California has a self-help guide that lists the needed documents and explains the process step-by-step. Depending on the state you’re in, there may be a difference in how much this will cost you.
In general, a DIY divorce may cost as little as $435. However, you should also inform yourself of the filing fees and other expenses.
A major downside downside is that you won’t have anyone to help you out with the paperwork, so you’ll have to thoroughly review them before filing. That’s when online divorce platforms like Bliss Divorce come into play. With our platform’s help, you keep your paperwork organized and reach a fast decision about asset division and child support. If the forms aren’t correctly filled in, you may be asked to start the process from the beginning.
So, why are divorce lawyers so expensive? After reading this article, it’s easy to say that several elements influence the price of divorce attorneys. While there is an initial fee that you’ll have to pay, there are also hourly rates you should be aware of. Furthermore, if your divorce involves complex financial situations or child custody, the price may also rise depending on the case’s complexity.
Depending on your circumstances, there are alternative options to hiring a divorce lawyer for a successful outcome. If you have the time and experience to deal with the paperwork, consider a DIY divorce, which is by far the cheapest option. On the other hand, online divorce services like BlissDivorce have various plans to help you during your separation, including the opportunity to work alongside a divorce mediator.
Lastly, remember that divorce processes are long-term commitments that may take a toll on you. So always ensure you go into them with a cool head and without rushing in. Only then can you focus on crafting the best strategies and making the right choices.