Generally, a family law attorney charges around $350 per hour but that cost varies widely based on the experience of said attorney and where they are located and may range from as little as $150 to around $650 per hour. Nonetheless, it is vital to comprehend how different attorneys’ price themselves and what is usually covered in those fee structures. Read on to learn more.
There are normally two forms of attorney’s fee structures:
- Flat Fees: This is a charge conventionally paid upfront and will cover the total cost of your attorney from start to finish, including any court filing fees or couriers.
- Hourly Rates: This more often used option is based on the total number of hours the attorney spends working on your situation. Hourly rates usually come with an up-front retainer fee as an initial payment and those hours are worked by the attorney and deductions are made from the fee as the hours of work accumulate. Invoices are usually generated every 30 days, at which point, the client is typically asked to “re-up” the retainer with fresh funds.
Fees can be adjusted on occasion because of the level of representation offered by the attorney. For example:
- On occasion initial consultations are offered at no charge. Usually in these early meetings, the attorney will listen as you describe the issue and offer some initial thoughts.
- When an attorney agrees to tackle only certain parts of your case this is known as limited scope representation. For example, an attorney may not handle visitation or child custody matters but may handle other aspects of your divorce case on your behalf (e.g. property issues).
- When an attorney handles your entire case and all aspects of it, this is known as full representation.
What Is Covered?
In normal circumstances the following are covered:
- Use of their resources.
- Legal Research time.
Examples of additional fees you may have to pay include:
- Transportation fees
- Travel fees.
- Court Filing fees.
- Expert witness charges
- Courier/delivery fees.
- Printing/reproduction fees.
Remember that attorney fees are often based on experience. So, an experienced attorney may charge $500 per hour but be able to complete the case far quicker and more efficiently than an attorney with less experience who charges (say) $150 per hour. All financial matters should be discussed prior to the outset of an attorney taking on your case. Any attorney will be able to tell you their fee structure and explain expenses and additional fees that may be incurred.
Source: Peeler, Travis. “How Much Will a Family Lawyer Cost?” LegalMatch Law Library, 12 Nov. 2019, www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/how-much-will-a-family-lawyer-cost.html.
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