“..whether you settle your divorce quickly and spend $5,000, or go all the way to trial and spend $50,000.00 or more, the results probably won’t be that much different. The question is what path do you want to take? “
Call Jeffrey Hap for a free initial consultation.
Jeffrey Hap answers that question with a comprehensive divorce fee schedule. Prior to retaining us to handle your divorce, you will be well aware of the approximate cost of your divorce, as well as a good understanding of how to help control the cost of your divorce.
It is true that it may be difficult to pre-determine the cost of a divorce. However, the vast majority of divorces fall into specific categories. For example, most divorces settle somewhere along the way. Rarely does a divorce go all the way to trial. Over years of practicing divorce and family law, and handling literally hundreds of divorce matters and numerous trials, we can help you chart your path, so that you can keep the cost of legal services and costs to a minimum.
All divorces begin with an initial retainer, plus a cost advance of $500.00. The cost advance typically includes the filing fee (approximately $420.00, and services of process fee of at least $100.00). Sometimes the initial retainer is considered a flat fee. However, if the divorce changes, for example an uncontested divorce becomes a contested divorce, then an hourly service rate will apply. Attorney’s services are charged at the rate of $350.00 per hour, and paralegal services are charged at the rate of $125.00 per hour.
Definition: A simple uncontested divorce is a divorce with no children, no assets or liabilities that need to be divided, no real estate, no alimony, and no issues. No marital settlement agreement is required, and the parties are in agreement and will cooperate to obtain a divorce.
Includes:Meeting with the client, draft the Petition, Consent and Waiver, Final Judgment, and attend the Final Hearing with the client.
Definition: An uncontested divorce with marital settlement agreement (MSA) and no children, is a divorce in which the parties do have all or some of the following: assets, liabilities, residence or real estate, but are in agreement as to how to divide their assets but require us to draft a marital settlement agreement to enforce their agreement.
Includes:Meeting with client, drafting the Petition, Consent and Waiver, Final Judgment, Marital Settlement Agreement, and attendance at Final Hearing.
Definition: An uncontested divorce with marital settlement agreement (MSA), is a divorce in which the parties do have all or some of the following: assets, liabilities, residence or real estate, and child(ren) but are in agreement as to how to divide their assets but require us to draft a marital settlement agreement to enforce their agreement.
Includes:Meeting with client, drafting the Petition, Consent and Waiver, Final Judgment, Marital Settlement Agreement, Parenting Plan, Child Support worksheet, establishing account with florida Support Disbursement Unit, and attendance at Final Hearing.
Definition: A contested divorce with or without children is a divorce whereby there are any outstanding issues including but not limited to division of assets and liabilities, attorney’s fees and spousal support (alimony) both temporary and permanent, as well as children’s issues including timesharing, child support, custody or relocation.
Includes:Typically the initial retainer includes meeting with the client, drafting the Summons and Petition, Answer or Counter-Petition, Financial Affidavit, Mandatory Discovery, interrogatories, production. All time is tracked and logged and if it appears the initial retainer will be exhausted, a request for an additional retainer goes out to the client, usually in increments of $5,000.00.
Definition: A complex divorce matter is a contested matter that has complex and/or unusual issues which require more substantial litigation. For example, if the parties own a business or if there is a professional practice (such as a physician), if the financials are complicated whereby a forensic accountant may be needed, or if there are very substantial assets, or hotly contested custody or alimony issues, you may have a complex divorce matter.
Includes:In complex cases, all billing is based on an hourly attorney and paralegal rates. Often there are substantial costs for experts as well. There is essentially no limit to the cost of a complex divorce matter.
*Additional Costs: All out of pocket costs including but not limited to the following are in addition to the above rates; filing fees (differs by county but typically just over $400.00), process service (also differs depending on the time needed to serve someone, whether it’s local service or out of state service, etc. – usually from $100.00 to $200.00), fedex, court reports (for depos, hearings, trial, etc.), deposition transcripts (if ordered), expert fees, preparation of QDRO’s or appraisals. All fees invoiced as per actual cost to the Firm – no built-in profits of any kind on costs.