The cost of your divorce is directly dependent upon how complicated your case is and how many issues you and your ex can agree upon. The least complicated and therefore least expensive cases are short term marriages where there are no assets, no debts and no minor children. The most complicated cases are custody battles and high asset cases. But even complicated cases can cost you less if agreements can be reached without litigation.
Most family law attorneys will require a retainer to be paid at the start of a case. My retainers range from $3500 to $5000 depending on how complex the case is. The retainer is deposited into a trust account and cannot be touched until it is earned. The retainer serves to guarantee payment for the work initially performed on your case. When the retainer balance reaches $500 your case is reviewed and a determination is made as to whether the retainer must be replenished or you will be allowed to pay your balance month to month.
Is a legal separation less expensive than a divorce?
The legal process to obtain a legal separation is exactly the same as that for a dissolution of marriage. So, no, the cost for a legal separation is not less than a divorce.
How do I get custody of my child when I was never married to my child’s mother/father?
A Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities is what you file with the courts when you and your child’s other parent were never married. The courts will decide decision making, parental responsibilities (custody), parenting time and child support unless you and your ex are able to agree. What you do agree upon is reduced to writing called a “stipulation” and this stipulation is filed with the court. If the court accepts your stipulation it is made an order of the court. If you agree on parenting issues but not child support or vice versa the court will decide the unresolved issues for you.
My ex is still paying the same amount of child support that was ordered at the time of our divorce. How do I get it increased?
Child support is always modifiable if you can prove a substantial and continuing change in circumstances (ie. Increase in income) that will result in the child support going up or down more than 10% than the current order. So if the child support right now is $500 per month you need to show that it should be $550 or more based on the change in circumstances.
Comprehensive Family Law Assistance
- Legal separation
- Child support orders and modifications
- Child custody
- Spousal support
- Step-parent adoptions
- Grandparent rights and visitation
- Collection of support through garnishment or income assignments
- Parental responsibility
- Modification of parenting time
- Relocation out-of-state with minor children
- Domestic violence
- Protective orders (restraining orders)
- Dependency and neglect
- Low cost mediation options