Unless your divorce is uncontested where you and your spouse agree to all the issues, such alimony, property division, asset division, and so on, then chances are you will have to hire a lawyer. Some will still hire a lawyer even though their case is uncontested for consultation, and perhaps to handle some of the paperwork.
While this is the ideal scenario, it’s not realistic in some cases where a lot of hostility exists and the parties have no chance on settling the issues themselves. Therefore, both sides hire divorce lawyers and settle it in court in front of a judge. In an effort to save money, some will try to find cheap divorce lawyers.
While this is sound reasoning, particularly since contested divorces cost so much money, the problem is that cheap lawyers aren’t usually very experienced and don’t have a great reputation. Not to mention that a cheaper lawyer could end up costing you more in the long run if he or she doesn’t handle the case properly. While a more qualified lawyer could charge more upfront, they will likely be more efficient, whereas a cheaper lawyer could cost because they will probably have to spend more time on the case.
What to Expect
You might think that you can get away with a cheap divorce lawyer because much of the process is just paperwork, which can actually be downloaded online sometimes for free. But it’s way more than paperwork. The results of a divorce have long-term implications on your life. There are some very critical issues that have to be settled, such as child support, spousal support, and the division of assets. You very well could get the short end of the stick if you hire a under-qualified, cheap divorce lawyer.
Divorce lawyers could charge you in two different ways: flat fees and hourly fees. Flat fees are decided upfront, regardless of how many hours the lawyer puts in. Hourly fees are charged based on how much time the lawyer has to work on the case. He or she could charge for anything that takes up their time, even something as simple as a 10 minute phone call. This is the structure that most lawyers have in place.
There are many factors that determine how much a divorce lawyer charges. But the main idea is to hire the most qualified divorce lawyer you can afford, as doing so will save you a lot of money in the long run.