Where do I start if I'm looking to get divorced? 18 Answers as of June 01, 2011

What is the average cost for a divorce that involves children and domestic violence? 2 years ago I was able to obtain a protective order against my husband, but did not obtain a divorce. Now I want to go through with the divorce but don't know where to start.

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Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You don't have an "average" divorce case if it involves domestic violence. You can get an idea of the cost of your divorce case by consulting experienced Family Law Attorneys.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/1/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
It is impossible to provide a realistic estimate of the total cost without a more thorough examination of all the facts and circumstances that is necessary to determine what might actually need to be done and, if there is a dispute over anything, how complicate resolving that dispute might be. Until you can discuss your actual situation with an attorney, the best planning estimate will be that your total cost could be anywhere between about $1,500 and $10,000.00. You need to start by contacting an attorney or review the Colorado Supreme Court's on-line self-help center at: http://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Index.cfm
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/1/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
There is no simple answer to your question because there are so many variables at least as to cost. That said, I can start with a few basics. If you and your spouse agree to all the details - in other words, you both agree the divorce will occur and you have agreed to who gets what property and who pays what bills, who is keeping the house/apartment, etc. Then you have what we call an uncontested divorce. The cost of an uncontested divorce varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction based on court cost - cost are generally in the $300 range, but some counties may charge more or less. Then there is a question of whether or not your spouse will sign a waiver or enter an appearance without service - service is having the Constable deliver the divorce papers - that can cost up to $150 depending on the jurisdiction again. If there are kids, you have to take a class for divorcing parents - that cost $25 per person here in Plano. Certified copies of the decree at the end (if you want them) cost as well (again, it is jurisdiction dependent) and can run between $5/per copy and $1.50/page (decrees can be 10 - 14 pages without kids and typically up to 45 pages with kids). The short version of this is that the court cost alone can range from $300 on the low end up to $500 and this is for a simple case that is agreed - if it is contested (you two decide to fight) the cost can easily top this price with court mandated mediation, social studies, etc. Attorney's fees also vary widely. For example my firm charges a flat fee for uncontested divorces/custody issues. Some firms charge hourly even for uncontested/agreed matters. The time put into the case varies according to the facts, and to be blunt, your desires and goals. To give you an idea - if you and your spouse have no kids and agree to everything (in my definition that means you both come to my office with the fee and 3-4 hours of time to work on the matter - you leave when the papers are signed by everyone except the judge and the only thing left to do is pay the court fees, set the final hearing, prove it up, get copies certified, and file the "Austin Form"). My charge for these services would be $1,050 which is a turn key price in Collin or Dallas county - it covers the filing fee, drafting petition and an Answer (appearance for your spouse), drafting an Agreement incident to divorce which is filed with the court in case either of you change your minds later, completing the Final Decree of Divorce and securing three (3) certified copies - one for each of you and one held in my files - and it covers the cost of coordinating and appearing for the final hearing to prove up the divorce and the Austin Form. If there is a house that is not going to be sold and proceeds split - you will need a Special Warranty deed $35 and a Deed of Trust to Secure Assumption $35 If you need Powers of Attorney for Car titles those are $20 each If you need to divide a retirement plan - that requires a Qualified Domestic Relationship Order (I and most attorneys send those out) and the cost is $350 for each account. If there are children and you need custody orders, add $400 for the attorney time to address those issues (which includes Wage withholding orders and medical support orders, setting up the child support account, etc.) Again, this is all assuming current cost and fees as of February 2011 as charged by my firm and that you and your spouse agree to everything or at least work it out in my office. If you are fighting over things, you can assume the attorney fee will be at least triple per side (ie: $3000 each) and depending on what the fight is over, the sky and your desire to fight is the limit. The cost is based on hourly fee multiplied by time invested into your case. While I am certain this did not answer all your questions and may have brought up even more, it does provide you some sort of framework on the cost. As for time that too is up to you. Uncontested, the minimum time is 60 days, beyond that, it is up to you, what you are fighting over, and the court's schedule. You can find a lot of answers to your questions you have not asked here on my website.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/1/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
Your question is extremely broad and impossible to answer without a review of the particular facts of your case. You should consult with an experienced divorce attorney in your area as soon as possible.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 5/31/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Friends, family, and trusted individuals can recommend counsel to you. There is no "average cost" to divorces of which I am aware. It will vary from lawyer to lawyer and jurisdiction. You would do best to get a referral from someone you trust. You can also contact your local bar association for a referral or list of attorneys who handle divorces. Contested divorces can easily cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the facts of each case. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 5/31/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    To start, you need to contact and retain a divorce attorney in your community. For an uncontested, simple divorce with children, you will have to talk with the divorce lawyers about their costs. In Augusta, we have handled simple uncontested divorces for as low as $500 plus costs. Every case and every place is different. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Many family law attorneys give a free consultation. Talk to a few. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    I appreciated your question, but each case is unique and depends on the issues that are likely to be contested, the complexity of your asset and debts; earnings of both parties for child and possible spousal support, etc. Simple divorces are close $2,000.00 in fees plus costs. Your case does not sound simple.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    That is difficult to say because it will depend on the extent that the parties disagree. Contested custody cases are the most time consuming & expensive. You should consult with a few attorneys to see what their retainers are. We do this type of work and we have an hour free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    The cost varies depending upon how difficult the entire matter is to resolve. Usually with children, it's more difficult because the parties must settle custody, visitation, support and then look at equitable distribution of marital property. Of course, if the parties are rational and reasonable, it takes less time and money, but that's not usually the case, sorry to say.There is no means by which I can tell you how much it will cost. I've seen "simple" divorces turn ugly and ugly ones turn simple. It's all up to both parties to act like adults and then things can go relatively well and quicker. Consult with a local matrimonial attorney for more precise ideas on costs and timing. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    I would suggest starting by interviewing several attorneys in your area. It is hard to give an average cost. That depends on a variety of factors including how easy or hard it is going to be to get the two of you to agreement or whether the case is going to go to trial. It also depends a great deal on the style of the attorney. Some attorneys tend to focus on representing you as efficiently as possible and other attorneys tend to focus on representing you as well as possible - and that difference can make a huge difference in cost.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    It appears you live in Texas. In Washington State, you start the process by filing a petition and other required forms.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    If you are in my area, contact me for a free consultation. I can discuss with you the process and give you an estimate of cost.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    Hire a lawyer. the cost varies a great deal.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    It sounds like you have started out on by reaching out. I would interview some attorneys to see what you feel is the best fit. You need to have confidence in your attorney when moving forward in a Divorce. Good luck and I wish you well.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Berner Law Group, PLLC
    Berner Law Group, PLLC | Jack Berner
    You start with a good attorney. We are experienced and affordable (we even offer a sliding scale discount).
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    There is no "average cost" to get divorced. Each case can be different. Most family law lawyers charge by the hour. There is also no standard hourly fee. Call around to find out what local lawyers in your area charge. Also, keep in mind that just because a lawyer charges a higher rate, does not mean he/she is more competent. Apart from attorney fees, there are certain court costs. Check your local county court website for court fees. I would suggest that given the facts stated below, that you interview several local lawyers in an effort to find one that you think it ethical, competent, and can work well with you. If you find such person, you can then hire him/her to pursue your divorce and obtain your desired terms on custody, support, asset/debt division, etc. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    The cost of a divorce varies depending on the circumstances. One of the largest factors is how much conflict exists in the process. The more conflict, the more your attorney's time is involved, the more it costs. Given that you two have been apart for as long as you have been and the history of abuse, the only real issue would be if the father wanted to see his child/children.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/31/2011
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