Most people think that using a lawyer for divorce is too expensive. They may opt to handle their divorce on their own or try a document service or paralegal. However, a much better solution is to opt for a ‘flat fee’ divorce lawyer. Lawyers who charge flat fees are usually comparable in fee structure to non-lawyer services but offer a lot more.
A flat fee divorce lawyer offers legal advice and legal oversight so that the client understands their legal options, the divorce process and what is reasonable in their particular case. The ‘divorce process’ involves the preparation of the petition, the filing of the divorce, serving and final paperwork. There may also be a need for hearings or a trial. In order to quote a flat fee, the Divorce lawyer will need to know the answers to the following questions:
- Does the client know where the spouse is?
- How long have the couple been married? If spousal support is an issue, is there agreement regarding the amount of spousal support, who would get it and for how long?
- Does the petitioner have children? If yes, is there agreement regarding custody, visitation and support for the child?
- Does the petitioner have property defined as a house or condo, retirement plans or other assets or investments? Is there agreement regarding the division of assets?
- Does the couple have debt? Is there agreement regarding how to divide the debt and how it is to be paid?
These are the main questions to consider when filing for Divorce. The answers to these questions will determine, to a large degree, the cost of the Divorce.
If the location of the spouse is not known, the petitioner would need a ‘publication divorce’ which takes more time and is more costly than a typical divorce wherein the parties are cooperative. A ‘publication divorce’ can cost as much as $2,000+ (includes court fees) depending on the spouse’s last known address which is the basis for the ‘search’ and ‘publication’. Legal Action Workshop can explain the flat fee and the publication process.
When there are no issues i.e. no children or property and no desire for spousal support, the fee for the Divorce can be as low as $725. When there are issues and both parties are willing to sign an agreement, the fee for Divorce can be as low as $1,499. However, when there are issues but no agreement as to how to address the issues, the parties may need to go to court, and this may be the most costly kind of Divorce. Again, there are Divorce lawyers who can go to court for a flat fee. The filing fee for the Divorce is additional and may vary slightly from one county to another.
There are other instances in divorce when the respondent does not respond. In this case the parties may or may not be in agreement. When a ‘response’ is not filed with the court, the divorce is called a ‘default’ divorce. When there are issues that need to be resolved, only the petitioner will go before the judge for a ‘default’ hearing. When there are no issues then, in most cases, a hearing is not necessary. These default divorces are finalized by the court in a timely manner.
For more information on Flat Fee Divorce, call us @ 1-800-HELP-444.