The Cost of Divorce

What is the cost of divorce cases? Why does the cost of divorce vary so much from case to case? The reason for differences in costs has to do with the complexity of the case combined with the amount of work that the attorneys have to do in order to resolve the issues. Even a simple case with no assets can turn into an expensive case if hearings involving protection from abuse or custody are required.

If the couple that is divorcing has a lot of assets acquired over a long period of time, the negotiations for the equitable distribution part of the case are going to be more detailed and difficult. Each asset must be valued and the equities in the divorce have to be evaluated, i.e., the lawyers have to determine what each person’s equitable share should be. The cost of divorces with such negotiations goes up with the number of assets because more time is needed to evaluate the assets themselves and then to discuss what the share of each party is. Time is money. Even more time is required if one of the parties tries to hide assets through a small business or other family members or if either pay is angry and refuses to work toward a resolution of the issues. But for a small amount of assets that are less complex, a divorce in Pennsylvania should be a flat fee for the paperwork plus a flat fee for the estimated number of negotiations. A per hour rate for a long negotiation process is proper but the lawyer should give the client a regular update as to time and cost from the start to the finish. I always try to do this and I know that other lawyers in Bucks County and Philadelphia do as well. Anyone considering a divorce should discuss the costs and how those costs are determined at the outset.

The Law Office of Brian E. Sipe offers flat fees whenever possible. The pricing of legal services, especially for family law matters, always depends upon the parties involved and their ultimate goals. The goals of the parties, the types of assets that are involved and the complexity of the situation all play a part in determining the total cost of estate planning, divorces, or other actions. But many times, the total time involved can be estimated and a flat fee can be offered. Flat fees allow you to budget for your future. Some lawyers charge for every phone call. At $250 to $300 per hour, a fifteen minute phone call costs between $62.50 and $75.00. Even if the work is done quickly, you might end up spending a lot of money just trying to find out what it was that the lawyer did for you.

At this law office, a phone call is free if it is to inform me of new information or to ask a question about an action that we are about to take. I want you, the client, to feel free to call me if you feel confused about your case.