Divorce is expensive. There is no question. The costs of separating from your spouse don’t have to be egregious, however. A simple, agreed divorce without children might run $1,000 to $2,500. With contested litigation and trial, even middle of the road divorces can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Fees and costs for your divorce will depend entirely on your attorney, the other attorney, and just how well the parties can cooperate during the process.
Every attorney charges a different amount. On average, in King County, you will typically see hourly attorney fees between $250 and $500 per hour. High priced firms in downtown Seattle might even exceed those averages. The attorney fees don’t just depend on the hourly rate. Some law firms just take more time and charge more than others.
For example, even for a simple divorce, some firms might charge to prepare motions and written discovery even if it isn’t necessary in your case. They do so out of habit and firm policy, but it adds little value to your case. At Magnuson Lowell PS, we work cooperatively with our clients to find a strategy that fits best for them. This might include complex contests in court, or it might include informal discussions to keep costs down. Either way, you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
Even if your attorney seeks to work collaboratively and cost-effectively, the other attorney might not. If your partner’s attorney chooses to file every Motion or send out every discovery request, they technically have done nothing wrong. They are allowed by rules and statutes to take certain actions. If they decide to go that route even at the cost of efficiency and cost-effectiveness, it increases your attorney costs to provide required responses or to counter with similar requests.
If you and your ex-spouse are at each other’s throats and cannot agree on anything, it’s likely your divorce will be quite expensive. In the short term that might require temporary court intervention to mandate parenting and financial support. In the long term that might require experts, alternative dispute resolution (mediation), and trial. If you find yourself arguing with your spouse over minor issues, it will increase the costs associated with your divorce substantially.
On the other hand, if you and your ex-partner are on the same page, costs can be kept down. Instead of fighting in court over interim requirements pending further agreements, the parties can reach amicable agreed orders. Instead of a full-blown mediation, it’s possible the parties can work collaboratively to reach a resolution. Even if mediation is necessary, it’s hopeful that cooperative parties will settle to limit costs of trial.
If you find yourself at the precipice of divorce, finding the right counsel for you is imperative. All attorneys will look out for your best interests in court, but often there are multiple strategies that can effectively work your case. Some firms will regularly choose the more expensive options for their own gain. Some firms will create difficult relationships with opposing parties and attorneys. These attorneys will usually cost more and deliver the same results as more cost-effective options.
At Magnuson Lowell PS, we work with every client individually to determine the best course of action. This keeps costs down and work quality high. Call today for a free case evaluation.