Divorce is not an inexpensive process. A retainer is usually required upfront by most attorneys who will then charge you an hourly rate for a divorce. In addition, you will incur the cost of filing fees, expert fees, custody evaluators and other expenses. You should be aware of the costs involved in a divorce before you hire an attorney. A fee agreement is a contract with the law firm that should detail how you will be billed and is presented to you once you decide to hire the law firm. Most attorneys bills based on increments of six minutes such that you are charged a fraction of the hour based on six-minute intervals for work that is done. In addition, it is typical that you will be charged for out-of-pocket expenses.
PENNSYLVANIA DIVORCE EXPENSES
Here at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., we disclose all of our fees upfront so that there are no surprises. If you hire our firm to handle your divorce matter, you can expect that you will pay a retainer fee, which is similar to a security deposit. In addition, you will need the filing fee to pay the court if you are filing the divorce. Filing fees vary by county, but in some cases are almost $500 just to file.
We will bill you an hourly rate for all work that we do. Most of the fees that you will incur will be during times that you have to go to court. Typically, you are not the only case listed by the court and you will be billed for all of the time waiting to be heard by the court. We encourage our clients to settle matters out of court when possible in order to keep the costs down.
HOW TO AFFORD A DIVORCE
You may be wondering how people afford a divorce. In most instances, a client will have to apply for a credit card to pay the bill until they are able to receive their assets in the divorce, or use whatever savings that they have. In some instances, clients have to borrow from family and friends until they are able to touch their marital assets. It is something to consider before you file for divorce.
In instances where there are no assets, alimony or child custody issues and only a simple divorce is needed, our firm offers a flat-fee divorce. This is simply to get a divorce as long as no issues are raised. If issues are raised, it will be billed hourly. If an agreement is needed to be filed or prepared it will also be treated as an hourly divorce.
Much like a wedding, a divorce can involve thousands of dollars not only for you but for the party you are divorcing. Courts in Pennsylvania do not typically award attorney fees, so you should not expect your spouse to be ordered to pay your attorney fees even if you don’t work.
For those who qualify, you may be able to obtain free legal representation from Legal Aid to assist you with support and custody. They do not typically handle divorce cases.