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News about Divorce Law in New York State
Divorce Survival Kit —
Filing Divorce Papers
ContentsGoing through the divorce process in court and through trial is costly, depending largely on what is at stake. Attorneys charge for their time by the hour. Sometimes if you are lucky you can negotiate a deal with your attorney for a flat fee, which is often times your best bet with respect to keeping your costs down. To assess whether it is worth taking a case to trial you must analyze the cost/risk benefits to determine whether you should take the case to trial. As such, determine if it worth the time and expense. Some of the factors to be considered are the value of the marital estate, the valuation of licenses acquired during the marriage, child custody and visitation disputes, and geographical relocation.
Warning: The information contained herein is not intended to substitute for legal advice from your own retained lawyer in new york state. This article is merely informational in nature, and is based upon one attorney’s knowledge of the practice of family law, matrimonial law, domestic violence, child custody, child support and orders of protection.
I have seen nasty divorce battles cost One Hundred Fifty Thousand ($150,000.00) Dollars per party litigant. However, in an urban community you might expect to pay Ten Thousand ($10,000.00) Dollars as an initial retainer for a contested divorce and be charged against that retainer at the rate of anywhere between Two Hundred ($200.00) Dollars per hour to Three Hundred and Seventy Five ($375.00) Dollars per hour, depending on your locale, the experience of the attorney, and whether a partner or associate will be handling the case. Some of the work can be delegated to a paralegal wherein you will be charged a lower rate for services that they are trained to perform, anywhere between Fifty ($50.00) Dollars per hour to One Hundred ($100.00) per hour. At that rate, if your case is settled well before trial it may not cost much more to bring the case to its ultimate conclusion. However, if your costs exceed the initial retainer your law firm may require that you deposit a replenishment retainer to cover future costs, and they will bill you every sixty (60) days. However, after trial on a contested matrimonial involving an assortment of issues expect that your bill may very well run as high as Twenty Thousand ($20,000.00) Dollars to Forty Thousand ($40,000.00) Dollars, depending on how experienced and efficient you and the attorneys are in moving the case forward to its ultimate conclusion. Again, remember that these are only estimates based on my personal experience. Other attorneys may have different opinions and fee schedules. Where there is a contested divorce case involving issues of custody, support, property distribution and grounds,you are inevitably headed for trial. Then, the stakes are high for one or both of the parties and you can expect to pay in the range of Twenty Five Thousand ($25,000.00) to Fifty Thousand ($50,000.00 )depending on the legal time and expert witness time spent on your case, such as forensic psychologists, appraisers, accountants, and expert witness costs, motions, hearings, discovery of the financials and depositions, stenographic and court fees, correspondences, telephone and office conferences. We have all seen celebrity cases costing each party over One Million ($1,000,000.00) Dollars. Your typical garden variety divorce will likely not be in that range at all.
Attorneys may need to depose many persons associated with the marriage, and make them your witness, from relatives to babysitters to forensic accountants to real estate accountants. You want to avoid that sort of divorce wherever possible, as litigation that has risen to this level can be devastating and may have a serious threatening impact on you and your family and on the marital assets of the marriage. Fortunately, the vast majority of cases does not go to trial and are settled somewhere along the continuum of practice described below.