This is often the first question considered when someone ponders a divorce. There is no definitive answer to the question as there are several factors that drive the cost of divorce, including:

  • The hourly rate of the attorney you choose.

Divorce attorneys typically charge by the hour. The hourly rates you will be charged vary significantly and are based upon the attorney’s experience (i.e., how many years has the attorney been practicing?), background (is divorce his or her area of expertise?), reputation (is this attorney respected by his or her peers?) and location (does the attorney practice in the city or in the suburbs where the rates are generally less?)

  • The level of disagreement between you and your spouse and the issues in conflict

What issues do you and your spouse disagree upon? Are they complicated issues (custody of the children or the value of your spouse’s business) or issues that are more easily resolved? Will you and your spouse be able to work together toward resolution? Most often parties conduct themselves in divorce in the same way they conducted themselves during the marriage. If you and your spouse are unable to resolve even the most “resolvable” conflicts without your attorney’s intervention, your legal fees will be higher.

  • How often will your attorney appear at Court on your behalf?  

Only one appearance is required by the Court. If multiple Court appearances are necessitated, it will significantly increase the overall cost of your divorce.

  • Will your case require the assistance of experts (i.e., business valuation experts, real estate appraisers, forensic accountants, or other experts?]

Experts are often necessary to establish the value of assets (i.e., real estate, businesses, recreational vehicles, jewelry, antiques, etc.). If the value of an asset is in controversy, you and your spouse may agree to retain a joint expert and share the expense equally to reduce costs. In the event you and your spouse retain “dueling” experts, legal costs will, of course, increase. If you and your spouse are able to agree upon these values, substantial savings can result.

  • Whether a parent coordinator or a Guardian ad litem is necessary?

When the Court deems it necessary to protect the best interests of your children a Guardian ad Litem may be appointed and the parties (or the Court) will also determine which spouse is to pay these fees and in what proportion.

  • Court filing fees and other costs

These are generally set fees established by the Court or by experts retained.

How much will my divorce cost me? In the case of a contested divorce, there are no definitive answers. The journey to divorce can take many different paths — no two journeys are alike, and neither are the costs to get there. At Ryan Faenza Carey, we are a resolution-based practice. We will help you resolve your case in the most expedient and efficient manner to keep your legal fees and costs as low as possible, while not compromising your rights, based on the facts of your case.