Family law cases can be expensive due to the complexity of the issues involved and the amount of attention your case requires. Your attorney must disclose to the Court and opposing counsel information on a great range of issues including income, expenses, thirteen factors in support of custody and four more factors related to joint custody, child support calculations, factors for spousal maintenance, proof of non-marital claims, actuarial calculations of pension value, and much more.
Your attorney will have to present information to the Court and opposing counsel on some or all of these issues depending on the type of case. We have handled cases that cost a few hundred dollars to cases that have cost over $100,000. The cost depends on the complexity of the case, the issues raised, and most importantly, the level of conflict between the parties. Some of our clients are quite fee sensitive and want to keep their fees down as much as possible by handling some aspects of their case on their own. Other clients want (or their case requires) an extraordinary amount of attorney and staff time. We are constantly seeking methods to deliver our legal services more efficiently without compromising quality. We do this by passing work to lower billing-rate attorneys or paralegals; the use of technology (scanning, e-mail, software); and through years of experience, in which we have handled hundreds of cases.
In addition to attorney fees, there are likely to be fees for experts. This may include an actuary to value a pension; a forensic accountant to construct budgets, track assets, calculate non-marital claims, and advise on the tax implications of various approaches to resolution of financial issues; an appraiser to value a home; a custody evaluator to make recommendations on custody. The cost of these experts can range from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars. However, it is often money well-spent. For example, a real estate appraisal may cost $400, but the appraiser may value the home tens of thousands of dollars more than the spouses believed the property was worth. A neutral CPA may run budgets and tax calculations during a half-day meeting with the spouses, rather than having both attorneys run separate calculations based upon information from one side.