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How Much Does A Divorce Attorney Cost?

How much an Oregon divorce attorney costs depends on the value of services offered. We always try to find ways to pay for ourselves with better results.

How Much Divorce Attorneys Charge

Most people seeking a divorce have never worked with a family law attorney before, so if you are preparing for a divorce case, you should take the time to understand how it all works so that you are comfortable as the divorce progresses. Sit down over a cup of coffee and do enough research to feel comfortable with knowing how to move forward. Perhaps that is what you are doing right now. The focus in this article will be on retainers/trust deposits, and the hourly rate.

Family law attorneys typically require you to deposit a “retainer” or “trust deposit” with the law firm. These terms refer to money which you deposit with your attorney’s law firm, which the firm will use to bill legal services and pay for costs (e.g., filing fees). The law firm will hold the money in a “trust account” for you–i.e., the money is the yours and is accounted for as the law firm uses the trust account to move the case forward.

The trust account is a bank account held at an accredited financial institution that is approved by the Oregon State Bar. If the amount of money in trust is enough to finalize your case, the remaining balance is refunded to you. If a first trust deposit is not enough to take you through the entire case, additional deposits will be requested.

This process is discussed as a case progresses. The amount of a first trust deposit is often different for every case. A first trust deposit generally will not be less than $500 and not more than $5,000. As a law firm helps you with your case, services will be billed at an hourly rate. As work is done on the case, the law firm will track the time spent helping you. The bigger the issue to resolve, often the more time spent resolving it.

How Do Divorce Attorneys Bill For Services?

Time is billed in small increments of an hour, usually in 6-minute blocks. A billing statement might read:

Attorney: Name
Time: .7 hr
Amount: $195.00
Task: Prepared motion to allow client to have temporary and exclusive use of the parties’ marital residence, to allow client to remain in home without spouse present, and to care for children while maintaining exclusive use. Ultimate goal to provide client with peace of mind and security for remainder of divorce.

What Is The Total Cost For A Divorce Attorney?

There is no exact answer to this question because there is usually no “average” amount. We don’t believe in cookie cutter solutions, or that our clients are average. We do believe everyone has very unique circumstances that deserve the right amount of time and attention for their specific issue. Our goal is to provide exceptional value to all of our clients and find ways to pay for ourselves. That sometimes is in acquiring better results with very tangible issues: Spousal support, child support, property division and debt division. Sometimes that value is in helping our clients have better results with obtaining custody, more parenting time and creating better futures for their children.

What will help you determine how much the divorce will cost is the following:

1. What are the big issues?

2. What is the most valuable to you and what happens if you don’t get the best results?

3. How much are you and the other party able and willing to compromise on the big issues?

4. What impact will there be on you and your loved ones if you do not get the result you want?

Disputes in court are much like disputes outside of court: If you and the opposing party are good at engaging in practical, productive problem solving together despite your differences, then things bode well in terms of the cost of the case. On the other hand, if you and the opposing party have a difficult time engaging in practical, productive problem solving together, then you must anticipate a potential lengthy process of negotiations and potentially trial.

There is no relationship between how right you are and how much the case will cost you. Even if you are 100% right and the opposing party is completely wrong, you will still need help to get the result you want. This means that if the opposing party happens to be great at problem solving with you, then you are in luck; on the other hand, if the opposing party happens to be very difficult, then you will need to prepare yourself for the battle ahead.

How Do I Make Sure I Pay The Right Amount?

You pay the right amount by hiring the attorney who will provide you with the best future.  The most expensive mistake is hiring the wrong attorney and not forming a plan on how to make your life better.  

When you are deciding who you should hire as your attorney, you should clearly communicate the answers to the key questions outlined earlier, to make sure your priorities are clear. Clearly outlining your priorities with your attorney will help you plan for the cost of litigation, to make sure you can get the results you want.

Not all attorneys are the same. When you are deciding who to hire to help protect and fight for your legal rights, it is very important to ensure you find the “right fit.” Always keep in mind that whether a case is the “right fit” is a two-way street: Your attorney should approach your case the same way you do.