What Does it Cost to Get Divorced in Madison County?
Every day we get a phone call at our office about what a consultation costs or what a divorce costs in Huntsville or Madison County. Divorce in Huntsville, Alabama is not cheap… not unless you want to buy it from someone who advertises $250.00 off a billboard.
Uncontested Divorce with No Children in Madison County
I was divorced in Madison County with an uncontested divorce more than twenty years ago and it cost me $750.00 plus court costs. For an uncontested divorce with no children, I charge my clients the same thing today. However, we offer an initial 30 minute free consultation with one of our associate attorneys.
If you have assets and children there are other documents to prepare beside the divorce. An uncontested divorce with assets in Huntsville, Alabama for me to prepare it is $1,500.00. If there are retirement documents to prepare, then the cost will rise according to how many retirement plans and what kind of plans they are. This is due to the additional paperwork that has to be filed that may take several months to complete due to the differing of plan language from company to company.
Court Cost of Divorce in Huntsville, Alabama
Then of course, there are the court costs. In Madison County the court cost, to date, is over $336.00, but can be more depending on how you have the papers served. The costs in Huntsville will depend on if you use a process server, certified mail, or the sheriff’s department. The court costs in Morgan County and Limestone County differ from Madison County. The court costs also vary depending on the type of case you have. If you have a Juvenile Case instead of a divorce case in Madison County, the court costs are different. There may other additional costs too if you have property to be transferred. A quitclaim deed is $150.00 from my office.
If you have a contested divorce case in Huntsville, Alabama, the costs will be much steeper. My retainer for a case in Madison County runs between $3,000.00 and $5,000.00. Retainers are funds that are paid into a trust account and the funds are drawn off the account when time is spent on a case. The more a case entails, the more it is going to cost.
Many times people who are running low of money ask me to “stop working on the case,” yet it isn’t dependent on our efforts alone. When there is an opposing Huntsville family lawyer involved, they make calls, send letters, file discovery, file motions, and most if not all, need to be responded to in a timely manner. The case may be in the stage of preparation, but we are still working on getting it ready for trial with discovery, subpoenas, expert witnesses, reviewing documents, organizing and reviewing things for trial or depositions. The case continues to accrue fees even before we get to trial in Madison County. Other experts have fees that have to be paid as well. These fees will vary depending on the kind of expert. Subpoenas cost money. Court reporters for depositions have fees and the transcript of the depositions have fees. There are other small fees regarding mailing or copying, depending on the volume of papers to be copied. In divorce litigation there tend to be many, many volumes of paper.
Unfortunately, there is usually no way to know for sure how much a divorce or family law cases will cost before we begin. If you have a lot of questions and want to speak to me via email or otherwise, then each time that costs you additional fees. I round up to .1 or .15 for brief emails, while some attorneys charge .3 as the round up. Costs can escalate quickly if you call and email family law attorneys every week. I have all of the ways you are charged set out very specifically in my fee agreement. I also send invoices at least every month if not every week so a client can be aware of how they are spending their money and how they are doing on their retainer. We also send notices when the account gets to below $1,500.00 so the client can put money in their retainer before they are totally out of money and a request for a big sum is required.
We try to work with clients on payment on their retainer as long as it’s apparent they are making an effort to pay. We truly care about making things go as smoothly for you as possible, and that is why we are a highly rated family lawyer firm.
One thing we have to do is collect the fees before the trial starts. Otherwise, we don’t have any funds within which to work on the case. We ask clients to pay a certain amount on their retainer before depositions, mediation, or their hearing or trial to insure they have funds in their account. We make requests for the opposing party to pay the fees in some divorces but there is no guarantee this will be ordered by the court, and we ask the fees to be paid first by the client. Then we ask for reimbursement from the opposing side.
Another route for paying legal fees is the flat fee. A flat fee for a contested case is the same as the fee for the uncontested domestic case in Madison County. I attempt to make an estimate of how much the fees are going to be and I charge this amount rather than billing the client on a retainer. This may be beneficial to you if the issues aren’t going to merit spending thousands on a divorce.
Flat Fee for Divorce
A flat fee for a divorce can range from $1,500.00 to $5,000.00 and beyond for extremely complex cases. The benefit for a client is knowing that you won’t be charged any additional legal fees other than the flat fee. You may have to pay additional costs to cover experts and court reporters, but fees for my representation will be fixed.
Choosing a Huntsville Divorce Attorney
Divorce, custody, and issues regarding your assets and children are often the most important challenges you will ever face. The fees you spend on your case are investments to insure you get the outcome you desire or at least know you presented the best case to the court. If you attempt to save money on fees by hiring lawyers without experience in domestic relations or without trial experience, you often come to regret it later. Many times I meet with people who have been divorced and want me to “fix it” later. It is often impossible to undo the damage that’s been done in the first case. Choosing legal counsel based on the expense is a costly one in terms of possible consequences. I have never had a client say I wish I had hired a cheaper and less experienced divorce lawyer. Never. When choosing legal counsel, be deliberate when determining the number of years in practice, the area of expertise, and the familiarity with the issues. Take into account your comfort level with the attorney. Do you feel as if they respect you and your opinion? You are going to be working closely with them. Are you able to discuss the issues without feeling judged? You are going to have to tell your attorney the truth.
If you have more questions please call our office, we offer a 30 minute initial free consultation.