What Does a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer Cost?
If you plan to file for a New Jersey divorce, or if your spouse has taken such a step, you undoubtedly find yourself with some significant questions. One area in which you likely desire information is that involving the cost of retaining the services of a New Jersey divorce lawyer.Attorney Fees can Vary – Rather Significantly
The reality is that there is no set “standard fee” for a New Jersey Divorce lawyer. There are a number of key factors that impact the fee a particular attorney will charge in a specific family law case. These include:
- Type of fee arrangement agreed between lawyer and client
- Background and experience of legal counsel
- Specific facts and circumstances surrounding a marriage dissolution case
When it comes to divorce, child custody, and other types of family law cases, an attorney charges legal fees on one of two ways:
- In a more basic family law matter, legal counsel may elect to assess a flat fee. This means a divorce lawyer charges a set amount for legal services provided.
- More commonly, a New Jersey divorce attorney (and attorneys providing representation in other family law matters) charges an hourly fee. A client pays legal counsel for time accrued by a lawyer in the course of representation.
The experience of a New Jersey divorce lawyer plays a significant role in the cost of representation. The principal typically is simple. The longer a lawyer has been in practice successfully, the higher that professional’s attorney fees are apt to be in a particular case.
The same generally holds true for law firms that include family law within the scope of practice. A seasoned, long-established law firm is likely to charge higher fees for clients in divorce and other family law cases that does a newer practice.Specifics of Divorce Case are Primary Fee Drivers
Beyond experience of counsel, there is nothing that drives the costs associated with a divorce more than the specific facts and circumstances surrounding a family law matter. Because divorce attorneys typically charges attorney fees at an hourly rate, the more time a New Jersey divorce attorney spends working on a case, the more money will be expended in fees.
There are marriage dissolution cases that commence with the belief that are “simple” or “uncontested” matters. Ultimately, what is initially thought to be simple or uncontested proceeding ultimate becomes complicated and contested. What begins as a marriage dissolution case requiring a moderate expenditure of fees evolves into something altogether different.Initial Consultation and Attorney Fees
An initial consultation is the point in time when a person seeking divorce legal counsel can and should raise questions about attorney fees. A New Jersey divorce attorney typically is willing to provide rather detailed information regarding what a person can expect in the way of fees during the course of a marriage dissolution case.Written Retainer Agreement
When you make a decision about retaining the services of a particular New Jersey divorce attorney, you will want to be certain that you obtain a written agreement with legal counsel. Included within a retainer agreement needs to be specific information about the fee to be charged in a case.
The fee component of a retainer agreement should be quite detailed. For example, such an agreement should include information about whether legal counsel calculates fees based on a quarter hour or minute-by-minute calculation. In other words, some lawyers round up time spend on a case to nearest quarter hour while others bill based on a consideration of time spent down to the minute.
You will also want to pay attention to the element of the retainer and fee agreement that addresses costs associated with the case. This includes understanding whether you will reimburse legal counsel for costs associated with the case or if you will be obliged to provide money to a firm up front to cover certain anticipated costs (like the fee to file a divorce complaint in court).Retain an Experienced New Jersey Divorce Lawyer You Trust
If you’re in need of a representation in your marriage dissolution case, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400. We will arrange for you an initial consultation and case evaluation for you.