What Will My Georgia Divorce or Family Matters Case Cost?

$1,000 for uncontested divorce without children - $1,500 with children

It is often difficult to predict what a divorce or family law case will cost. Georgia divorces and related family matters cases vary in complexity and difficulty from case to case. In general, the easier the issues and more friendly the parties to a case are, the less expensive the attorney's fees. On the flip side, cases in which there are complex issues or ongoing disagreements between the parties require extensive negotiating and settlement efforts or trial. These cases are more expensive because of the additional time involved preparing for and participating in the settlement and trial of your case.

Do I Need To Pay an Attorney (Do I Need An Attorney For My Case)?

There are many stores selling "self-help" documents. However, these forms do not provide you with legal advice, and do not help you evaluate the fairness or the law regarding your specific case.
    Too often women who utilize self-help forms receive far less
    than what the law would have provided them.
Also, be careful with paralegal services which offer to assist you in completing self-help forms. You should be aware that paralegals and document preparers are not allowed to provide legal advice, and are prevented by law from evaluating your case and advising you of your legal rights. If a paralegal or document preparer offers you legal advice, beware, as they are breaking the law by doing so, and you cannot be certain that they are correctly advising you. If they do not provide you legal advice, as they should not, they are essentially charging you hundreds of dollars to complete self-help documents for you.
    The real value in hiring an attorney is the legal advice and
    information that only lawyers are legally allowed to provide to you.
It is often a difficult decision whether to hire an attorney or attempt to represent yourself in a divorce or family law case. Having handled many cases in which clients have initially tried to represent themselves without success, and cases in which clients have prepared their own legal documents only to return later to fight over the legal meaning of improperly phrased documents, you should at least consult with a Georgia divorce attorney before proceeding to represent yourself.

In general, the more complex issues, the more important it becomes to have an attorney. You should have an attorney in the following situations:
  • If there are children involved, you will need an attorney to, at a minimum, ensure that child support is properly calculated and that the parenting plan protects your legal rights and is in the best interest of your children.
  • If either party is seeking spousal maintenance, you will need an attorney to ensure that you receive the appropriate amount or that you are not required to pay too much to a former spouse.
  • If you own real estate, a business, or significant personal property or financial assets, or if either party has a retirement account (401(k), IRA, etc.) or pension, you will need an attorney to ensure that these are properly divided.
Hourly Billing and Retainers or Advance Deposits

While we offer flat fee cases for uncontested divorces, most other family law cases including contested divorces are billed on an hourly basis. We work to ensure that we offer you professional and aggressive representation throughout your case. As with most family law attorneys, our hourly billing cases require an initial advance on fees or a deposit, which deposit can range from $2,000 - $10,000 or more depending upon the perceived initial complexity of your case (typical cases range from $3,000 - $5,000 retainers). In some cases, with attorney approval, you can reduce the initial retainer and instead schedule a series of weekly or monthly payments.

Throughout your case you will receive a monthly statement reflecting what amounts have been used for services and costs in your case. If we complete your case for less than this amount, any remaining balance at the conclusion of your case will be refunded back to you. If your case is not promptly resolved, your case cost may exceed the initial deposit, and you will need to work out a payment plan with our firm.

Flat Fee Billing for Uncontested Divorces:

Because of the large demand, we have initiated an unusual program in Georgia wherein we offer a flat fee cost for uncontested divorces. Many of our clients have hired us to assist them in completing the initial pleadings to commence the case and also to complete the settlement documents with the appropriate legal wording to ensure they are not later haunted by common mistakes of unrepresented parties. However, the clients have already reached an agreement on all issues and are not seeking our assistance to negotiate or litigate their case.

In such cases, we will represent only one party. Because of ethical issues and the problem with conflicts of interest we are only able to represent one of the parties. However, in our representation of one party we prepare all documents necessary to get your uncontested case concluded. Our flat fee includes an initial consultation with an attorney, preparation of all necessary documents, and one revision of the settlement documents (if necessary). If the case becomes contested or needs further negotiation or litigation, we will convert your case to an hourly case.

For an amicable and uncontested divorce without children we will charge a flat fee of $1,000.00. Because of the additional complexities involved with children (child custody and child support) we charge a flat fee of $1,500.00.

To learn more about our flat fees, please contact us to schedule a free in-office 30 minute appointment with an attorney.

Helpful Tips to Keep Attorney's Fees Down

The following are some suggestions on how to reduce legal costs when working with an attorney: Collect information before your initial meeting with your attorney. Such information includes names, addresses and telephone numbers of those involved.
  • Be organized. Provide your attorney with copies of letters, documents and other important papers at the first meeting.
  • Be prepared with written questions for your attorney to answer.
  • Keep your attorney informed, but don't make unnecessary calls. It is likely that you are being charged for your call at the attorney's hourly rate.
  • Be to Court and appointments with your attorney on time. If you miss an appointment with your attorney, you will likely be charged for the hour.
  • Ask if there are other ways you can reduce costs.
  • Keep a file with copies of the documents sent by the Court or your attorney.

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