How much did your lawyer cost? Did you do a DIY? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 03-30-2009, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am trying to find the most cost effective divorce and would appreciate any insight you have. I have a mostly amicable situation (the one thing we are working out is an equity split of the house we own together and how I will buy him out).

One lawyer wanted $5k to start another wanted $3k. Both of these amounts seem ridiculous to me. I was thinking of going to a mediator to work out the equity issue and then filing the paperwork myself in terms of the agreement.

Any thoughts or advice? He is not arguing for joint custody, we have an agreed up on amount for child support, we have a very amicable relationship concerning the children and visitation (I have a pretty much open door policy).
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#2 of 16 Old 03-30-2009, 11:48 PM
 
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Holy cow. I had a spendy lawyer and she was a $2000 retainer and then another $1000 before everything was said and done. She was worth every single penny but my word, a $5000 retainer. thats pretty steep. good luck finding a reasonable solution.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#3 of 16 Old 03-31-2009, 01:12 AM
 
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My lawyer was $2500 retainer, which has pretty much been eaten up in 8 weeks. However, we have custody issues, and 2 sessions of mediation @ 3hrs each cost me $1000 to pay for his time. And we didnt even resolve ANYTHING in those mediations. Its going to be insanely expensive for me, I could only wish for an amicable agreement on anything.

I think you could find a better price than a $5K retainer. Good luck, it sounds like you have a pretty "easy" situation (like divorce is ever easy, right?), and you may be able to DIY for the most part. My parents did theirs entirely on their own, no lawyers involved, and it cost about $1000 after all the filing fees, etc.
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#4 of 16 Old 03-31-2009, 01:27 AM
 
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i had a DIY divorce, granted we had no kids and no house. however i think the following advice still holds: work out *all* of the issues with your STBX *before* you involve a lawyer. if everything is settled except the equity, try to figure out that issue with STBX. then you can take it to a lawyer to work out the exact wording, file your paperwork, etc. but the minute you get a lawyer and he gets a lawyer, and you rely on the lawyers to work out your issues, things get contentious, and lawyers love that because it's more ca-ching for them.

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#5 of 16 Old 03-31-2009, 09:19 AM
 
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I paid $3K for my retainer, and I'm just waiting on his final bill now that we've signed the papers. I'm curious to see how much above that it's going to cost...

Full time working mom to two bright and busy little girls! treehugger.gif
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#6 of 16 Old 03-31-2009, 11:06 AM
 
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All in all my divorce cost $6k. I paid my lawyer $2500 up front and then he billed me monthly after that. His bill ended up being a little over $4k when all was said and done. And my part of the mediators fee was about $1800. I think if you're amicable I would go with a mediator. The vast majority of our deal was worked out in mediation. Most of the lawyer fees after that were because X changed his mind on some of the things we agreed to in mediation and the lawyers had to resolve those issues which got expensive.
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#7 of 16 Old 03-31-2009, 11:02 PM
 
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even if you can't agree on everything at least hammer out what you can agree on. that alone will save you money.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#8 of 16 Old 04-01-2009, 05:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
even if you can't agree on everything at least hammer out what you can agree on. that alone will save you money.
We did this too. Spent time talking ahead of meeting with attorney to at least have a general idea where we stood on certain issues. I think (if at all amicable) it's good to have no surprises, kwim? However, if it's not amicable I think it's best to play it close to the vest and let the lawyers/mediators help you through it.

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#9 of 16 Old 04-01-2009, 06:10 PM
 
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Hawaii lawyers require a $3-5000 retainer and most charge $250 an hour.

STBX wants to go to mediation with a $5000 private mediator because he wants to bring his lawyer. And charge me half that amount. I chose a mediation center that costs $50 but discourage lawyers. I'm not going to agree to pay $2500 for something that could cost $50!!!!

Akie, single mom to M (02/18/06), E (08/04/07) and Z (06/22/09)
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#10 of 16 Old 04-03-2009, 12:01 PM
 
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Wow. That's a steep retainer.

I put down $1500, but ended up with a $11,000 final bill because of a short-lived custody fight my ex "thought" he wanted to try.

Def get into agreement on anything you can...

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#11 of 16 Old 04-03-2009, 07:46 PM
 
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yikes, it's an expensive business. we're putting a hold on divorce right now because x just lost his job so we're broke and he needs my health insurance.

we did meet with a mediator and negotiated down to $200 an hr, but he meets in 3 hr blocks and that gets really pricey really quick, and it felt like things could get dragged out for forever in there.

i'd say go for the $50 an hr option, but there seems to be such a wide range of mediators out there. i guess it probably depends how much conflict there is with you and your x and how much needs to get resolved.
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#12 of 16 Old 04-03-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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A family friend is my lawyer and the retainer is still 5k.
He is going to try to claim some of the fees, since i am hiring him to get child support on behalf of my child...

: feminist mama to DD 04/08
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#13 of 16 Old 04-04-2009, 10:15 AM
 
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Wow.

I paid my lawyer $500. This was for an uncontested divorce where we worked out all the details on our own. Basically my ex and I did some research on how things usually worked, worked out the details ourselves, and my lawyer drew up the paperwork and had us both sign. No trips to court necessary. I have an unusually cooperative ex though.
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#14 of 16 Old 04-04-2009, 01:30 PM
 
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I am just starting the process, have paid my $200/hr a $5000 retainer, a loan from my parents. He does not want the divorce and will likely contest a lot of things, but he doesn't plan to get an attorney. Right now he is in total denial that it is going to happen. He thinks we are just going through a hard time.
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#15 of 16 Old 04-04-2009, 02:10 PM
 
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DIY uncontested divorce here (tho uncontested on paper, we definitely had our fair share of out-of-court SCREAMING matches before we could come to an amicable agreement!).

Ex and I have two kids and we owned a house together + a lot of debt. He bought official paperwork off some website for like $90, but it turned out it wasn't exactly what was needed. I ended up having to fumble thru and write a good portion of the paperwork myself using a law library and a lot of luck.

We were seperated since May, didn't file til Dec ($250-ish filing fee), and it took 4 failed attempts of re-writing the paperwork before the judge would sign it off. Div was final in July, over a year after we had seperated, but it only cost about $400 total.

good luck!

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#16 of 16 Old 04-06-2009, 12:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krystal323 View Post
DIY uncontested divorce here (tho uncontested on paper, we definitely had our fair share of out-of-court SCREAMING matches before we could come to an amicable agreement!).

Ex and I have two kids and we owned a house together + a lot of debt. He bought official paperwork off some website for like $90, but it turned out it wasn't exactly what was needed. I ended up having to fumble thru and write a good portion of the paperwork myself using a law library and a lot of luck.

We were seperated since May, didn't file til Dec ($250-ish filing fee), and it took 4 failed attempts of re-writing the paperwork before the judge would sign it off. Div was final in July, over a year after we had seperated, but it only cost about $400 total.

good luck!
i posted earlier about having a DIY divorce, but left off the details. the above post is pretty much how i handled it as well. bought my papers on the internet for under $100, edited them myself to fit our situation; after getting preliminary agreement from STBX, took the papers to my brother who is an attorney (not a divorce specialist), who advised me to put in some dates for closure, etc., otherwise the papers looked good. signed and notorized the papers with my STBX, paid the $200ish filing fee, awaited my court date (STBX didn't go), got sent home from the court once to correct something or another on the paperwork, then got it all finalized on the second try. waited several months before i got our final divorce papers in the mail, gave now Ex his copy.

OP, you said your situation is amicable. i really urge you to do all you can to keep it this way, and if it is at all possible to avoid *negotiating* through lawyers, this is one of the best ways to keep the peace.

no offense to any divorce lawyers, but sorry, that is how they make their money. they just *love it* when spouses fight, some people even say the two opposing lawyers get together and devise strategy on how to handle the divorcing couple.

someone may have a good experience with a lawyer, or their situation with their STBX is so godawful that you had to hire a shark for a lawyer, and i don't begrudge you that option or opportunity.

however if there's any way possible to work out all of the details yourselves, and just use the lawyers to make sure all of the legal mumbojumbo is in place, you can save yourselves a ton of money and heartache, and might even have the chance to part ways and still be friends, as i am now, 10 years later, with my Ex.

best of luck to you!

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