How Much Does A Family Attorney Actually Cost? Child Custody

child custody

Child Custody, Legal and Family Attorney Fees

First off, what are the actual different forms of child custody?  Some of these include:

  • Joint or shared custody
  • Sole custody to one parent
  • Split custody
  • Third party/non-parental custody, including the child being designated as a ‘ward of the court’
  • Split custody of each of the children is possible but in the best interest of the children the courts no not normally encourage this.

So now that you’ve decided what kind of custody you will be seeking, how much is this journey going to cost? Well, below are some general guidelines to possible legal fees in such matters:

  • Cost of initial consultation with a family law or child custody lawyer as a one-time fee or based on an hourly rate can range from $50-$500.
  • Retainers are usually to be paid up front  and can range from $500-$5000  for  approx. 10-12 hrs. of work.
  • Court appearances are charged at a higher hourly rate ranging from $100-$1000.
  • Cost of preparing, filing and court fees – up to $1000.
  • Hiring of expert witnesses, preparing deposition, evaluation experts –  between $5000-$10,000.
  • Other misc fees for documents, courier serving of summons, etc – up to $3000.

The above costs do not include time missed from work that you will be doing to get everything set in motion and maintaining appointments.

Many parents get discouraged not being able to afford these kinds of costs and because of that will forfeit visitation or even custody of their children. This should not be! Luckily there are parental advocate groups out there that charge much more reasonable prices and in some cases you may be able to do it yourself, depending on the kind of court order that you are seeking. The biggest misconception about Family law is that it is not like criminal law and you do not necessarily need a lawyer in court. What you need is a well prepared legal document that can be put in the hands of a judge who will be deciding what is in the best interest of your children.

Do your research and don’t let the high prices of attorneys discourage you from enforcing custody or visitation rights for your children. There may be times when you will have to hire an attorney depending on the circumstances of your case but don’t throw your money away if one is not truly needed. Also, hiring a high priced attorney does not necessarily mean that you will win your case. Do your homework and find out what you can do by yourself or with a lower cost alternative. Remember that no service is ever free, however, just like you would shop around and get the best deal for a car or any other major purchase, shop around for alternatives to high priced attorneys and only spend that kind of money when absolutely necessary. There are alternatives to spending thousands of dollars to obtain a court order;  it just takes your time and diligence to seek them out.

If you need help with a child custody issue and cannot afford an attorney click here –>www.AboutTheChildren.org

of Call 800 787 4981

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Posted in Child Custody, Child Visitation, Family Court, Joint Custody

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