Search thousands of topics on CostHelper.com

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> appliances babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business weddings
CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Legal > Child Custody Attorney

Child Custody Attorney Cost


How Much Does a Child Custody Attorney Cost?

 
average costMedium: Start around $3,000-$5,000; Usually Billing $75-$400+ per hourhigh costHigh: Can Run $5,00-$,35000 for Complex Cases
post E-mail post Post   Comments (1)

An initial custody arrangement will be set up as part of a divorce, but changes in one parent's circumstances or desires (or if the parents were never married so there is no divorce decree), a separate child custody suit may be filed.

Typical costs:

  • Legal fees start around $3,000-$5,000 for a relatively simple child custody case, but could be quite a bit less if both parents are in relative agreement and can settle out of court. However, legal costs can jump to $5,500-$35,000 or more for a custody battle that includes taking depositions, hiring experts to testify, extensive "discovery" in the other parent's records, and lots of time preparing for and holding a trial.
  • Because custody cases are unpredictable in terms of complications and length, most family law attorneys charge fees based on hourly rates of $75-$400, although some attorneys charge as much as $500 an hour, according to the book "Child Custody Made Simple"[1] ; time in court is usually charged at a higher rate than for an office consultation. Some attorneys charge a flat fee for a specific, straightforward process, such as the paperwork needed for an uncontested change in custody arrangements. FindLaw.com explains the basic types of legal fees[2] .
  • Legal fees are usually paid in advance in a payment known as a retainer. If the attorney is working on an hourly basis, charges for the hours worked by an attorney or office staff will be deducted from the retainer as the work is done; if the retainer is used up you will be billed for an additional pre-payment.
Related articles: Child Support Attorney, Divorce, Prenuptial Agreement

What should be included:
  • Child custody is meant to be awarded based on the best interests of the child or children; custody is usually governed by state rather than federal law. Details vary between states. FindLaw.com lists custody laws [3] by state and custody resources [4] by state, and links to custody forms[5] for each state. Lawyers.com describes the rights of a non-custodial parent[6] .
Additional costs:
  • Books explaining the child custody system[7] range from $12-$100.
  • Some lawyers may include filing fees or other court costs ($5-$250 or more) and other expenses (copying, postage, messengers, paralegal time, etc.) in their legal fees but other attorneys charge separately for these. Get a written estimate of anticipated "other" costs.
  • Working with a mediator to create a custody agreement (without going to trial) could cost $80-$250 an hour, for two or more hours of work; this fee is usually split by both parties.
  • The initial consultation to discuss your case may be free or it could be charged at the attorney's hourly rate; ask before you go.
Discounts:
  • Many states have programs granting fee waivers (for filing fees and other court costs) to low-income people. You may also qualify for Legal Aid or other free or low-cost assistance; the American Bar Association links to legal resources[8] in each state.
Shopping for a child custody attorney:
  • Ask family and friends for feedback on local family law attorneys. Contact several, and ask about each one's training and experience in family law.Lawyers.com explains what to do in a first meeting with a family law attorney[9] .
  • Referrals are available through FindLaw.com[10] ; or you can contact your local bar association[11] .
  • Your attorney should provide you with a written fee agreement. Be sure you understand what is covered, and any other fees and expenses you might have to pay.
post E-mail post Post   Comments (1)
CostHelper News


10 Key Ways to Prepare for Extreme Snow
Forecasters are predicting a true nor'easter will hit the eastern and central states with rain, thunderstorms, ice, snow and high winds over the Thanksgiving weekend. It's crucial to plan ahead, before bad weather hits. || Posted November 26 2013


10 Most Popular Cosmetic Procedures Before the Holidays
With reunions and other get-togethers scheduled during the holiday season, most people want to look their best at this time of year. For some, that means filling in those wrinkles with a bit of botox, or having a nip and tuck down here and there. || Posted November 23 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts


What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
relocation action
Amount: $30,000.00 total
Posted by: Custodial Parent in Ithaca, NY.Posted: December 6th, 2014 05:12AM
Law Firm: Miller-MayerAmount Per Hour: 300
* over $2000 to prepare petition
* over $15000 the week of 1.5 days in court
* billed for both junior associate and partner appearance at court
* junior associate seems to cost at least twice as much per task compared to senior associate
* no deposition
* minor discovery requests
* no special witness
* billed for self-initiated investigations that did not result in any product
* multiple items on the bill did not lead to any legal product
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam


 

Comment On Your Experience With a Child Custody Attorney
 
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  * total
Law Firm: Amount Per Hour: 
Comments: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
 
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.
 



External Resources:
  1.  www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0964940434
  2.  hirealawyer.findlaw.com/attorney-fees-and-agreements/types-of-legal-fees.html
  3.  family.findlaw.com/child-custody/child-custody-summaries-of-state-laws.html
  4.  family.findlaw.com/child-custody/child-custody-and-visitation-information-by-state.html
  5.  family.findlaw.com/child-custody/child-custody-forms-by-state.html
  6.  family-law.lawyers.com/visitation-rights/Visitation-Rights-After-Divorce-or-End-of-Rela...
  7.  www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=child+custody...
  8.  apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm
  9.  family-law.lawyers.com/Family-Law-Meeting-with-a-Lawyer.html
  10.  family.findlaw.com/child-custody/get-legal-help-with-custody-visitation.html
  11.  apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/lris/directory/
More Personal Finance Topics
Check Out All Costs for Personal Finance How Much Do Funeral Flowers Cost? How Much Do Tax Returns Cost? How Much Does Closing a Home Cost?

Search Thousands of Topics on CostHelper.com




Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
Insulation and labor of sump pump
Paid: 11000.00
My 87 year old mother was just told by Roto Rooter it would cost her 11,000 for a submersible sump pump to be instaled and connected to her city sewer... [more]
-Maryizene
Sump Pump Cost
Disposals
Paid: 265.00
$265.00 is about the going rate for a badger 5 disposal in the Cincinnati area.... [more]
-Mark45236
Garbage Disposal Cost
timing belt, water pump and thermostat
Paid: 800.00
My car over heated and the thermostat needle was fully up. They replaced the water pump, thermostat, timing belt and other old hoses once they were inside the engine...plus an oil change. in my 1998 Pathfinder. All is well after that... [more]
-CBG
Replacing a Timing Belt Cost
Dentures
Paid: 6000.00
This will be my second set of dentures. I've learned there are different types for different budgets. My first pair were premium and lasted over 25 years... [more]
-MaggieMae 368
Dentures Cost
Gift of love
Paid: 300.00
I just made my son's wedding cake. It was 4 tiers, with a rough frosting exterior. The frosting was made with real butter and whipping cream. The cake layers were baked from scratch. It cost $300 for the ingredients and supplies... [more]
-Debobo
Wedding Cake Cost
Home visit, euthanasia & communal cremation
Paid: 300.00
Our experience was very similar to Sharlene's in Anaheim. Our lab (70 lbs.) was almost 15. He was given a sedative (shot) first. We had the convertible couch bed open in the living room... [more]
-Mary K Swift
Pet Euthanasia Cost