Search thousands of topics on CostHelper

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business sports 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

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 Post   Comments (3)  
CostHelper News


7 Lesser-Known Discounts for the 50+ Crowd
As they age, members of the Baby Boomer generation don't like to admit that they're senior citizens, but they love getting discounts. It's kind of a quandary, because some of the best deals available are reduced prices for older folks. || Posted October 21 2013


7 Ways to Stretch Your Reduced Food Budget
End of the year budgets are tight for everyone, especially in this economy.It's especially hard for the millions of Americans who depend on government programs like food stamps to help make ends meet. || Posted November 11 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts


What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Child custody mediation
Amount: $4,000.00 total
Posted by: Alondra in Nashville, TN.Posted: April 26th, 2017 01:04PM
Law Firm: AnonymousAmount Per Hour: ?
This was not going to court. This was just a simple 2 hour mediation,I paid for the mediation myself ($400)
I'm not sure if my attorney was taking advantage or not.Nothing was accomplished. I am looking for another attorney now.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
dissolution and chld custody
Amount: $7,000.00 total
Posted by: Family Law Reform Advocate in Kissimmee, FL.Posted: July 6th, 2016 10:07AM
Law Firm: Aleicia ReadingAmount Per Hour: flat fee
The trial took 1 day. No witnesses, no court reporter, no specialists or expert witnesses, no joint property to distribute, no dispositions.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
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...
  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...
  7.  www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=child+cu...
  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
Didn't hurt the pocketbook
Paid: 43.00
I called my dentist because my tooth had been hurting for a week and a half. I couldn't eat or sleep. It was horrible. They got me in the next day. The dental surgeon and staff took x-rays, verified that it indeed needed to come out... [more]
-Anxious in Augusta
Tooth Extraction Cost
Current cost of skirting job 2022
Paid: 2356.00
Purchased material @ mobile home supply store Front/back top trim & ground track 17 each [email protected]$9= $459. 48 [email protected]$17= $816. [email protected]$40 [email protected] $20 tax $121. Total material $1456. 3 guys total $75 hour labor at 12 hours $900 labor... [more]
-Fayard siding
Mobile Home Skirting Cost
Alatel joy tab2
Paid: 108.00
Cracked screen... [more]
-Shawn P Speers
Tablet Repair Cost
Replace 2baths, laundry, and kitchen to the street
Paid: 20000.00
Numerous breaks in 90 year old cast iron and also in the clay pipe. replaced with 4" schedule 40 ABS to the curb and then liner in the clay pipe to the city sewer... [more]
-Steve in 2022
Sewer Line Replacement Cost
Full mouth -Is this estimate too much?
Paid: 16945.00
Extract buttom front teeth, replace with single implant for both teeth. Root canals and crowns needed for 3 molars, fillings needed on 11 teeth. Deep cleaning with 4 spots of Arestin and fluoride treatment. All under IV sedation... [more]
-Shanmarspag
Dental Work Cost
Lockout at front door
Paid: 175.00
I was quoted $29 for a service call. The techniciandidn't give me a price but went ahead with the repair. It took about 10 minutes. Then he told me the charge was because the owner of the business gets most of the money I paid... [more]
-Carla Axelrod
Locksmith Cost