The decision to end a marriage is not a decision that is easily reached for most people, and the path leading to that decision is different for each person. If you are contemplating divorce, or have already decided that divorce is inevitable, you probably have a number of questions about the actual divorce process. If you are like many people, one of the first concerns you have is how much a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer will cost you. Every divorce case involves a unique set of facts, and every divorce lawyer handles their own fee arrangements. Consequently, it is impossible to provide a detailed answer to that question without first consulting a lawyer and discussing your situation. There are, however, some common factors that will typically influence the cost of a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer.
Types of Fee Arrangements
Lawyer have several different options for the type of fee arrangements they use. The type of fee arrangement utilized will typically depend on the type of case involved. Divorces are usually handled using either a flat fee or an hourly fee arrangement. With a flat fee, the attorney charges a set fee, discussed at the beginning of the case. This type of fee arrangement is usually only used when the divorce is a simple, uncontested divorce. An hourly fee arrangement involves providing the lawyer with a retainer fee, from which time spent on the case is billed in hourly increments at a set hourly fee. For instance, your attorney might charge $250 per hour and require a $5,000 retainer. As the attorney works on the case, he or she will keep track of that time and bill it against the retainer. The amount of the retainer is usually determined by how much time the attorney estimates will be spent on the case. If the retainer is exhausted, the client must provide an additional retainer.
Factors that Influence the Cost of a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer
The amount a divorce lawyer charges for his/her services will depend on several factors, including:
- Experience – the level of experience an attorney has is almost always a factor when it comes to attorney fees. A well-established lawyer with an excellent reputation in family law cases is clearly going to charge more than a lawyer just starting his/her practice.
- Grounds – like most states, Tennessee offers both fault and no-fault grounds in a divorce. If you allege fault grounds when you file the divorce, those grounds must ultimate be proven, typically requiring more work on the part of the attorney. Consequently, it may cost more to pursue a divorce based on one of the 15 fault grounds available in Tennessee which include:
- Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs;
- Living apart for two years with no minor children;
- Inappropriate marital conduct;
- Willful or malicious desertion for one full year without a reasonable cause;
- Conviction of a felony;
- Pregnancy of the wife by another before the marriage without the husband’s knowledge;
- Refusal to move to Tennessee with your spouse and living apart for two years;
- Malicious attempt upon the life of another;
- Lack of reconciliation for two years after the entry of a decree of separate maintenance;
- Impotency and sterility;
- Bigamy; and
- Abandonment or refusal or neglecting to provide for spouse although able to do so.
- Contested vs. Uncontested – if you and your spouse appear to want an amicable divorce and have no contested issues, it will be less work for the attorney and, therefore, less costly as a general rule. If the parties appear to be headed for a contentious divorce, that means more work for the attorney and, consequently, more money.
- Children or no children – when minor children are involved in a divorce it usually you can expect to pay more for a divorce that involves children than for one that doesn’t involve minor children, even if the parties are not contesting custody of the children.
- Value of assets – marital assets and debts must be divided in a divorce. When the parties have considerable assets that are valuable and complex, dividing them will require additional work which equates to additional fees.
Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer
If you are contemplating divorce in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Tennessee divorce lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the divorce process. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.