Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
In theory, divorce is simple. You and your spouse only need to resolve child support, child custody, spousal support, divide assets, and divide debts. If you can work these issues out you can file an “uncontested divorce”, and the divorce can be settled quickly.
If you think you have a uncontested divorce then you should review our Joint Petition Worksheet. This page walks you through the steps for discussing and filing a Joint Petition, which is the name of the documents used to file an uncontested divorce in Nevada. Most uncontested divorces don’t need a divorce lawyer. Of if they do, it’s to help with the paperwork.
Costs of Uncontested Divorce
The costs for an uncontested divorce will range between $1,500 and $2,500 for most cases. The final cost depends on how uncontested your case really is. Some couples have everything figured out and the process is quick. Other couples need a couple of meetings with an attorney to mediate some of the issues.
If the two of you are unable to file a Joint Petition or to settle on the divorce terms, you most likely will need a divorce attorney to help with a “contested divorce”. Divorce lawyers have two main ways to charge for a contested divorce; hourly or fixed fee. Under the hourly billing method an attorney charges you for every minute of work on your case. At the end of the month you are presented a bill. This bill could be 1 hour or it could be 20 hours. With a fixed fee the attorney lists the services to be completed and cost. You pay this cost and there are no extra charges until new work needs to be completed. Both hourly and fixed fee attorneys usually require a deposit (or retainer) before starting work.
Costs of Contested Divorce
No law firm knows exactly what your contested divorce will cost. Why not? Because we don’t know what your spouse or their attorney are going to do. They may be ready, willing and able to go to court on unreasonable claims. We have seen $20,000 divorce cases because the other spouse wanted a judge to know the other spouse cheated. This is an unreasonable, and ridiculous claim. Courts don’t care about affairs. But, we couldn’t stop the other spouse from having their day in court.
These unreasonable cases are rare. The average contested divorce costs between $6,000 to $8,000. With the upfront retainer being between $3,000 to $4,000.
Either contested divorce or uncontested divorce there is no law requiring you to have an attorney to handle your case. Here are some tips when you should hire a divorce lawyer or family law attorney.
When to Hire a Divorce Lawyer
- If the stress is too much. If you roll-up in a fetal position every time you see a legal document you may want to hire someone. The only reason not to hire a lawyer is the money. What’s more important money or your health?
- If you are seeking protective orders (or TPO) against a spouse. Cases involving protective orders are too difficult, and possibly dangerous, to handle on your own.
- If speaking in court in front of a judge scares you. There is a high probability you will need to present your case in open court in front of the judge.
- If you and your spouse have a considerable amount of debt. Debt can be a sticky legal situation.
- If you own real estate or a business. Business evaluations absolutely need expert legal assistance.
- If one of the contested issues is alimony or spousal support. Spousal support formulas are complex. Do yourself a favor and hire an attorney who understand the judges thoughts on spousal support.
- If your spouse has left the state with the children. Custody cases with relocation issues are too complicated to handle without a custody attorney.
If you do need to hire any attorney, what should you look for? Here are some tips on what to look for in a divorce attorney.
Keys To Hiring an Attorney
- Hire a lawyer with at least three or more years of divorce experience. Their experience should be specific in divorce, of family law. Don’t use a business attorney to represent you in family court and vice versa. Two completely different types of law, and in Las Vegas two different courts.
- Look for online reviews which speak about the attorney and staff. You will be dealing with the staff as much as the attorney.
- Look for an attorney that supports you and believes in your viewpoints or interests. Not all attorneys will agree with your position on an issue. Your position may not be right, but no sense fighting your attorney and your spouse.
- Speak with a law firm that provides you an initial consultation with an attorney. Some firms have you meet with a paralegal first. Working with a paralegal after you meet the attorney is acceptable.
- If your case is likely to go to trial then look for an attorney with at least a dozen divorce trials under his belt. Just because they have a attorney license doesn’t mean they know how to handle a trial.