Key to Hiring a Divorce Attorney

If we were all perfectly logical creatures, then divorce would be simple. You and your spouse only need to agree on child support, child custody, spousal support, division of assets, and division of debts. Hiring a divorce lawyers would only be for folks with complicated business issues.

If you can do all these things listed above, then you can file an uncontested divorce. You can get all the paperwork in order and through the courts in a matter of weeks instead of months. If you and your spouse choose an uncontested divorce, please feel free to use our Joint Petition checklist to make sure you have your paperwork in order.

Yet divorce typically involves complicated layers of emotion. Many couples struggle to settle everything amicably. Sometimes one of the spouses can just be downright disagreeable. That is when you have a contested divorce. It is wise in most circumstances to consider a divorce lawyer in order to give yourself the best chance of getting what you want.

Divorce Attorney Fees

So how much does a divorce cost in Las Vegas?  What can you expect to pay on top of that when hiring a divorce attorney?  No lawyer 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 their spouse had an affair.   Unfortunately, divorce courts don’t care about affairs.    The reason we were going to court was  unreasonable, but we couldn’t stop the jilted spouse from having their day in court.

Divorce cases fall into two main categories;  uncontested and contested.  The average contested divorce costs between $6,000 to $8,000 in Nevada. The average uncontested divorce costs from $1,500 to $2,500.

Uncontested Divorce Cost

The costs for an uncontested divorce will range between $1,000 and $2,500 for most cases.  The final cost depends on how uncontested your case truly is.  Some couples have everything figured which in turn makes the process quick. Other couples need a couple of meetings with an attorney to mediate some of the issues.  In Nevada an uncontested divorce is called a Joint Petition, or a Joint Divorce.   The best way to gauge whether you have a true uncontested divorce is to complete a Joint Petition worksheet.    By completing this worksheet you can show the attorney what is agreed upon, what is not agreed upon, and what issues you need an attorney to give you advice on.

Contested Divorce Cost

Sometimes spouses are unable to file a Joint Petition or to settle on the divorce terms. In that case you most likely will need a divorce attorney to help with a “contested divorce”. (Some people attempt court without a lawyer. We look at the problems with that in the next section.)   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 the law firm sends you a bill. This bill could be 1 hour or it could be 20 hours.  With a fixed fee, the attorney lists the services he or she will perform and the cost. You pay this cost and there are no extra charges until you request additional work.  Both hourly and fixed fee divorce attorneys usually need a deposit before starting work. You may have heard this referred to as a retainer.

Do You Need a Divorce Attorney?

No. You can file the paperwork yourself. Most people will do an uncontested divorce themselves. Sometimes a lawyer helps with complicated financial matters.   You can also represent yourself in court in a contested divorce. In our experience, this is rarely a good way to get what you want.  If the money for hiring a divorce lawyer concerns you, call around your area. Chances are someone can help. Don’t get discouraged if the first divorce lawyer won’t work with you at a price you can afford. Sometimes you have to go through several no’s to get a yes.

When to Hire A Divorce Attorney

Like we said, hiring a divorce lawyer is not required. Yet in some situations, you have to choose between your wallet and your health. Divorces are stressful as well as exhausting. Consider hiring a divorce lawyer to handle things for you and focus on your well being.

If any of the following situations apply to you, you might want to consider hiring a Las Vegas divorce lawyer to take some of the load off your day.

  • If you roll-up in a fetal position every time you see a legal document, you may want to hire someone.
  • 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. Nevada divides debts as well as assets equally. You don’t want to end up paying off your ex’s debts.
  • 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.

Keys to Hiring the Best Divorce Attorney

Hire a lawyer with at least three or more years of divorce experience. Their experience should be specific to divorce or family law.

Don’t use a business attorney to represent you in a family court or vice versa. They are two completely different types of law. In Las Vegas, they are also 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 as well as believes in your viewpoints and interests. Not all attorneys will agree with your position on an issue. Your position may not be right, but no sense in fighting your attorney and your spouse.

Speak with a law firm that provides you with an initial consultation with one of their divorce attorneys. Some have you meet with a paralegal first. Working with a paralegal after you meet with 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 their belt. Just because they have an attorney license doesn’t mean they know how to handle a trial. (You don’t want to be someone’s test run unless you are getting a crazy discount.)

Questions to Ask a Divorce Attorney

  • How many times have you been to a divorce trial?
  • How many years of of divorce law experience do you have?
  • What is your fee structure?
  • Who else in your office will be working on my case?
  • What other costs do you expect in my case?
  • In your experience, how do you predict a judge would rule in the case of my (alimony, child support, custody)?

Try to be conscious of answers that are honest (you may not like them) versus answers given to only to get your business. If everything sounds too good to be true, consult with another attorney just in case.   Second opinions are good to have.

Are you looking at hiring a divorce lawyer? Call one of our divorce attorneys today. (702) 914-0400