A divorce is considered contested when soon to be ex-spouses cannot reach agreement with regard to any number of issues such as:
Any known, potential, or discovered issues will need to be discussed frankly and in detail with the client. A position will need to be carefully formulated and presented to the court and to the other party or their attorney. This may involve special or mandatory pleadings, motions, discovery or other information gathering action, or hearings depending upon the situation. After years of experience, I can only say with certainty that each case is unique. Some constested divorces are finalized in about six months while others take well over a year if there is a stalemate. Some cases just require more time and effort than others to resolve in a way that best protects the client.
Most divorces, even the "contested" ones, do not end up going through trial. Sometimes after receiving further inforamtion the parties settle. The Judge may give an opinion at the pre-trial hearing that settles the remaining issue(s) of a case. Other times the matter comes very close to trial and then settles as one or both parties decide that the issue is not worth the cost or risking a potential negative outcome. Again, each case is different.
Due to the nature of contested divorce, I cannot charge a flat fee for these cases. I charge a what is called a retainer (kind of like a deposit that you maintain) to begin work at an agreed upon hourly rate. That money is held in trust until it is used by costs incurred and hourly work performed. This retainer must be kept up throughout the duration of your case. Any unused portion is refunded at the end of representation. My retainer for divorce is generally $1,000. My typcial contested divorces, which consist of preparation and filing of necessary pleadings, consultations, information gathering, a few court appearances, and negotiation of the final disposition have been averaging between $2,000 - $4,000 total. The fee depends greatly upon cooperation of the parties and counsel, and how much work is needed to gather information or present a position.
Do you have questions about my services?
Contact my office at (636) 946-4343 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org