How Much Does A Children’s Custody Lawyer Cost?

A child custody lawyer can help you decide on a parenting schedule, establish custody and visitation rights, or fight to get financial support for your children. You may want to hire a child custody lawyer even if you and your co-parent have an uncontested case, as they can represent you in court and ensure that the outcome of the case is fair. 

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Cost of a Custody Case: What to Expect

The cost of a child custody case depends on many factors. The type of case, the complexity of the issues, and your personal budget will all have an impact on how much you pay for your attorney. For a simple, uncontested case with no special needs or complex issues, a child custody lawyer could charge between $2,500 and $5,000 in legal fees. 

In cases where the parents have a solid agreement on custody, visitation, and support, fees will be less than that. Typically, custody attorneys will charge an hourly rate that is based on the amount of time they spend on the case. 

If the case is contested, it can add to your lawyer’s costs by requiring additional depositions, mediation, and court time. Whether or not the case goes to trial will also determine how much you will pay. 

Other fees associated with a child custody dispute include miscellaneous expenses, expert fees, and legal aid options in your state. The following list includes some of the most common charges: 

Filing Fees: You will have to pay a filing fee any time you file a lawsuit or legal document with your local court. These fees average around $200 to $400 but can be waived if you meet certain requirements. 

Service Fees: You will have to pay if you need a sheriff or process server to serve the other party with papers. The estimated $30 per service can add up quickly, especially if the other party is located far away from you. 

Investigations: You will have to pay for an investigation when the other party claims that you are not providing your child with a safe environment. These investigations can be long and expensive, which can increase your overall child custody lawyer’s fees. 

You may also have to pay for expert opinions, such as those from therapists or doctors. These experts can provide their advice in a variety of ways, such as by giving testimony or providing a report. 

These experts can be invaluable for your case, but they can also add up to a significant expense. 

* Retainers: Some child custody lawyers require a retainer before they start working on your case. The retainer is similar to a down payment or deposit. The retainer funds will be deducted from your attorney’s hourly rate. 

You should always meet with an attorney to discuss the specifics of their pricing structure. The cost of a child custody case is influenced by the complexity of the case, the number of hours spent on it, and the outcomes of the proceedings.