How Much Does a Family Attorney Charge? 

When determining how much a family attorney should charge, the first thing to consider is the amount of money they require upfront. Some attorneys require a retainer, which is a deposit that is placed in a trust account until the work is completed. The amount of the retainer varies but is usually somewhere between $3,500 and $10,000. In most cases, this amount remains in the trust account until the work is completed.

(Family, Law Missoula the attorneys at S. DeBoer Attorney at Law are committed to helping you face your family legal matters with expert legal assistance.)

Child custody 

The costs of a family attorney for child custody cases vary widely. Some are contested and can cost upwards of $20,000 and more. Some of the more complex cases, involving special needs children, criminal history, substance abuse, or parental alienation, require expert witnesses and other specialized services. Some families cannot afford to hire an attorney, so they may seek legal aid. For a low-cost option, consider mediation, which can cost between $500 and $1,500. 

Aside from seeking out referrals, you can also look at customer testimonials and past cases. Read through the profiles of different attorneys, and ask questions to clarify their approach and expected outcome. Once you have selected a few attorneys, get price quotes and learn about their fee structures. Remember that a child custody lawyer will help you protect your child’s best interests and keep you informed along the way. If you have decided to hire an attorney, ask them to explain their fee structure and any costs associated with a particular case. 


How much does a family attorney charge for a divorce? Often, it depends on the complexity of the case and the amount of time it takes. The hours your attorney spends will determine whether or not you can reach an agreement with your spouse. Our readers who hired full-service attorneys reported an average cost of $11,300. That doesn’t include the cost of the spouses’ attorneys. For full-service representation, the attorney will charge between $7,000 and $11,000 for the case. 

Most divorce lawyers charge by the hour, which is the first building block of the total cost. New York attorneys we surveyed provided a minimum and maximum hourly rate, assuming the attorney’s fee would fall within that range for an individual client. The average minimum hourly rate for divorce attorneys was $305 and the maximum was $380. A divorce lawyer’s fee should be at least half of this range. This amount should be kept in mind when estimating the cost of divorce. 

Prenuptial agreement 

The price of a prenuptial agreement can vary significantly, depending on the complexity of the contract and the assets of each party. While many lawyers charge on an hourly basis, a flat-fee agreement with an attorney can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,400. The attorney’s time is also valuable, so a flat fee should include any extra meetings or services you require. 

Prenuptial agreement consultations can be very expensive. The first consultation can cost as much as $3,500, while subsequent hours cost $500 per hour. Additional hours can be added to the retainer, depending on the complexity of the case. A family attorney may use other professionals in the process, such as a tax attorney or trusts and estates lawyer. For example, if your spouse wants to get a divorce, you’ll likely need a tax attorney. 

Legal aid 

If you need family law advice, legal aid for low-income individuals is available. For instance, the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York (LASNY) provides free civil legal services to low-income people. Lawyers at the firm have helped Paula, a low-income mother, secure Social Security benefits after receiving denials for more than a decade. Likewise, Kayama, a non-profit organization that assists Jewish people in obtaining a religious divorce, also provides free services. 

The Family Law Assistance Network (FLAN) is a collaborative project between the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, DC Affordable Law Firm, and the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. The program provides free legal representation and advice to low-income individuals in cases involving family law and domestic violence. To receive free legal aid, contact your local legal aid office or ask your judge to appoint a legal aid lawyer for you.