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Family Law Fees

fees icon The end of a marriage is an extremely emotional and trying time. It's tempting to behave counterproductively, increasing costs and wasting resources. For example, some people want to use the legal system to exact revenge on their spouse by making costly applications. Others may rely on their lawyer as a source of emotional support, and call them to report the latest indiscretions and outrageous behaviour of the other spouse.

Because most family lawyers charge by the hour, these can be very expensive ways of dealing with issues.

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General fees

A family lawyer with about five years' experience will cost about $180 per hour, and more experienced counsel can go up to $250 or more per hour. In choosing a lawyer, you should consider the value of the assets at stake; whether custody will be contested; whether there are complexities such as assets in other jurisdictions; and other factors.

Some costs can be fairly predictable in straightforward cases. The legal fees for an uncontested divorce usually range from $750 to $1,000, plus taxes and disbursements (photocopies, long distance charges, courier fees, etc.). This assumes there are no tax complications that need to be considered in structuring the property settlement arrangements.

The cost of a contested divorce usually depends upon the complexity of the case, and the vigour with which the parties fight over the assets and custody of the children.

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Prenuptial agreements

A prenuptial agreement will normally cost between $500 and $1,500, depending upon the nature of the assets and the time that it takes to negotiate. If you meet with your lawyer to discuss the options and consequences, and then agree on the terms with your fiancé(e), that will reduce your lawyer's time and fees.

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It also helps to have as much information prepared as possible when you meet with your lawyer. Review the material at the Lawyers-BC.com Web site to learn more about the law and your rights. This will save your lawyer's time ... and your money.

See the article "Five Ways to Save on Legal Fees" for more tips.

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More questions?

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Legal disclaimer:  The information provided on Lawyers-BC.Com is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered. Your access to and use of this Web site is subject to additional terms and conditions.

This page last updated: September 24, 1999
© copyright 1999 Lawyers-BC.Com Services Ltd.