Terese J. Singer

Costs of Divorce

Milwaukee Attorneys Providing Dedicated Guidance in Family Law Matters

As anyone who has been involved in a legal proceeding knows, hiring a lawyer to handle a legal matter in your life is not always a cheap solution. Depending on the complexity of the situation, legal fees and costs for the proceeding can add up. At the same time, attempting to handle a dispute without an attorney can put you at a significant disadvantage and end up costing you a lot more money in the long term. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, our Milwaukee divorce attorneys strive to represent our clients in an efficient and effective manner that minimizes the costs of divorce and maximizes the overall outcome. If you are considering a divorce, we will happily sit down with you to go over the expenses involved, including fees and costs imposed by the court.

Understanding the Bigger Picture

According to various organizations, including Martindale-Nolo, the average cost of a divorce in the United States these days is well over $12,000, with some sources going so far as to argue that a divorce can cost over $100,000. There are two types of financial costs that contribute to the cost of divorce, as well as the additional mental and emotional burdens of divorce proceedings. First, individuals filing for divorce need to pay for the physical cost of the proceedings, which includes things like filing fees, experts, and copying. Second, parties to a divorce need to pay for attorneys’ fees, assuming that they hire an attorney to represent them.

The Hard Costs of Divorce

The physical costs of divorce can vary from minimal to very significant, depending on the trajectory that your divorce takes. To file an initial petition for divorce in Wisconsin will cost several hundred dollars in filing fees, depending on whether you are filing separately or together, and whether you have minor children. In an amicable divorce in which you agree on the division of assets and custody, there may be minor costs involved for mailing and copying, but nothing too significant.

However, in contentious divorce cases, you may need to hire experts to conduct financial appraisals, analyze your long-term financial needs, or opine on the best custody situation for your children. If you have medical issues that prevent you from working or influence your needs after a divorce, you may also need an expert to substantiate these claims. When parents dispute the appropriate custody arrangement for their kids, it may also be necessary to hire a guardian ad litem to act as a representative for your child’s best interest. All of these people charge hourly fees that can quickly add up, amounting to several thousand dollars or more in expenses.

Attorneys’ Fees And Keeping Costs Down

While attorneys’ fees can be the bulk of what a party pays during a divorce proceeding, there are ways to keep those costs down. In Wisconsin, the three top contributors to prolonged divorces and high attorneys’ fees are minor children, spousal maintenance disputes, and property disputes. When you are going into a divorce, it is helpful to try to get a handle on whether any of these three areas is likely to be an issue in your situation. If not, you may be able to amicably agree to most of the terms of your divorce and minimize the involvement of lawyers in the initial phases before a petition is filed.

Alternatively, if you believe that there is room for resolution in your dispute with a former spouse, you may also opt to mediate your divorce. A mediation is a shorter proceeding, typically a day or less, during which a neutral third party will work with you to try to resolve a dispute without involving expensive experts or the fees that build up in hearing preparation. Resolving a divorce through mediation can be much less expensive than a normal hearing process.

Contact a Divorce Attorney in the Milwaukee Area

If you are concerned about the potential costs of filing for a divorce, the most important thing that you can do is ask. Based on the circumstances of your divorce, including whether there are kids involved or a significant amount of assets, a family law attorney should be able to give you a rough idea of anticipated costs. While no estimate is written in stone, it can be a good guide for you in evaluating your legal needs. If you would like to talk more about the potential costs of divorce, the Milwaukee attorneys at Reddin & Singer, LLP are available to answer any questions that you may have. Contact our office for more information online or at (414) 271-6400. We represent people in Milwaukee, Port Washington, Racine, West Bend, Waukesha, and other areas of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington, and Waukesha Counties.

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