We get this question frequently. The answer is, it depends of course! Divorces with children are more expensive than divorces without children because additional paperwork is required including child support worksheets and parenting plans. Oftentimes, the number of contested issues is also greater when dealing with a divorce with children. The types of assets and debts also play a factor in how much a divorce costs. The more complex the estate is, the more expensive it will be to figure out how to fairly divide it. Several pieces of real estate, different types of retirement accounts, stock options, and complex compensation awards all play a factor in how much a divorce will ultimately cost. The total bill almost always depends on the total time involved. Attorneys charge by the hour. Our billable rates at Bivek Brubaker & Prescott are $325 per hour for the Partners. Rates in Georgia range from $175 per hour on the low end and up to $750 per hour on the very high end. Paralegals have hourly rates that range from $50 per hour up to $175 per hour. Our retainers range from $1250 to $7500 depending on the complexity of the case.
The best way to keep your costs down is to be organized. Having organized documents regarding your assets and debts will help reduce expensive discovery, and get your attorney educated about your assets and debts faster. Keeping your emotions under control and remembering that divorce is a process and not a means to exact punishment will also help keep your costs down and the process more efficient. Resolving custodial issues between you and your spouse can also help drastically reduce the legal fees involved in your divorce.
Flat fees are also available at Bivek Brubaker & Prescott and can range from $1250 up to $15,000 depending on the nature and complexity of your case.
This is our second most common question. Divorces can be finalized as fast as 31 days in Georgia. This happens when the parties agree on most or all of the issues. Divorces can last as long as 4 years. This typically occurs when there are protracted custody issues, or when dealing with an extremely complicated estate involving trusts, significant real estate holdings, and stock options. On average, a divorce will take approximately 6-9 months. During that time frame, discovery will be conducted, depositions can be taken, settlement proposals can be exchanged and negotiated, mediation can take place, temporary hearings can take place and ultimately a final hearing can take place to adjudicate any unresolved issues.
Oftentimes, the most difficult part of a divorce is figuring out what happens to the children. It is important to remember that in virtually every divorce there is some type of shared parenting schedule where both parents have time with the children, and both parents have input into the legal decisions affecting the children. Divorce does not have to be a “zero sum” game when it comes to children in that one side has to be the “winner” and one side has to be the “loser”. Terms like custody “battles” are heartbreaking to hear, and ultimately the process should be less combative and more focused on structuring a shared approach for the children where each parent can contribute their strengths to the co-parenting and raising of the child or children. Each parenting plan should be uniquely tailored to the parties taking into account work schedules, ages of the children, and their bond to each of the parents. At Bivek Brubaker and Prescott, we will help you customize and negotiate a parenting plan that fits with your life and allows your children to best succeed in the event of a divorce. There is no “one size fits all” approach to custody and each case is truly unique as each child is unique.
For many people considering divorce, “court litigation” sounds expensive, drawn-out, and invasive. But for couples that are truly motivated to work together and compromise, there are still out-of-court alternatives. Divorce mediation is one option. With this approach, a trained mediator facilitates a negotiation between spouses, accompanied by their respective divorce attorneys. Together, you can work out contested issues, like child support, alimony, and a division of assets in a confidential setting. We’ve found it to be a very effective process for clients who go in with the right mindset. Just be sure to select a mediator whose style, manner and expertise feel like a good fit.
A second option is a collaborative law, a tool that helps clients resolve disputes outside of court by bringing in experts from different fields, like financial planners, child psychologists, and therapists. We’re trained in this unique approach to family law—one that truly puts the interests of the family first in working toward a fair and equitable arrangement. Collaborative law is not for everyone, of course, but in divorces where both parties are motivated to avoid litigation, it can save money and reduce the stress placed on the family.
Divorce can be financially and emotionally draining, but it helps to prepare yourself for the work ahead before you even consider filing. Make sure you have an emergency fund in an account that your spouse doesn’t have access to. This one is key, because once you file, or once your spouse does, you’ll both be locked out of moving assets from your marital estate. While you’re padding your emergency fund, you’ll also want to document your full financial picture—this means your mortgage, retirement accounts, stocks or other assets, and account balances.
Privacy is another top concern if you’re considering filing, especially if you feel your spouse may be tracking or monitoring your activity. It’s best to create a new, private email address and obtain a P.O. Box that you can use for correspondence with your lawyer or financial institutions. Change your passwords for all of your social accounts, as well as phone or computer passwords.
If you’re considering divorce, you need a Marietta divorce lawyer. A Marietta divorce attorney can help you answer these common questions and more. Call us today for more information.