Divorce is complicated enough before you start factoring in the financial costs of dividing assets and determining custody. Trying to determine what constitutes normal divorce lawyer’s fees and whether you are getting good service for your money just compounds the problem.
Luckily, we’ve got some solid numbers for you to start with, as well as some advice on the less tangible elements of a divorce lawyer’s value.
While every divorce is different, and the amount you’ll need to pay a divorce lawyer will depend largely on how long the case goes on for and how difficult the issues involved are to resolve, we do have some averages for you to consider.
According to Canadian Lawyer Mag’s 2015 survey, the average divorce lawyer’s fees nationwide for an uncontested divorce are $1,845; for Ontario, the average is $1,217. For a contested divorce, the average rises to $13,638 nationwide (with the highest surveyed coming in at $87,974) and $8,747 for Ontario (with the most expensive reaching $25,417).
Value Beyond the Hourly Rate
Of course, your lawyer’s hourly rate isn’t the only thing that affects their value. The skills and experience of your lawyer will affect what you get for your money. In the grand scheme of things, a divorce lawyer who charges a slightly higher fee but knows divorce law inside and out is going to be a better investment. Make sure that your lawyer is knowledgeable about the major issues you anticipate facing during your divorce. And, as Divorce Magazine points out, if your spouse is going to come at you with a full legal team as opposed to a sole practitioner, you may need the same on your side.
You’re also relying on your divorce lawyer during a difficult and complicated time in your life. As The Huffington Post points out, divorce attorneys are “not trained to be your therapist or coach.” That said, they should still have your best interests at heart. A good family law attorney will pay attention to your case and help you recognize what would be best for you in your unique circumstances, and these factors will go a long way toward your satisfaction with the process. Divorce Magazine goes on to state that being comfortable with your attorney is also important, as they need to know all the facts, even the hard ones, if they are going to represent you properly. So find a lawyer you trust and get along with.
What You Can Do
You can also help to reduce your legal fees through your own actions and attitude. The Huffington Post recommends staying goal-oriented, which in this case means remaining focused on “getting divorced as quickly, and with as little financial damage, as possible” rather than letting your emotions run the show. Productively spending your time with your lawyer can cut down on the fees you would need to pay. Remembering the big picture and not getting caught up in disagreements over small items can help save you energy and money.
Getting Help from Trusted Professionals
We know that getting a divorce can be a challenge, but we are here to help you get through it as smoothly as possible. If you are looking for a reliable firm to help you through the divorce process, consider Galbraith Family Law.
Galbraith Family Law is a certified Collaborative Practice, which has been named the top firm in Barrie on multiple occasions. Our legal insights have also been featured in the Globe and Mail, as well as Lawyers Weekly.
Click here to contact us, or to schedule a consultation. You can also call the local office listed at the top of the page.