Most people who contemplate separation or divorce in Simcoe County, York Region and the GTA are concerned about the cost of the process. We are deeply concerned about this as well. In fact, our reputation is built on helping people minimize their legal costs while resolving issues in a timely, efficient manner. Although each case is different, the choices you make can have a significant effect on the cost of your separation or divorce.
Typical Fees for Separation Agreements
When it is time to move on from a marriage and make a new start, a Separation Agreement should be obtained. The Separation Agreement is the document where issues related to the children, support and property are resolved. If you have children, you must prove to the judge that you have resolved child support issues by agreement or order before a divorce will be granted. For this reason, it is desirable to have a Separation Agreement in place.
You can reach the terms to be included in a Separation Agreement through your own negotiations, through mediation or through the Collaborative Process. Often court cases are resolved with a Separation Agreement. If you cannot reach an agreement, you may have to go to court to get an order from a judge.
Here are the typical costs associated with each of these choices.
- Simple uncontested separation agreements where you reach an agreement on your own or with the help of a mediator are the least expensive. They typically range in cost from $3,000 to $7,000.
- If you cannot reach an agreement on your own, the Collaborative Process is usually the most cost-effective option. Most collaborative cases range from $4,000 to $20,000 depending on the number of meetings needed to reach an agreement.
- Most court cases range from $15,000 to $50,000, but the amount may be much higher as the costs are more difficult to control. For example, if we go to trial, the cost can be very high.
Attaining your divorce is the last step in the process. The cost of an uncontested divorce is $1,700.00 so long as one of you lives within Simcoe County or York Region. The cost is a little higher if you live outside Simcoe County or York Region. This cost includes your filing fees at court (about $500.00), our staff and lawyer time and HST. It’s a small fee to pay to attain closure.
Retainers are deposits toward future legal fees. This form of payment is common practice among lawyers because it helps clients avoid liabilities they may find difficult to pay later.
Standard retainer payments are:
Collaborative cases – $2,000
Simple Uncontested Separation Agreements – $2,000
Court Proceedings – $5,000
You will receive a monthly statement from us, so you are always aware of the services received and your costs to that point. Each month, you are asked to replenish your retainer.
Flat Fees or Fixed Fees
In some cases, we offer our clients a flat fee or a fixed fee. That means that we will tell you how much your legal fees will be and what services you will receive for such services. We don’t bill you on an hourly basis. The fee is fixed from the start.
Do It Yourself
Some clients do not want to retain us to help them throughout their separation or divorce, but they need a helping hand. We offer coaching or document preparation for those who want to do it on their own.
To learn about your options, rights and obligations, you can schedule a meeting with one of our lawyers. Do not be shy during this meeting. We are happy to answer any questions you have, including questions about fees.