One of the most frequent questions on the minds of anyone contemplating or in the midst of a divorce is, "How much will it cost me to get a divorce?" Different attorneys will have different answers to that question. The better question might be, “What can I do to help keep down the costs of my divorce?”
Attorneys generally charge by the hour for their work. Some will quote an up front fee that covers some of their fees but then ask for additional money to cover costs. Other attorneys will give you a number that includes both an initial advancement of fees and at least the initial costs, such as filing fees and service fees. The amount an attorney requests up front may have no relationship to the final costs for completing a divorce. Each case is unique and most attorneys ask for an advance or retainer fee that helps cover the immediate work until there is a better idea of how complicated your case actually will be. It is not uncommon for a prospective client to come in and say, “We have all the details worked out. How much will it cost?” In a very short time, the attorney realizes that there are issues not resolved and what might have been a quick and simple divorce is now a complicated matter with asset transfers, custody and parenting time or placement issues, and debt allocation that is no longer easy to resolve. Sometimes there are delays or obstructions by one side or the other that can escalate the costs.
While an attorney's hourly rate and retainer (advanced fee) may seem like the key factor in determining the cost of a divorce, it is often that a divorce becomes expensive when spouses fail to cooperate with one another. Of course, there are times when cooperation is not possible, and litigating the divorce at trial is the best way to reach a settlement. Some of the factors that will affect the costs of divorce include, but are not limited to:
Litigation, instead of cooperation or divorce mediation
Child custody disputes
Requests for spousal support, maintenance, or alimony
Enforcement of prenuptial agreements
A spouse refusing to abide by a court order (contempt of court)
Failure to provide information, either formally or informally requested
Some costs that you will pay during a divorce are not always apparent during the initial consultation. Some costs are incurred after a divorce is concluded when one of the divorced couple (or both) want a change(s) to the final divorce decree. Most post-divorce changes involve child custody or support issues, but other situations can arise, such as contempt of court for failure to comply with the judgment. It is always wise to consult and work closely with your divorce attorney to ensure that as many of the unexpected future events that can arise are discussed during the divorce process. You can count on Attorney Brandau to use her decades of experience, representing hundreds of divorce clients, with her as she helps you in your divorce.
Cost is always a factor, but it may not be wise to scrimp when the issues are as important as your family, assets, debts, retirement accounts, and home. What should be more important to you in deciding to hire an attorney is: 1) Can I relate to this person? 2) Do I feel comfortable that this attorney will be looking out for my best interest? 3) Does this attorney see the big picture and understand what is important to me? 4) Is this attorney honest with me – including willing to tell me that my position is not on strong legal ground?
This is a personal matter and you want to work with an attorney who understands and relates to you. That is why Attorney Brandau offers to meet with prospective clients at a reduced initial consultation fee to allow you a chance to meet, discuss your legal matter, and estimate what the costs may be. It is personal to you and it is personal to Attorney Brandau, as well.
For more than thirty combined years, Attorney Ann Brandau & Attorney Peter Waltz, the founders of the law offices of Brandau & Waltz have helped people across Wisconsin and Minnesota find workable, reliable, and effective solutions to their family law, divorce, custody, support, injury, worker's compensation, social security and other legal problems.
Attorney Peter Waltz helps people throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota with injury, accident, Social Security and worker's compensation claims and appeals. Attorney Waltz represents people who are either residents of or were injured in Wisconsin or Minnesota. Attorney Waltz frequently handles cases in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Bloomington, Minnesota, as well as La Crosse, Sparta, Black River Falls, Wausau, Hudson, Madison, Green Bay, Appleton and Neenah, Wisconsin.
Attorney Ann Brandau represents people in family law matters (such as divorce, custody, support and modifications to court orders) in Western Wisconsin and Southeast Minnesota. She appears in County Circuit Courts in La Crosse, Monroe, Jackson, Vernon, Trempealeau, and Richland, Wisconsin, as well as Minnesota Courts in Houston, Winona, Wabasha, Olmsted and Fillmore Counties. Attorney Brandau frequently represents military personnel, and residents of La Crosse, Tomah, New Lisbon, Mauston, Elroy, Hillsboro, Richland Center, Muscoda, Boscobel, Prairie du Chien, Viroqua, Westby, Sparta, Black River Falls, Whitehall, Alma, Blair, Onalaska, West Salem, La Crescent, Caledonia, Lansing, Spring Grove, Rushford, Preston, Spring Valley, Stewartville, Rochester, Eyota, St. Charles, Lewiston, Lakeville, Holmen, Dakota, Hokah, Witoka, Cannon Falls, Zumbrota, Pine Island, Byan and Kasson.
Please contact us whenever we may help you find a solution to your legal issue.
Brandau & Waltz Law Offices, LLP : 420 5th Avenue South, Suite B : La Crosse Wisconsin 54602
T: (608) 784-2050 : 1-866-390-8047 : Fax: (608) 784-2120 : E-mail
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