How Much Can Family Lawyers in California Charge?

For many people, the decision to hire a family law attorney involves considering how much one will cost. Each lawyer and law firm is unique, making it necessary to speak directly to a potential attorney to ask about his or her fees for a reliable answer. Learning the average cost of a family lawyer in Sacramento, however, can help you learn what to expect.

What Are Reasonable Divorce Rates?

The answer to this varies depending on the case. Fees are based on the amount of money, resources, time and energy the lawyer has to invest. However, the price typically falls somewhere between $300 and $500 an hour for a divorce attorney in California. Factors that may affect how much it costs to hire a divorce attorney are the complexity of the case, whether or not it goes to trial, and how long the case takes to resolve. If you hire a certified family law specialist, this may also cost more than a standard attorney.

Each law firm will have different rules for how it charges for services. Ask an attorney for a breakdown of his or her fees and what they expect your divorce case to cost before you sign on. You have the right to ask around to compare prices. Keep in mind, however, that what you pay for is often what you get in terms of the level of service and care. Also, note that the hourly charge is only for the attorney’s services. In most cases, you will also incur additional costs during a divorce case, such as filing fees ($435 in California), the cost to hire experts or specialists, and court costs.

Although the State Bar of California does not determine how much a lawyer can charge for his or her services, it does state that in the event of a fee dispute, an attorney cannot charge an amount that is considered unfair or unconscionable. If you believe that you are being charged an unreasonable amount by a family law attorney, you can request fee arbitration and the attorney may be ordered to return any unfair fees.

Can You Ask for the Reimbursement of Lawyer’s Fees in a Family Law Case?

In certain cases, you may qualify for the reimbursement of your lawyer’s fees from the other side of the case (the defendant). In a divorce case, for example, a judge may order your ex-spouse to pay your attorney fees as part of a judgment. When making this decision, a judge will carefully consider your ability to pay, your spouse’s ability to pay and other factors, such as who is at fault for the divorce and whether one spouse brought more debt into the marriage than the other. Discuss the possibility of fee reimbursement with your attorney for more information.

Are There Payment Plans Available?

This is a question that you must ask each individual lawyer, as it is their prerogative whether or not to accept clients using payment plans. If you are concerned about the price of hiring a family law attorney, ask around to see if you can find one who offers a payment plan. This can allow you to pay your legal bills in stages rather than a lump sum. You should also ask about the retainer. This is the amount the lawyer requires you to pay upfront before he or she will begin your case. Some attorneys offer partial retainer options, but each law firm has different practices.

Should You Hire a Family Law Attorney in Sacramento?

Price is just one factor to consider when deciding whether or not to hire an attorney for your family law matter in Sacramento. An attorney is often a sound investment to make sure that your legal rights are fully protected. Having an attorney represent you can increase the odds of successful case resolution – something that could save you money, in the long run, depending on the nature of your case. In a divorce, for example, retaining an attorney could help you achieve the property division agreement that you desire.

Discuss the pros and cons of hiring a family lawyer for your specific case, as well as how much the lawyer charges, with an experienced family attorney in Sacramento for more information.