Just as it sounds, family law is the practice of legal matters that pertain to issues within family units. Most commonly, it pertains to the dissolution of a marriage, child custody cases, or spousal support. However, family law can also include domestic violence, adoption, guardianship, and more. Fortunately, many people will never need the services of a family law attorney. However, when situations arise that require their services, you may be left wondering how to find the right attorney and how much this unexpected expense will cost.
If you find yourself needing family law services, it is useful to explore the costs associated with hiring a Family Law Attorney in Monroe, NC, so that you can be prepared if the unexpected presents itself in your life.
Attorney fees are largely influenced by the type of the case and the amount of time that the attorney is required to invest in it. For example, if your divorce is complicated because you are unable to reach a settlement agreement with your spouse, you may find that your fees will be significantly higher than if you are able to reach a suitable agreement more quickly. This is because your attorney will spend more time in the negotiation and mediation phases while working with your spouse’s attorney to reach an agreement.
Generally speaking, fees for a family law attorney will range between $100 per hour and $500 per hour. Some cases, however, may require the use of a retainer fee. This is a fee paid to retain the services of an attorney and will be structured into your attorney’s overall fees. Often, child custody cases will use a retainer because, unlike a divorce, circumstances may change that may require modifications to the court-ordered decision. It would be unwise to hire a different attorney than the one you used previously, as they would not be familiar with the original case. The use of a retainer allows the services of your attorney to remain in place for any future civil case. A retainer could cost between $3,000 and $5,000.
In some cases, you may be eligible to receive assistance in paying for your attorney fees. This is common in cases involving child support and child custody. Under North Carolina law, a person who meets the following two requirements is eligible for assistance with attorney fees:
If these conditions are met, a judge is able to use their discretion in awarding attorney fees from one party to the other. However, this is with the understanding that the other party is able to meet that financial obligation.
Like cases of child support and custody, there may be opportunities for financial assistance to be awarded that can help with any legal fees that you may incur. However, there are three requirements that must be met in these types of cases, which are:
In cases involving spousal support, the award of legal fees is often predicated on the spouse who is requesting support being granted that support. However, there may be circumstances in which a spouse who is not successful in gaining spousal support may still be able to receive legal fee assistance. The discretion of the judge to award legal fees is often based on the overall circumstances of your case.
In addition to any attorney fees that you may incur in your child custody case, you will be responsible for court filing costs as well. To process a child custody case, you will work with your attorney to file your claim. The cost to file is approximately $150. However, you and your attorney may additionally file a Petition to Proceed as an Indigent, which may grant the right to waive that fee.
Most child support attorneys will charge between $200 and $600 per hour. If the case is uncontested, the costs may be much more limited, totaling between $2,500 and $5,000. However, if the case is contested and requires additional time and resources from your attorney, the total expenses that you may incur could be significantly higher.
North Carolina requires each party to pay for their attorney independently of the other party involved. This is sometimes referred to as the American Rule. Unlike criminal cases where an attorney may be appointed, each party must hire and pay the financial responsibilities on their own. However, parties may request that their attorney fees be paid as part of any award they receive as long as they meet the requirements for assistance.
A family law attorney in North Carolina can range in fees between $100 and $500. The cost of an attorney is often related to their experience and their history of success. Attorneys who charge higher fees will often cost significantly more, whereas more inexperienced attorneys will charge less. The circumstances of your case may also influence the overall charges that you could incur.
Whenever you face a legal challenge involving family, the circumstances can quickly become complicated. The difficulties in accepting the help of an attorney to navigate such instances often rest in the costs associated with their representation. However, in any legal matter, the benefits of working with an experienced and skilled attorney far outweigh the costs associated with hiring them. If you need the help of a family law attorney but are worried about the costs, contact the offices of Lehnhardt Price Family Law and let our attorneys help.