Monday, February 18, 2019
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The fee varies with the services you require, but is usually based on the hourly rate to which you agree. Except in some rare circumstances Robert I. Donovan PC will enter into a written contract with the client. The contract will usually provide for a retainer and cost depending on the amount of time, novelty of circumstances, loss of other business and difficulty of the case.  

A basic divorce includes initial conference, the preparation and filing of the Complaint (or the review of the Complaint or Petition filed by the other spouse and the preparation of a Response), obtaining information from the client concerning grounds for divorce, assets, liabilities and income and support for the spouse and children, if applicable, and any costs, preparing the Settlement Agreement, preparation or review of a Final Decree of Divorce, attending one court hearing to have the case disposed of as an uncontested divorce and preparing the appropriate correspondence and mailings.

Additional time is required for telephone conferences, negotiations, additional documents and other Court appearances.  If tax planning is needed, a tax attorney or CPA will be an additional expense.

If there is a trial, either party can be ordered to pay some or all of the other party's fees and expenses.  However, the court will rarely award the full amount of fees and costs as the judge would like each litigant to be exposed to some expense as to make that litigant be reasonable in negotiations.  The client will be responsible for paying the agreed fees and expenses, but will get full credit for any payments made by your spouse.  You have probably heard of divorces where the attorney representing the wife promises to collect the attorney fee from the husband.  This creates a conflict of interest between the attorney and client and the attorney might be tempted to compromise the client's rights in other areas to protect his fee.  This should be avoided.  If it appears in your best interest, we will negotiate and argue for your attorney fees, however, the focus will be on the total picture.


There are different types of costs and expenses in divorce cases.  Attorney fees and other costs are the fees charged by the court for the filing of the divorce and various other papers.

In contested cases, attorney fees and court costs are higher and there may be other costs for depositions, private investigators, photographs, psychological evaluations, tax consultants, mediators, a guardian ad litem (for children), etc.  You must pay these costs as an attorney is ethically prohibited from paying litigation cost and expenses for a client.

Any discussion about what the costs or attorney fees will be is the roughest of estimates.  There are many variables in any divorce case, including some over which your attorney has no control, e.g., who your spouse will hire as an attorney, the anger of your spouse and how much that spouse wants to punish you financially, how complex the financial records are (particularly where your spouse is self-employed), or what mood the Judge is in on the day of trial.

The emotional cost of a divorce can be greater than the dollar cost.  The damage of having a broken marriage examined in court is something only those who have lived through it can understand.


If there ever was a conflict of interest, it has to be two people getting a divorce.  No attorney can ethically or professionally represent both spouses  in a divorce. If you and your spouse have agreed on everything, it may be possible for us to do all of the paper work, but we will represent ONLY you.  If your spouse doesn’t understand any document, its effect, or wants legal advice, your spouse must get a separate attorney. Often it makes sense that one spouse has all of the papers prepared prior to filing and gives the documents to the spouse who schedules a confernce with another attorney to discuss the merits of the documents and assists with the decision on whether to sign the documents comprising an "uncontested" divorce.