I think my Divorce is Contested
Most divorces are filed contested, meaning that you do not agree at the onset. One spouse files the case at the Courthouse stating what he or she wants and the other spouse is served paperwork and has 20 days to respond. Any time after this, there may be an agreement on all or part of the issues or you may keep it completely contested until a final trial with a judge.
In an contested divorce, you and your spouse will be required to attend mediation to attempt to resolve all the issues yourselves and you will be required to exchange a plethora of financial documents to ensure that no one forgot to disclose something that needs to be divided, whether that something is good or bad.
How much will it cost?
Legal fees in all contested cases can vary depending on how long they last, how aggressive the parties get, how often the lawyers need to intervene to facilitate communication, and of course how letigious each party is. The hourly rate is $300 and the total number of hours is unknown. In addition to this, you will be responsible for fees related to the parenting class, if you have children; filing fees for the initial pleadings; and the fees of anyone else hired for your case including the mediatior (a mediation is required), court reporters, interpretters, etc.. Typically, you will pay an initial retainer fee to start the case and a smaller monthly payment plan after that, rather continuing to receive large monthly bills.