The cost of a divorce lawyer in Los Angeles starts at $5,000, and can, in some cases, rise well over $1 million.
Shocking but true. Most divorce lawyers ask for a retainer of $5,000 – $10,000. How do the costs get so high? Your L.A. divorce lawyer will start out by asking you to pay, in advance, $5,000 to $10,000. They’ll tell you that some of that money might be refunded to you if it’s not spent. But most often that amount is quickly spent and then they charge you a lot more over the following months or years.
Where does it all go? The first several thousand dollars go to the drafting of pleadings, gathering of financial information, and starting or continuing the adversarial process with your spouse. (So-called “Collaborative Lawyers” use a slightly different process, but the costs are very similar).
When your lawyer either starts the divorce process or responds to your spouse or your spouse’s lawyer, the conflict between you and your spouse escalates. Each lawyer encourages their client to start with extreme demands, which leads to an angry reaction by the other spouse and their lawyer, which leads to an angry response from first side, and so on. Soon, any remaining trust between you and your spouse is gone, and the legal process continues, sometimes dragging on for years.
That process only ends when one or both of you admit defeat, and agree to a deal that probably seems unfair to both of you. By that point, you’ve ruined any remaining relationship between you and your ex. That process leads to resentment, feelings of regret, emotional damage to children, and the loss of the ability to co-parent effectively. So the financial costs—hundreds of thousands of dollars though they may be—often aren’t the greatest cost of a divorce lawyer when compared to the likely stress and emotional damage inflicted.
So how do you avoid the exorbitant fees of divorce lawyer in Los Angeles? It’s actually easy and large proportion of couples do it. Here are a variety of resources to help you handle the necessary paperwork at very low cost. If you and your spouse disagree about or are extremely uncertain about child custody, parenting plans, child support, spousal support, or property division, you should seek the help of a transformative divorce mediator.
The cost of transformative mediation is a tiny fraction of the costs of lawyers, and the results are far more satisfying. A transformative mediator knows how to help you and your spouse work through any conflict in a way that leads to both of you being happy with the results. Once you’ve done that, you can efficiently handle the paperwork with one of these methods.