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How many lawyer hours = completed divorce?

Old 08-16-2010, 09:26 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I don't mind the hijacks to the thread at all. I do take issue with someone saying I can't learn anything from my question.

This board is all about sharing experiences. We know our situations are unique. Yet there is still a lot we can learn from each other.

If you came in this thread to answer it - I'd love to hear what you have to say.
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:32 AM
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I agree that it is a valid question. I hope more people answer.
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by whereisthisgoin View Post
Do you remember approx. how many hours of legal fees you had to pay?
Uh... I don't have the heart to dig up the bills to see the total hours billed but it cost me just under $15,000 so at $300/hr it's about 50 hours. There were motions filed for this and discoveries filed for that and court appearances where I didn't have to go, yada, yada. I hired an expensive ball buster because I knew Mel would do the same and wanted a heavy hitter in my corner if it went to court. I walked out of my first appointment with her coughing up a $5,000 retainer.

My first divorce we wrote our own separation agreement and had a lawyer fix what we did wrong. I filed for divorce a year later at a total cost of about $1,500.
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:09 AM
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We wrote our own seperation agreement and it was fair and so the divorce was cheap....$400. We agreed on everything before it went to the lawyers. I paid an extra $150 to change my name back. It just depends on if you keep it simple.
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Learn2Live View Post
Good God, can someone please tell me, what is the purpose of getting married?
To have legitimate children and give the state you live in legal jurisdiction over your splitting up, if it comes to that.
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:24 AM
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$1200 the first time.,..he didn't bill by hours, but I don't think he did a damned thing...another attorney later told me that fee was "extortion"

second time he paid.

I still believe in marriage as a covenant and believe that the law provides far more protection in marriage than in living together.
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:33 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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It is true--if the other party (in this case stbxah) is not cooperative it gets expensive. Also pick a good lawyer-ask around. I went via EAP and my lawyer, although capable of doing minor things like the initial filing (even that he messed up because he never filed the papers showing AH had been served!) completely messed up my child support. $6000 and one fax from me first to the court commissioner to try to get things fixed (he told my lawyer to please file the child support order he had ordered him to file 6 months prior). He filed it THEN he totally messed up the new one he filed, making it so stbxah could pay me directly so--viola, all records of all the back child support he owed me was instantly removed from the child support records because of his stupid mistake. Then AH would not pay support because of the first screw up--and did he save any of the money that he was sending to the child support agency (that they promptly returned)-nope.

Finally called the judge and spoke with his clerk--her recommendation was to stand over my atty. and make sure he wrote the order correctly. I said not when he was charging me $250/hour. She told me to write out everything and fax it to the judge (gave me his fax no. and said she would let him know it was coming)--and then to copy stbxah's attorney, stbxah and my attorney.

Did that and it finally got fixed. Then I immediately fired the buffon of a lawyer (who was going to file a $1400 judgment against me for fees I owed him--I wanted to scream--if anything, he owed me for all the work I did cleaning up his mess). But I paid the moron off because I was in the middle of buying a house and did not need a judgment against me waiting around to be heard (banks are not fond of that).

Called a new attorney who is extremely good and extremely expensive--she told me to use one of her associated since I had already laid out so much money (since they have weekly staff meetings she would oversee the case). So far so good-except that my idiot stbxah and his attorney will not cooperate so there have been 3 status conferences since I hired her. Finally got him to send in his $75 for financial mediation (because from the start he refused to talk to me about ANYTHING). Whew! Mediation is set for
Sept. 9th however if he does not participate it could drag out even longer. In the end I will have to give tons of money away just to get rid of him--on top of all the attorney fees. I am about $4000 in to the new attorney.

So, IF you can get him to cooperate it will be much less expensive. I decided not to file a contempt motion for failure to pay child support because I have to show he did not pay (since lawyer #1 made such a mess) and by the time I get done paying my new attorney for the contempt motion, stip and order for back child support-I'll probably wind up with about 25% of what he owes me if I am lucky.

I am praying that he will cooperate in mediation. I am going in armed to the teeth in spreadsheets and receipts. He will probably show up with a scrap of paper with some made up number on it.

So really ask around before you hire someone. I took the word of the person from EAP that lawyer no. 1 was good. I did file a complaint with them and got an email from lawyer no.1 asking me if I wanted to talk (because he is now on their complaint list and he wants to get off). I did not even respond--although what I felt like emailing back was. Sure, give me a retainer of $2500 and I will charge you $100/nanosecond.

When I asked around I got the name of the best firm around. Had I gone with them to begin with things may have gotten done faster (as soon as stbxah's atty. found out who I had--stbxah found an apartment and looked for a (that is ONE) job--which he did not get). I think his atty. knew the new firm did not mess around. So things may be have been cheaper in the long run.

I figure by the time I get out of this I wil have paid $10,000+ in legal fees. The only good thing about that is that when I am done (and pay off the 2nd lawyer-thankfully they let me sign a fee agreement) I will actually have money to pay off bills. stbxah will have half my pension and I will only have to deal with him when it comes to the kids. I am going to INSIST they do a wage assignment since his payment history for child support is sketchy.

But there are others who have probably done better than me. I think I am not the norm. Often the other party not getting involved will result in a judgment that does not involve them.
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:39 AM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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Honest questions:

To have legitimate children
So if you get divorced AFTER the children are born, does that make them illegitimate?

marriage as a covenant
Can someone please explain to me what this means?

the law provides far more protection in marriage than in living together.
In what ways please?
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:43 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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right now I have a crushing headache but will get back with you later
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Old 08-16-2010, 12:00 PM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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If you are a stay-at-home parent, you would be f***ed if you broke up and were never married. You'd only get child support, no alimony, and wouldn't be entitled to a share of assets that your ex-partner was able to accumulate while you provided him/her with free childcare and a free maid service.
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Old 08-16-2010, 12:19 PM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Learn2Live View Post
Good God, can someone please tell me, what is the purpose of getting married?

On the original question: Me, zero lawyer hours. I filed, and made up our agreement, sent it to him, and he was okay with it. There are a few times when poverty is an advantage in life, this was one of them.

As some comedian said: Instead of getting married, find a woman you don't like, and give her your house. Although, I would get married again. To me the purpose of getting married is to show each other that you're on the same page commitmentwise, and to let the general public know it too. No doubt plenty of couples can manage a lifelong partnership without marriage though.
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Old 08-16-2010, 05:07 PM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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I'm not sour on marriage, I'm such a fan I've done it twice! I think it's a great thing for young people. At age 50 I just can't see myself getting married again.
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Old 08-16-2010, 05:37 PM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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No idea how many hours, but it's been a BUNCH with a contested divorce. Let's see... consultations, court, prep time, deposition, review of interrogatories, creating spreadsheets of financials (we're fighting over finances)... I'm thinking it's been 200-300 hours so far, even though I've done a lot of leg work. We have more financials to go over, another deposition, and the final court date in November. In the end it'll probably be around 400 hours. Sucks!
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:27 PM
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Zero attorney hours here. Did it all myself. Lots of my own hours spent on research, paperwork, etc.

I'm curious why you ask the question, though. Are you looking for a reason not to do it? If it's too difficult or expensive to justify? Are you weighing the monetary cost against something else--living with abuse, hoping he will see the light, or something else?

L
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
Zero attorney hours here. Did it all myself. Lots of my own hours spent on research, paperwork, etc.

I'm curious why you ask the question, though. Are you looking for a reason not to do it? If it's too difficult or expensive to justify? Are you weighing the monetary cost against something else--living with abuse, hoping he will see the light, or something else?

L
I've never been divorced. I posted this question because I am curious what others have been through.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:12 AM
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Originally Posted by tigger11 View Post
No idea how many hours, but it's been a BUNCH with a contested divorce. Let's see... consultations, court, prep time, deposition, review of interrogatories, creating spreadsheets of financials (we're fighting over finances)... I'm thinking it's been 200-300 hours so far, even though I've done a lot of leg work. We have more financials to go over, another deposition, and the final court date in November. In the end it'll probably be around 400 hours. Sucks!
Ugh. That sounds miserable. Hang in there.
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:02 AM
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What state do you live in?
How long have you been married?
Any minor children?
Anyone in the military?
Anyone a stay home parent?
Did one support the other to peruse higher education?
Assets, what do you own jointly?
Debts, what are your names on jointly?
Any co mingling of inherited assets?
No fault or fault?
Grounds?
Will it be a fight or amicable?

(don't answer those)

I'm sure others could add to the questions, the divorce scenarios vary greatly and so will the billable hours. You will hear some people say they got the house, alimony, child support and all his retirement, etc.. It all depends on lots of stuff, especially if one party wants out so bad they would agree to sign anything. Sometimes it's a battle of attrition and who ever runs out of lawyer money first looses. Once in a great while both parties are fair and settle amicably.
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:57 AM
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My divorce in NYC @ 12 years ago cost $3500 from soup to nuts. We were amicable, agreed on custody issues from the start, used only my lawyer and it took approx a year.

I have no idea how many hours that paid for.

Peace-
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