Attorney Retainer Fees for Divorce and Paternity Cases

By Orlando Divorce and Paternity Attorney Eduardo J. Mejias

Practicing Exclusively Family Law Since 2011


Clients Are Not Informed About Divorce and Paternity Attorney Retainer Fees

At some point of every consultation with a prospective client hear the question: “So, how much will the attorney fee cost?” Naturally, potential clients want to know whether a major investment like hiring a family law attorney makes financial sense to them. And, for understandable reasons, most individuals have only a vague notion of what should be the retainer fee cost of divorce or paternity cases. The reasons are these:
  • Except for personal injury law firm, most family law advertising omits any reference to pricing. Thus, prospective clients lack a pricing reference point when they call a family law attorney for the first time.
  • Second, divorce and paternity cases defy neat categorization. For example, the cost of each case is based on its own quirks and nuances that affect their complexity, thus the time spent on them by the attorney. This lack of standardization makes exact menu pricing for retainer fees in divorce and paternity cases impossible.
  • Finally, why would people familiarize themselves with the cost of divorce or paternity cases or their appeals, until the moment they are confronted with one? Divorces and paternity cases are unpleasant and stressful. So the average person does not want to think about their cost until he or she has to. Unlike a new sports car, a European vacation, or a luxurious house, nobody wistfully dreams about hiring a family law attorney for a divorce or paternity case, or how much this would cost.
The questions then are:

(1) What affects attorney retainer fees for these cases?
(2) How should it be communicated to prospective clients?

What Affects Attorney Retainer Fees

Notwithstanding the difficulty of categorizing family law cases, the cost of paternity cases should generally be lower than the cost of divorce cases. Unlike divorces, paternity cases do not involve dividing assets or liabilities, nor is alimony a consideration. Conversely, divorces with children require at least the same time-sharing and child support analysis as paternity cases, but also include property distribution issues and, in some cases, alimony.  And even divorces without children can be quite complex when major assets and alimony are in the picture.

Other factors will come into play as well. For example: Where is the case being litigated? An attorneys like myself, who charge flat fees as opposed to hourly retainers, must take into account the projected travel time involved in each case. Our office is, located in Altamonte Springs, so we charge less for Orange, Seminole and Volusia cases than for cases in more distant counties.  Another less obvious consideration is the stage at which your case is in. While I don’t advise starting a divorce or paternity case alone, if a client hires my firm after the initial pleadings are done, I usually charge that person less than those individuals who are “starting from scratch” with me.

How We Inform Our Clients About Our Attorney Retainer Fees

Having said that, we did make an effort to make our pricing as transparent as possible on Family Lawyer Retainer Fees.  On that page,we show the range of retainer fees of fifteen different types of family law cases.  The cost of any particular case will always fall within its retainer fee range for its type. Where in its range it falls depends on the specific level of difficulty of that actual case.

Of course, even the above-quoted prices represent large sums of money for the average client. I have yet to meet the person who has diligently saved money for a future divorce. For this reason, we offers reasonable payment plans. 

If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced experienced attorney to represent you in a divorce or a paternity action, call AAA Family Law at (407) 260-6001 and schedule an initial consultation.  At the consultation you will get an opportunity to explain your family law situation and state your objectives.  I will present you with a plan of legal action to accomplish those objectives.  Then, I will quote you my flat retainer fee, not an hourly rate whose total you cannot predict, before you sign a contract or make any payments.

Retainer Fees and Court Costs for Divorce and Paternity Cases

These are the ranges of our attorney retainer fees.  The actual fee within these ranges depends on the complexity of the case.

Attorney Retainer Fees
Contested Divorce Up To Mediation*   $2,400 - $3,600
Uncontested Divorce                      $1,200 - $1,800
Paternity Cases Up to Mediation*        $2,100 - $3,000

*Most cases are settled at the mediation.  If the case needs to go trial, the range of attorney retention fees is $2,000 to $4,000.  

Court Costs
Divorce Cases      $420
Paternity Cases    $300