Many people want the bottom line. How much does a divorce in Utah really cost? Often, clients want an estimate of what their case is going to cost. Due to the unknown variables of every case, it’s simply impossible for an attorney to know what your case will cost.
According to a recent survey, the cost of an average Utah divorce is $13,200. While this may shock you, many divorces that are initially thought to be a simple open and close case end up being highly contested, making the process longer and more expensive than anticipated. Below are some factors that may play a role in how expensive a case becomes.
Custody is one of the most highly contested areas in divorce. Often, parents are on opposite ends of the spectrum when deciding who should be awarded custody. This can often require additional court appearances as well as experts, which can add significant expense to your case. According to the study, Utah divorce cases involving minor children where custody is an issue cost an average of $19,800.
If issues remain contested and are unresolved, your divorce case may proceed to trial. At trial, a Judge makes a ruling on how contested matters will be handled. Cases generally get settled before trial, however, if your case goes to trial, be aware it’s an expensive process. Trial requires a lot of time and effort from your attorney to prepare for, and most trials are several days long. According to the study, a Utah divorce trial costs an average of $23,000-$27,000.
Assets also play a large part in how expensive your divorce may be. Couples that have substantial assets or own businesses generally pay more for divorce. The thought behind it is simple, if you are a couple that has five marital homes instead of just one, that’s five homes you have to get appraisals on and determine how to divide among the parties.
Having substantial assets or owning a business may also require the assistance of experts on your case, such as a CPA, appraiser, forensic accountant, etc. These experts generally require a retainer separate from that of your attorney, and their fees can quickly add up. According to the study, the average cost of a high net-worth couple’s divorce in Utah is $33,700.
How To Keep Costs Down
You may be wondering how you can keep expenses on your case to a minimum. While some elements that add to the expense of a case are out of your control, there are several things you can do to help keep the costs down on your case.
1: Submit requested documentation: If your attorney requests information from you, try to get all of it to their office in a timely manner and be as thorough as possible. Doing this will keep your case from being delayed. If you fail to submit documents you may hold up your case and also require your counsel to follow up with you numerous times, costing you money.
2: Keep your emotions in check: If you are in the middle of a divorce, odds are your emotions are running high. Don’t make irrational decisions in a time of emotional turmoil. Before turning down a divorce settlement offer, discuss the pros and cons with your attorney to make sure you are making an educated decision.
3: Ask questions: If you are concerned about a cost associated with your case, ask questions. Ask if there is a mediator that charges a lower hourly rate, ask if you can provide your own copies of case documents, etc. These small things can make an impact.
4: Be cautious about bargain shopping: While it may seem like a good deal to handle your divorce yourself, there are professionals in the legal industry for a reason. Often times people end up requiring the services of an attorney to correct DIY paperwork, which can be more expensive than just hiring an attorney initially.
If you are hiring an attorney for your case, don’t just hire an attorney based only on their hourly rate. Consider their experience, reputation, and communication skills. Your attorney should bring you a sense of relief. You should feel comfortable having them take your case and you should find it easy to communicate with them. Again, if you hire the wrong attorney while bargain shopping and then try to hire a different attorney later, it can often be expensive getting your new attorney up to speed on your case and making any corrections needed.
Divorce can be an expensive and emotional process, so don’t trust your case to just anyone. Your divorce involves things that are irreplaceable, so we recommend enlisting the services of a firm that handles the unique area of family law on a daily basis. Trust Burton Family Attorneys, where family law is all we do.