Cost of Divorce | Bucks Co. Divorce Calculator
What is the cost of divorce in Bucks County?
When meeting with clients for the first time about their divorce, the elephant is the room is usually the cost of divorce - now and later. Clients want to know how much the action will cost now, how long it will take, and what they will be paying down the road. Attorneys would love to pull out a nice catalog of your what your case resembles and quote you a solid price, but people, emotions, circumstances, and life in general tends to make this a difficult question to answer. That is why we have done our best to frame out an idea of how much it costs to get divorce in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There is a lot of emphasis on estimation here - everything is different for each case.
The Basic Costs, Filing Fees in Bucks County
For starters, there are filing fees required by the Bucks County Prothonotary which is the branch of the local government that records the divorce papers. Their fee schedule is as shown below (as of the date of this article):
Divorce Complaints | 361.00
Equitable Distribution | 71.75
Custody Count | 78.50
Each Additional Count if Filed Separately from Divorce | 237.50
Custody Count if Filed Separately from Divorce | 244.25
Injunctive Relief | 238.00
Divorce Decree | 5.25
Retake of Maiden Name | 9.00
As a basic explanation, there is a fee for the complaint and a fee for what goes in it - a divorce attorney will be able to tell you which additional costs will be included in your filing. All of that depends upon your case. If there are no children involved, there will be no need for custody counts which will cost less than if there are children. There are also other motions that may need to be filed during the course of the case which require urgency on the part of the courts. There are many types of Injunctive Relief but are not always a part of a divorce case.
This is another cost that may not play a role in everyone's divorce. If you have children, it will certainly play a role in your overall process but it is actually a separate action. Divorce, support and custody are all handled separately with their own case numbers and filings. If it is recommended by the attorney, it can be included as a count in the divorce complaint just to optimize the filing fees. The count will explain what each party earns and why he or she should receive support during or beyond the process of completing the divorce.
Child and spousal support are calculations based upon many factors and determined pursuant to PA Support Guidelines. Once the monthly net income of the parties is determined, there is a schedule of monthly payments that is used as a starting point. View the chart here to get a rough idea; only an experienced divorce attorney can calculate the most exact amount and even then, this number is ultimately determined by the courts.
To find out an attorney's exact fees, you will most likely need to meet with him or her, discuss your case, and find out the hourly rate. This can vary depending upon many factors but generally works on an hourly basis billed against a retainer fee. The retainer fee allows the attorney to begin filing and pay for the complaints to be filed with the courts. Preparation of the documents requires several hours of researching your personal information that is required in the complaint and drafting the document. All of this varies depending upon the complexity of the case and is explained to the client at length before he or she even signs a retainer agreement.
In some cases, petitions can include counts for payment of attorney's fees. If a party is requesting support to maintain the household and family during the pendency of the divorce action, he or she may be entitled to receive compensation for paying attorney's fees. One party may be at a financial disadvantaged in light of the separation - an attorney will evaluate and decide if this is a possibility for the client based upon the circumstances.
Cost of the Costs
The long and short of it is that it all depends upon the case and the people involved. Surely it is easy to see that it will at least cost a few hundred dollars to get started. Even without representation, the filings alone are a cost in and of themselves. We do not like to disillusion clients on how much a divorce costs - at the initial consultation, our attorneys get as much information as possible to provide a total cost. The reason this figure is hard to settle upon is because divorces can get very complicated when individuals do not talk to each other constructively. Keeping the lines of communication open and honest make the process very simple but usually does not stay that way.
A particular area that can become costly is during the discovery process - a party may file a request for documents that becomes time consuming to complete. Being as up front and honest as possible can avoid the need for that process.
Again, there are too many variables to really provide a generalized cost beyond that of the filing costs. Keeping an open and efficient rapport with your spouse and your attorney makes the process cheaper and faster. Your divorce attorney should always be clear about how he or she is billing time and provide invoices. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael Kuldiner, P.C. take special care to always provide excellent service when it comes to costs and billing for Bucks County divorce cases.
To schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer, call (215) 693-6191 today or submit an online inquiry form.