What does it cost to litigate a Maryland family law case?
One of the most asked questions in Maryland family law cases is…“how much will I have to pay?”
There is no definite answer to that question (unfortunately). I will share information that should help you answer that question. First decide what outcome you would like from your Maryland divorce case and Maryland child custody case. Deciding an outcome for your Maryland family law case will allow the attorney to decide how much time it may take to reach or attempt to attain your desired outcome.
Moreover, it may inform the attorney of whether he/she will like to take your case and/or help you decide if you would like to hire the attorney to represent you in your Maryland family law case. The next decision to make is what scope (or depth) of representation you would like the Maryland family law attorney to handle. Maryland family law cases could be handled in limited scope or the Maryland family law attorney may be hired to handle your entire case.
In general, limited scope Maryland family law cases are less expensive in nature than hiring the attorney to handle your entire case. For instance, a Maryland family law attorney may be hired to attend your deposition, to prepare and attend your temporary hearing, to prepare and attend your Settlement Conference, and other parts of the case the attorney is comfortable with handling on a limited appearance basis.
Akin to the scope of representation, are the possible issues that the Maryland family law attorney may be hired to handle. The Maryland family law case may cover the issues of divorce and property only, as the parties have no minor children OR the parties have minor children but have settled (reached an agreement on) all child related issues.
The Maryland family law case may involve custody only, as the parties are not married so no divorce is necessary, no property, no alimony, and no retirement issues need be addressed. If we have an agreement on the grounds for divorce in your Maryland divorce case, then we have to prove cruelty, adultery, or other fault based grounds. More issues usually result in more money paid out.
Try and resolve as many issues as possible with the other party: it will save you money. Another factor in determining the cost of your Maryland family law case is the type of billing: whether the Maryland family law attorney is billing on a traditional hourly rate basis or whether (due to the nature of the case), the attorney is able to offer you a fixed/set/flat retainer fee. A fixed fee gives certainty on how much will be charged for your Maryland family law case.
Hourly fees may vary by the thousands in Maryland family law cases, depending on the length and depth of litigation. Suffice to say, a Maryland divorce case or Maryland child custody case that settles in one (1) month is much less expensive than a Maryland family law case that culminates in a three (3) day trial, and takes ten (10) months of litigation before arriving at the aforementioned trial. The longer the Maryland family law case, the more expensive.
Maryland divorce and Maryland child custody litigation may involve hours of discovery (interrogatories, document production, depositions): ladies and gentlemen, discovery is time consuming! Hence, the discovery phase of your Maryland family law litigation may be costly.
Next, the attorney’s hourly rate will play a role in costs. Generally speaking, a Maryland divorce lawyer with (for example) twenty (20) years of experience will be more expensive than a Maryland divorce lawyer with two (2) years of experience. Attorneys are paid based on their years of experience due to the number of cases a more experienced attorney may have handled over the years.
It does not mean a Maryland divorce attorney or Maryland child custody attorney with little experience is not good, or one attorney is better than the other—it simply means that you should expect that an attorney with many more years of practice may request a higher fee. Finally, costs play a role in how much you will pay to have your Maryland divorce case or Maryland child custody case litigated.
There are generally three (3) types of costs in Maryland family law cases: administrative costs, court costs, and expert fees.
Administrative costs may be charged by a Maryland family law firm for copying, postage, and other administrative fees. Court costs are not paid to a law firm but paid to the court for filing, sheriff service of process fee, and other fees a court may charge. The court may require/order the parties in a Maryland child custody case to attend parenting classes, mediation, and other ancillary matters connected to the case; such as appointment of a best interest attorney (to represent the child), or fees for conducting a home study.
All these may come at a cost depending on the county where your Maryland family law case is filed. Experts may be advised by your Maryland divorce lawyer or Maryland child custody lawyer. If this is the case, fees may be paid for business valuation, property appraisals, vocational experts, child psychiatrists and psychologists.
These are just some of the factors that will affect what you pay for litigation in your Maryland family law case.
You may contact us today at the Firm, LLC (703 227 7157 and/or email@example.com) to discuss your potential issue/claim. If we believe we can assist you, we will set up a formal consultation with you to further discuss your matter. You may view our informational videos, testimonials, and client reviews on our website, thefirmllc.org, and to see more videos select the Facebook and Avvo tab. Take Care!
Attorney Mike Barrett, Founder/Owner
THE FIRM, LLC
Edited by: Legal Staff
Legal Disclaimer: The above information is created for general information purposes only. As such, the information and contents should not be deemed formal legal advice; nor does the information and contents create a lawyer/client relationship between any party and the editors/creators”. We encourage persons accessing this information to seek the advice of counsel to discuss their specific legal issues/situation.