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Family Law Is All We Do

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What is the average retainer fee for a divorce lawyer in Georgia?

Georgia divorce lawyers will usually require a retainer for representation and the average retainer is in the ballpark of $5,000 to $7,500 if the divorce involves children and property. Some Georgia divorce attorneys will require less while others will require more, but on average you should expect a retainer to be in the range of $5,000 to $7,500 for a divorce. If the case is a modification of custody, child support, a contempt case, a prenuptial agreement draft, or for another family law related matter, the retainers could be more or less.

Importantly, you should focus on the attorney (and his or her staff’s) hourly rates in addition to the retainer. These rates should be clearly spelled out in the retainer agreement you sign. Typically, more experienced and in demand divorce lawyers will have higher hourly rates. While the hourly rate and retainer are a very important consideration, don’t be fooled into thinking that a cheaper lawyer will save you money in the long run. There is a reason that there is an old saying that the most expensive part of a your divorce could be a cheap lawyer (or a bad lawyer). But at the end of the day, it’s a balance that you need to feel comfortable with as part of your due diligence when choosing a divorce attorney that’s best for you and your circumstances. You don’t need to pay someone over $900 an hour if your case is simple and you have no assets or kids. On the other hand, if the issues are potentially complicated or custody is an issue, for example, don’t hire someone who charges $100 an hour and it’s their first rodeo. Would you hire a heart surgeon (no matter how expensive or inexpensive they are) if it’s their very first time doing the surgery you need? I didn’t think so. For that reason, there is absolutely nothing wrong with interviewing a few divorce lawyers or firms to see who you’re comfortable with and who is the right balance of cost and experience for your particular situation.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that when the retainer runs out (or is close to running out), your divorce lawyer will likely ask for a retainer replenishment. Before hiring the attorney you’re interested in hiring, you should have an open and frank discussion with him or her about how you will be billed and how far the initial retainer should get you in the case. For example, you should ask does the attorney think the retainer will get you to or through mediation? Will it include depositions? What about court costs? How often do I get my billing statement to see where I stand? Is the retainer refundable if money is left over? What other costs do you foresee? These are fair and legitimate questions that the lawyer should be able to answer for you in plain English.

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