How Much Does a Family Lawyer Cost?

The most asked question about Family Law matters is the cost.

It has been noted by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia that the average cost for a matter at a final hearing is $30,000 per person.

The cost is also dependent upon the complexity of the case. Accordingly, complex cases heard before the Federal Circuit and Family Court may cost up to and beyond $100,000 per person.

However, with the right lawyer, you may be able to resolve your Family Law matters in a way that achieves the best possible outcome for an appropriate cost.

What Factors Determine the Fees of a Family Lawyer?

Numerous factors are considered when determining the appropriate fees of a Family Lawyer and are considered on a case-by-case basis.

The following aspects can be considered:

Complexity of Case

Family law matters around children or a relationship breakdown can average around $30,000 per person.

In the event there are more complex property or financial factors to be considered, this includes and is not limited to substantial property pools and multiple entities including trusts and companies.

These matters usually can exceed $100,000 per person due to their unique nature.

Expertise and Experience of Lawyers

A Lawyers experience and expertise can set them apart regarding the fees they charge. In a final hearing, a senior associate may charge between $3,000 to $6,000 per day in court. Whereas junior lawyers will charge less due to their developing expertise.

The more experienced the lawyer, the more chance there is of navigating in and out of the system more quickly, negotiating an appropriate outcome and resolving the matter with Orders by Consent or Orders of the Court more quickly.

Generally, a solicitor that focuses on family law deals with more family law matters on an ongoing basis than a solicitor who focuses on other areas or practices across all areas of law.

Firm Location

Firms located within metropolitan areas can typically charge more as compared with their rural and regional counterparts.

Billing Methods

When instructing a Lawyer, a retainer will be required, which can range from $5,000 to $20,000 to cover the costs of preparation and attendance at final trial. Time spent and work completed outside of what is stipulated within the retainer is then charged as an hourly rate against that, ranging from $200 to $500 per hour.

Any fees which have been transferred into Trust that are unused by the conclusion of the final hearing will be refunded back to the client.

Fixed fees around $2,000 to $5,000 can be charged for advice and the drafting of documents on straightforward issues. In litigation, fees are around $10,000 to $30,000 for negotiations or mediation.

If a matter has proceeded to a final hearing, it is sometimes necessary to engage Counsel. Barrister fees can be charged by the hour ranging from $200 to $500 per hour or on a day basis.

Expert witnesses including psychologists, accountants and valuers may incur additional fees from anywhere between $5,000 to $15,000 or more.

What Fees Related Questions Should you Ask Before Hiring a Family Lawyer?

  • What is your hourly rate and potential rates of other individuals who may work on my matter?
  • Do you charge additionally for travel time, phone calls, meetings, and emails?
  • Can you estimate your initial fees and what do those fees cover?
  • Are there any additional expenses that I can expect? If so, what are they?
  • Are you able to provide an estimate of the total fees related to my case?
  • Are you able to offer a fixed fee agreement for any aspects of my case?
  • What are my billing and payment options?

How to Maintain Control of Costs

To not be surprised when you receive invoices from your Lawyer, we suggest the following tips to potentially minimise costs:

  • Be organised and provide information and documents to your Lawyer as soon as you receive them.
  • Ask to review bills regularly to assist in transparency.
  • Always ask for clarification from your Lawyer if there is anything you do not understand before proceeding.
  • Consider alternative pathways from litigation where appropriate, including mediation, negotiation or counselling.
  • Explore your eligibility for fee waivers and payment plans if needed.

Conclusion

Legal fees are dependent upon the unique circumstances of each Family law matter.

These fees will account for the complexity of the case, the expertise and experience of the Lawyer as well as the firm’s location.

Always take note of a Lawyers billing methods and ways to control costs incurred for your matter.

Legal fees are a valid concern to all who go through the legal process, however, choosing a good family lawyer will help achieve the best result for you and your family and will provide value which makes the monetary investment worthwhile.

Next Steps

Noosa Hinterland Family Lawyers is based in Noosaville and Cooroy and has many clients, just like you, who may be looking for legal support with separation, divorce, property, and parenting matters.

We can offer you court alternative solutions, mediation, and litigation when appropriate. Our collaborative approach allows you to have more input and control of the outcome.

If you would like help getting a clearer picture of what divorce looks like for you and your family, you can book a FREE 45-minute Initial consultation with one of our Senior Solicitors by either calling our office or by booking an appointment online.