My colleague, Faith Wilson, MA, LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) is a therapist who sees a ton of people who are thinking about divorce. Faith covers the emotional struggle while I cover the divorce financial advice. We both work in Houston and Bryan / College Station.
Faith’s clients ask her for names of divorce attorneys. She only gives them names of attorneys she knows and trusts. She explains that divorce costs depend upon the individual circumstances and there is no way to predict the eventual cost. So, what do some of these clients do? They ignore her advice and go out and hire the cheapest attorney they can find.
In their next therapy session, they tell Faith, “Hey! I found a divorce lawyer who says it’s only going to cost me $1,500.” Seems these clients paid a $1,500 retainer and either weren’t listening closely enough to the divorce attorney or were told that their initial retainer will cover the entire divorce cost.
Fast-forward some months. In their therapy session they complain to Faith, “Hey! My divorce lawyer says I have to pay more money!” Surprise. Surprise.
Don’t ever think that your initial retainer will cover the entire cost of your divorce. If it does, you are reeeeally lucky or you paid a huge retainer.
What to do? Interview two or three divorce lawyers before hiring one. Listen carefully to the divorce attorney you are interviewing. Ask what the total fees will be. The honest answer is, “it depends.” Then ask about typical things that will cost you to have to pay more during your divorce. Find out what situations or actions might cause these things to happen.
Seek out attorneys who will clearly explain how divorce attorney fees work. Read their website and ask questions. This is one of the first opportunities you will have in your divorce process to expand your financial knowledge.