How Much Does A Domestic Violence Attorney Cost
Every legal action has different circumstances, and domestic violence cases often involve many complex issues including child custody, child and spousal support, and equitable division of assets. The cost will vary depending on the complexity of the individual case. Similarly to attorneys in other specialties, domestic violence attorneys usually charge an hourly rate which varies based on geographical location and the individual lawyer's experience.
As a rule, attorneys charge a consultation fee when seeing a potential client for the first time. Most law offices have a set fee for consultations and will notify the client of the fee in advance. The consultation fee is not the same as a retainer which is the amount the client pays when the attorney agrees to take the case. Retainers are initial payments for services and are meant to cover part or all of the anticipated legal fees. Attorneys often request several thousand dollars in retainers, but consultation fees are usually between $50 and $100.
Hourly fees are based on many factors, including the overhead of the legal offices. In areas where office space is expensive, attorney fees reflect the higher cost of doing business. More experienced attorneys have higher hourly fees than attorneys with less experience, but this may not result in higher legal costs since more experienced attorneys may spend fewer hours to accomplish the same amount of work. Hourly fees also include the cost of support personnel like paralegals and clerical staff employed to assist the attorney.
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Flat Fees, Contingency Fees and Reimbursement of Retainers
Some attorneys may offer a flat fee for cases which do not involve child custody or financial issues since these cases are simpler to handle. A lawyer may attempt to recover the cost of legal fees from the at fault party, especially in matters involving divorce. The client must still pay a retainer, but the attorney will include the cost of legal fees in the divorce settlement and the client is reimbursed when the case is settled. Contingency fees are based on recovery of money for injuries and most often apply in civil suits involving accidental injuries.
Other Legal Expenses
In additional to the fees charged by the attorney, clients may be responsible for court costs, filing fees and the charges for copies of medical records or police reports. If criminal proceedings are involved, the client will have to pay the cost of posting bail and any fines or court costs associated with the criminal charges. The attorney may recommend hiring an investigator to gather evidence and cost of the investigator must be paid by the client in addition to the attorney's fee.
There is really no accurate way to accurately estimate the average cost of hiring a domestic violence attorney, but an attorney should be able to provide an estimate of his or her charges after reviewing the facts of an individual case. The cost is based on many factors including the number of hours spent working the case, whether the attorney must appear in court, and other related expenses.