Compare Divorce Attorney Fees and Other Family Law Costs


Learn about approximate Lawyer and Attorney costs, filing fees and other related expenses you’ll pay for various types of divorce, child custody, adoption, and other family related attorney costs.

Family and Divorce Law are very different, but are usually handled by the same type of attorney. On this page of the we will discuss the different types of family and divorce law, why each of them is important and provide you with an average cost depending on the situation.  We cover the following topics in this guide:

Divorce, Separation and Annulment Costs

No one likes to think about divorce  primarily because in the majority of cases it can become a legal fight. You can get a divorce without legal counsel but it is definitely not recommended, especially in the case that there are children or assets involved. There are several different types of divorce; no attorney, uncontested, mediated and adversarial. As you can see, your best bet is to have an uncontested divorce where both partners agree to the terms up front and an attorney is only needed to take care of paperwork and filings with the court.

Separation agreements are needed in the case of marital property, children or joint accounts, a legal agreement leaves no doubt to how you plan to handle your affairs while seeking a formal divorce.

An annulment or nullification of marriage means that you want the courts to rule that your marriage never happened. We tend to think of an annulment as related to the Catholic faith, however there are other reasons to seek an annulment such as; mental incapacity, being forced into a marriage, bigamy or the inability to consummate the marriage. Regardless of the reason, annulments need to be handled by an attorney that is well versed in the law.

Divorce, Separation and Annulment Fees
Average Cost
Divorce (No Lawyer)
$200 – $250
Divorce (Uncontested)
$750 – $1,000
Divorce (Mediated)
$3,500 – $4,000
Divorce (Adversarial)
$4,500 – $5,500
$500 – $750
$400 – $500

Child Custody, Child Support and Paternity Costs

Child custody and support are for obvious reasons, touchy situations. If both spouses are in agreement on custody and support, the process can be fairly easy and straightforward. You will need an attorney to draw up the legal papers and file them in court. In most of these cases neither yourself or spouse will need to attend court. However, as in most cases, there is disagreement in child custody and support payments. Both parents want full custody, don’t agree on partial custody or visiting arrangements and many other reasons. This is called a custody battle and must be decided in a court room in front of a judge. There are many things a judge will take into consideration when making a decision so your best bet is to come to some sort of agreement and bring it to the court for approval. You will save a lot of time and money.

In most cases you don’t need an attorney to get a paternity test – you can have one completed yourself as long as the mother of the child agrees to it. There are times when either the mother does not want you involved or vice versa, you have been named as the father of a child and you do not agree. In these circumstances, you will need to ask the advice of an attorney.

Child Custody, Child Support and Paternity Costs
Average Cost
Child Custody & Support (Parents in Agreement)
$2,500 – $3,000
Child Custody & Support (Custody Battle)
$5,000 – $6,000
$100 – $250/hr

Pre and Post-Nuptial Agreements Costs

There are many reasons for a prenuptial agreement, but in simple terms, you want to make sure there is no fighting over who gets what in the event you decide to divorce. It’s a legal contract that you can write yourself, but in the event there is extensive property or money, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney. A post-nuptial agreement is basically the same except you enter into the agreement after you are married. The reason some couples choose a post-nuptial agreement is if there has been a change in one of the spouses financial conditions, such as an inheritance or selling a business or property.

Pre and Post-Nuptial Agreements Costs
Average Cost
Prenuptial Agreement
$200 – $250/hr
Post-Nuptial Agreement
$200 – $250/hr

Adoption Costs

Many couples choose adoption for various reasons. Either they are unable to conceive or carry a child to term, or they wish to help those children that are without parents. Adoption through your county foster care program would most likely be free of charge, however there could be a small amount of court costs for filing fees, name changes, etc.  Most adoptions through a foster program will not be infants or newborns because they are in demand. If you want to adopt a newborn, your costs will be significantly higher due to an attorney or legal expertise involvement in research, negotiation and legalization of the agreement.

Average Cost
Adoption (Foster Home)
$100 – $500
Adoption (Newborn via Non Profit Agency)
$15,000 – $20,000
Adoption (Newborn through Adoption Attorney)
$20,000 – $30,000

Conservatorships & Emancipation Costs

Conservatorships are usually granted to family members of an elderly relative; in most cases a parent/child. The reason for seeking a conservatorship is most often because the relative is no longer able to make sound decisions for themselves. Although most are straight-forward, they can become very costly if they dispute your claims that they can no longer manage their affairs.

Emancipation may be granted to any minor who is at least 16 yrs old and under the age of 18.  Each county has their own set of ways you may become emancipated, but in counties they include; legal marriage, when the minor turns 18 yrs old, if you are on active duty in the US Armed Forces, or other personal reasons. There are many “other reasons”, but the most popular include a minor that wants to leave their home because of bad living conditions (parents using or selling drugs) or wants to make their own decisions about medical care. The fact that a minor does not like their parents is not a reason to file for emancipation and most likely, will not be granted.  To learn more about emancipation visit Georgia Legal Aid where they explain the rules and what is involved.

Conservatorships & Emancipation Costs
Average Cost
Conservatorship (Elder Law)
$3,500 – $4,000
Emancipation (Social Services Department)
$10 – $45
Emancipation (Via Attorney)
$50 – $100/hr

Wills, Trusts & Power of Attorney Costs

The vast majority of the population think they do not need a will because they don’t have anything to leave to anyone. But if you own a home and don’t have a spouse, do not assume that your closest living relative (son/daughter) will inherit the property. The laws are very cut and dry so you should protect your property and any contents, such as family heirlooms so they are not sold at auction.

Trusts are similar to wills, but they go into more detail such as appointing someone to be the guardian of inheritances until a minor child reaches the age of 18 or paying estate taxes in advance of your death. If you own quite a bit of property or assets, you should definitely seek the advice of a trust or estate attorney to make sure your assets and family are protected.

The primary reason to appoint a power of attorney is in the event you are unable to handle your finances or you, yourself need to be taken care of. If you become terminally ill or are critically injured in an accident, a power of attorney can help protect your assets, pay your bills, manage your banking and make decisions about your care.

Wills, Trusts & Power of Attorney Costs
Average Cost
$300 – $500
Living Trust
$1,250 – $1,700
Power of Attorney
$350 – $400

Family & Divorce Court Costs and Filing Fees

Court Costs and Legal Filing Fees
Average Cost
Divorce, Separation & Annulment
$35 – $75
Child Custody & Support
$50 – $100
$35 – $50
Pre & Post Nuptial Agreements $50 – $75
Adoption $50 – $100
$50 – $100
$35 – $75
Wills & Living Trusts
$45 – $65
Power of Attorney
$25 – $25

Other Incidental Family and Divorce Expenses

Incidental Family and Divorce Law Related Expenses
Average Cost
Real Estate Appraiser (Divorce, Trusts)
$150 – $250
Tax Adviser (Divorce, Trusts)
$50 – $100/hr
Child Custody Evaluator (Divorce, Separation) $50 – $75/hr
Investigators (Emancipation, Child Custody, Conservatorship, Power of Attorney) $65 – $125/hr

Visitor Submitted Family and Divorce Legal Costs

We have people that visit us from all over the U.S. that have used our information to learn more about Divorce and Family Law. In a lot of cases they share their experiences and costs so we can provide you with more detailed information. If you have a moment, please fill us in on costs you incurred so we can include it for visitors in the future.

Our tables below have different sections that include divorce and family law costs, the type of expense incurred and the area (city, state or county) where our visitors reside. Submit your costs to us and we will include them in our comparison tables.

Divorce & Family Law Costs Paid by Others
City, State
Actual Cost
Child Custody & Support
 Denver, CO
Note: Filed for 50% custody and a reduction of child support
 Frankfort, KY
Note: Filed for an annulment due to mental instability
Post Nuptial Agreement
 Oakhill, WV $65
Note: Filed post nuptial agreement due to husband receiving inheritance

Submit your Divorce or Family Legal Costs to the Comparison Table

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