1. Whether or not there are children and whether or not there is a dispute between the parties relative to custody or placement.
2. The number of issues on which the parties agree. The more agreement, the less cost, as a general rule.
3. The level of cooperation that is obtainable between your lawyer and the lawyer representing the opposite party. Some lawyers are known to be litigious and to extend cases, rather than try to reach agreement. This always factors in the cost equation.
4. Cost of litigation. Are there expert fees? Filing fees? Service fees? Transcript costs? Records review? Etc.
5. Whether or not there is a pension or other retirement accounts that must be divided.
6. Whether or not there are new issues unfamiliar to the court which must be addressed. In this situation, costs are increased because of the necessity of writing briefs and oral arguments.
7. Of course, the client’s conduct and spouse’s conduct during the divorce. Are there contempt issues? Is extensive litigation necessary?
8. Your attorney’s retainer and hourly rate.
Discuss these factors with your attorney to get a reasoned estimate of attorney’s fees. Make sure you review a written retainer agreement between you and your attorney. Know your financial options if a disagreement exists between you and your attorney about the amount of the fees, but first and foremost, discuss with your attorney any questions. The answer can generally be determined with communication.