In Australia, the idea of family is important, and there is no such thing as a low-cost family lawyer. Even the most straightforward cases that require a family lawyer can end up costing around $2,000. That is for a simple, bare-bones filing with no complications. Cases can cost over $100,000 when there are children, property, and large amounts of assets involved.
Costs in family law proceedings vary widely. If you hire a junior lawyer who is just starting into their career with a private practice, you might be able to find a lawyer for around $100 an hour. However, it is unlikely you will receive many services for this fee. A seasoned professional can be as much as $300 to $400 an hour.
Below is the average cost of an initial consultation in different Australian states:
Family Lawyers are most commonly thought of when it comes to divorce. However, they can handle a much broader range of issues, such as adoption, domestic violence, guardianship, and child custody. These cases can quickly become complex and confusing for those who don’t have the experience. Having a lawyer represent you who is experienced in these types of cases will help you to ensure that your best interests are represented throughout the whole process. They will give you the best chance of receiving the most favourable outcome for you and your family.
Many factors affect the cost of family law solicitors fees. Here are a few of them.
Length of the case
You can rest assured that the longer the case drags on, the more you can expect to pay in family law solicitors costs and fees. If you are in the process of getting a divorce, the more quickly you and your partner reach an agreement, the less it will cost both of you. Lawyer fees add up quickly, and the more you argue, the hours your lawyer can charge you.
The lawyer’s experience and skills
The lawyer’s experience and skills are a key factor in determining family court lawyer cost. If you hire an experienced professional working for a large firm, you can expect to pay more than someone who is just starting and works on their own. Lawyers that work in specialized practices, such as family law, have additional training and can charge more for their services.
The complexity of the case
Suppose you have a property to divide, assets to divide, or cannot come to an agreement over custody of the children. In that case, it adds complexity to the case. A complicated case means more time arguing in court and more hours for your lawyer to charge. Complex issues often require more research than simple ones, and you will be the one to pay for it.
No-win, no-fee lawyers
In some cases, you can find lawyers who will take the case on a contingency basis. If you do not win, they will not charge you any fees. This sounds promising, especially if you do not have a lot of cash to spare, but in reality, lawyers who are willing to work in this way are few. In addition, your case must qualify with few complications, and they must know that they can clearly win the case. Family mediation costs are often less than a full-blown court hearing. Many no-win, no-fee lawyers are more likely to take these cases.
In addition to lawyer’s fees, you will also incur several other expenses along the way. Here are some of the average costs you can expect for your case.
Family court filing fees
The application fee for divorce in Australia is $930 but can be reduced to $310 for situations of hardship. This is not the only fee that you will incur through the course of the case. Financial applications for parenting cost up to $715. The fee for nullifying a marriage is $1,320, and this is only the beginning of the list of charges that you could incur.
Court event fees
Court event fees include hearings and conciliation conferences. Hearing fees are $890 per hearing, and conciliation conferences are $410.
Orders for costs
In some cases, the court can make you pay all of the court costs for both parties. This is at their discretion and is usually based on things such as unequal financial circumstances, your conduct during the case, or your failure to comply with previous court orders. Claiming costs in family court can also be included in an offer to settle to end the case and avoid incurring any further costs.
Family lawyers have different price structures. Some have a set fee for a certain amount of hours and work involved, while others set an hourly rate. With the first option, you know your overall cost from the beginning. Lawyers that charge by the hour can become expensive. You want to get the most for your money, but you also want someone competent and qualified.
How to create an accurate estimate
It is almost impossible to determine the final cost of the case. Still, there are some things that you can do to help your lawyer give you an accurate estimate.
Licensing and qualifications
Every lawyer practising in Australia must meet a specific list of requirements. They must, at the very least:
How to save money hiring a family lawyer
Saving money is usually a good idea, but it should be the last factor you should consider when hiring a lawyer. The lawyer’s qualifications and reputation come long before cost. Here are some ways that you can help to reduce the cost of the case.
* The cost data is based on Oneflare and third-party sources