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Does this sound outrageous??? Lawyer fees?

SMreinvented's picture

New here. Kind of. I used to be on first I was glad to see I was not alone and there were other's out there going through what I was going through but the negativaty and snarkinesson this site became to much and I realized that constantly complaining about my Adult SKIDS just made my life worse...Besides things with the SKIDS have been improving (for the most part) The oldest one who gave me the most trouble has welcomed me into her children's lives as "grandma" and I am cautiously optimistic.

But today I am asking a question about my own son...
I am almost 9 years smoke free but tonight is one of those nights where I kind of wish I still smoked. My 23year old son and his girlfriend of 4 years are in the midst of a break-up. They have a 3 year old son. My son attempted suicide a little over a month ago and has since moved back home with us. His girlfriend had him served with papers suing him for child support/custody just a few days after he got out of the hospital. I encouraged him to find a lawyer from the beginning bu he was dragging his feet. His excuse was he "can't afford a lawyer" to which my response was "You can not afford to not have a lawyer." So after realizing he was not going to get one on his own I decided to get one myself. The first one I called took 4-5 days to call me back only to tell me they were too booked to take on a new case. So I called another lawyer who specializes in paternal rights because in our state the laws favor the mother and the ex-girlfriend could definitely use my son's depression/anxiety/suicide attempt against him. My son has always been a very good father and very involved father in my grandson's life and would eventually like to have split custody. So when I made the appointment for the consultation the receptionist said the fee would be $100 up front for 1 hour. I thought well that sounds acceptable.Their website is very vague about get the old "every case is unique" blah,blah,blah. So I take off work this afternoon and drive my son an hour and a half to the big city to meet this lawyer and everything sounds good. We believe that things will more than likely be amicable and that they can probably reach a settlement...So I ask for a ballpark figure if they (son and ex-gf) can get along and reach a settlement and he says "Well probably around 3-4 if everything goes smoothly or up to 10 if it drags out and goes to court." I am like "Hundred?" NOPE. Thousand. $3000 - $4000 for child support and custody - for a couple who was never married, has no property, no debt, no shared accounts or assets. OMG!!!!!! When I adopted my son I paid $400. When my husband divorced his first wife it was like $500. Does this sound outrageous to anyone else???? My son has waited so long to get a lawyer we are down to the deadline to get one and file a response in the next week or the court could automatically rule in the ex-gf's favor by default. THIS is one of those times I could use a smoke. Sorry for the rant but I cannot post on my regular social media to get this off my chest. No idea what to do. I told my son I would help him and pay for a lawyer but THIS is ridiculous.

How much does a normal custody case cost nowadays??? Input please.


twoviewpoints's picture

My niece just finished up her case and it ran about $10,000. It was actually the parenting plan with custody and ironing out visitation/holidays/blah blah that took the bulk of time and work.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

My partners lawyer was a $500 retainer and 200 an hour. Nothing for the intital visit. Paid when he decided to use it.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

We paid $200 per hour for the attorney DH hired for his custody battle, and that was back in 1994!

Sunflower1's picture

That sounds about right. Last years case was about 7,000 and we just cut our attorney a check for ten in order to fight the emergency ex parte (hubs got a stay from yesterday for a couple of weeks).

Maxwell09's picture

DH paid 200$ for a consultation just for some big city lawyer to try to convince him to settle on EOWE and that's the best he'll get. We didn't use him. My husband went to a lady who was 4K upfront if we decided to use her. She let me DH pay in installments cash every week. She was wonderful and worth every penny. She's since retired so DH has been searched out a new lawyer for the future. The one he chose had a 200$ consultation fee as well, she doesn't promise to take your case until after the consultation and then once she told DH she would take his case she told him it would be 8k up front, no installments. She also specializes in father's rights so her prices are steeper. So yes you're pricing seems to be the average but I think you should shop around as DH's original attorney was half the price of this specialized one and she got him primary custody in a Pro BM state.

Edited to add that you should be cautious of cheap lawyers because on the flip side BM chose one that was cheap (1-2k) and her lawyer couldn't even pick her out of a crowd before court was in session. He was terrible because he counted in the fact our state is a ProBM state and assumed the judge would automatically give DH EOWE. Another BM I know also paid 1500$ for her lawyer and the dad was actually a deadbeat who saw his child maybe once a month when his mom wanted. His relative got him an attorney (3kish) and he walked out with 50/50-more time with his child than he wanted when he and his wife were together. You get what you pay for.