Donate Child Support Calculator
Skip navigation

Family Law Specialists & Fees, What To Expect?

Add Topic

How much did your family law case cost?

Hello Everyone

I am only at the beginning of a property/parenting settlement.  I have a Family Law Specialist acting on my behalf as my properties are in a company name and in individual trusts.  Something I never wanted but my ex is bent on control.  

Parenting Issues did not seem like a big deal (I have the children with me full time with the exception of fortnightly weekends).  Now, because he wants a bigger share of the properties, he is saying that he wants the children 50/50.  They do not want to live with him.  His motivation is purely financial.  

Mediation have suggested that it will need to go to court to be sorted out.  My property settlement is already going to court as he simply refuses to negotiate or pass on his lawyers details.  Financially, I am struggling to meet the fees and have borrowed money to pay them.  I cannot obtain Legal Aid for the property settlement.  My case is already heading for a ?First Return hearing.  What can I expect to pay for court hearings if the ex keeps refusing to negotiate?

Thankyou in advance for your advice/sharing your experiences.
My solicitors cost $320/hr and $425/hr ex tax. They are good but still they make mistakes.

When you go to final hearing you will possibly need a barrister and they costs thousands of dollars a day.

Getting to final orders is a very expensive exercise and you can expect it to run into the 10s of thousands easily.
We recently got an approximate quote for a family law specialist, based on the notion that our hearing could take 3-4 days, and all the work in between (affidavits, subpoenas etc), she suggested
$20-30 000 wouldn't be an unreasonable expectation. We were blown away. We knew it was expensive, but had no idea how much so.
A recent family report cost $12,000.00 shared between the two parents. There were two children involved, disputes over time with father, schools children to go to, allegations, failure of one party to respond to many of the requests for information from a solicitor acting, AVO proceedings and the report was for a final hearing.

The full and complete report coupled with a very good Federal Magistrate got an extremely good result for the father with 6 nights a fortnight, schools agreed and a great set of orders to move forward with…

On top were the Solicitor and Barrister acting on a 3 day matter that went for two days. $20-30 k is not out there at all for three - four days and all ancillary costs. Fully represented and litigious matters can easily have costs between 20 - 100k each.

What is very frustrating is often the parties have expended almost all the family wealth / capital and where you have parents who cannot even agree it is daylight you can guarantee that any available funds will easily be gobbled up by the legal profession. Try and bundle services where you can, you can brief a Barrister directly, can do affidavits and filings etc.. Use a solicitor only when you need to if costs are a problem.


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
You're asking the wrong questions.

The questions are - (1.) how much money are you in dispute about, and (2.) how much is it worth spending/risking pursuing that amount?

If the sum in dispute is say $40K then is's not really worth lawyering up and both of you forking out $15k-$20k each, is it?

If the sum in dispute is say $150k then it may be worth spending $15k-$20k - tops.

I once saw a dispute over a property worth $1m go for 50+ days and cost $950k! Doh!


4MYDAUGHTER
 :'(  I have been given an estimate o $30-$35K if it goes to court… the whole estate is worth not much more than that..

Being short on funds what angers me is the Law firm did a written estimate for which they have charged me $400.. even after I have told them there is no need to write it up… So much for the free first hour… they sting you for writing it up!

So watch for hidden costs…
Lostinit said
….
Being short on funds what angers me is the Law firm did a written estimate for which they have charged me $400.. even after I have told them there is no need to write it up… So much for the free first hour… they sting you for writing it up!

So watch for hidden costs…
They should have given you an indication they were going to charge you for anything outside the free consultation. I would have thought writing up an assessment and giving an outline of the case might well be chargeable but it should have been discussed at the one hour or so free consultation and you should have agreed to it also. Usually there is retainer agreement set up and discussed before any billable work is commenced. The Legal Services Commission are very tough on billing issues and accounts for a large portion of the complaints they receive.

Have you taken this up with the practice as its worth querying.  


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
$25K - $40K is usually the norm for representation at multiple directions hearings, up to and including preparation and attending the hearing of a two day trial.

A good lawyer is one that will not just take your instructions, but also offer advice on the possible legal outcomes if he/she does what you tell them to do (and what that will end up costing you).  They should offer alternatives wherever applicable - and you should listen to that advice when it's given.  My lawyer/barrister and I work as a team.  We sit and look at the situation, he offers suggestions along with the probable outcomes of such, then I make the informed decision as to which way we should go.  Any lawyer should offer advice on the principal of 'spending a dollar to save a thousand'.

If you can, find a lawyer that will also act as your barrister.  This will save you a packet.  Some lawyers are extremely lazy and are more than happy to take your hard-earned $ to sit behind a desk, take instructions and send letters, but then will instruct a barrister to act for you in court, usually at around $1k an hour on average.

But above all take some advice from someone who has been there - save whatever you have for the fight for your children's rights.  Property is nothing.  Accept a lot less than what you thought you would get (I offered by ex a 70/30 split - in her favour) to keep property matters away from trial.  6 years down the track, I'm glad I did because now I'm in the fight of my life trying to oppose her moving the children a long way away, hence stripping them of the right to have their father involved in their lives.

It's very lonely sitting in a child-less castle that you might have 'won' during an expensive property trial, because if you waste your precious fiscal resources fighting over material object, you may find yourself unable to defend an attack on your children's rights in the future and in the end, that is what everyone in this minefield should be focussed on.

Wealth and property can always be re-established.  Your children are children for such a short amount of time.  Save you resources and strength for them.
I was told $7,000 per day x 5+ days for the legals to be in court. QC an extra $5,000/day. This doesn't include the extras of trial preparation or the ICL presence. Add the costs of interims, procedurals, strategic adjournments on the day, change of jurisdictions, reserve trial dates, where you have to be there, appeal, etc… Highly profitable for the lawyers. One quickly understands the motives driving the family violence "guilty until proven innocent and even then you are guilty" amendments.
1 guest and 0 members have just viewed this.

Recent Tweets