The old joke about divorce is true from what I hear from my clients. First Spouse: "I am very wealthy and will get you whatever you want". Other Spouse: "I want a divorce". First Spouse: "I can't afford that". I hear that from my clients because I too am amazed what some divorce lawyers are charging people. What really amazes me is that people are paying it! While I charge a respectable hourly rate based upon my credentials as one of the few Florida Bar Board Certified divorce lawyers in Jacksonville, I never forgot that I grew up in a home where people worked hard blue-collar jobs to put food on the table. I charge what I consider to be fair for my time and have been criticized by other lawyers for not charging "enough" for my skill and expertise. I consider some of my compensation to come from the satisfaction of helping people and their children through a difficult time in their lives. Money is not everything. At least not to me.
A divorce lawyer will start your case by asking you for a certain amount of money called a "retainer". Divorce retainers are paid up front, usually are non-refundable, and represent a minimum fee that the Jacksonville divorce lawyer will charge to start a case. Costs such as filing fees, process servers, court reporters, mediator fees, etc. are not included in the divorce attorney's retainer. Here is the Clerk of Court fee schedule for Duval County, Florida divorce cases here. Your divorce lawyer cannot give you a good estimate of how long your divorce case will take or how much it will cost without talking to you. I would like to be able to tell you, "A divorce costs this much". It is sort of like your doctor having to see you before they give you a prescription. Every case is different, especially military cases, and requires special care to make sure we are giving you the right information. If you cannot come into the office, we can speak over the phone or by email and I could give you an estimate at that time.
You should choose the board certified divorce lawyer who is right for you. There is no one attorney who is right for every case. Talk to a few attorneys. Whether it is me or someone else, you should at least talk to a board certified divorce lawyer. Here is the link to the Florida Bar's board certified divorce lawyers for Jacksonville. I provide it because I am not afraid of competition, I consider them all to be good attorneys, and if I cannot help you, one of them should. The lawyer with the "big name" or who charges the most money is not always the right choice nor is the lawyer who tells you what you want to hear (or not hear). Your lawyer should work hard for you, be honest with you, and work hard to keep costs down. Call or email my office for a free consultation to see if we would be a good fit to help you with your divorce case.