A divorce can range wildly in cost. At the cheapest end of the spectrum is representing yourself for free. In St. Louis County, this means you would only pay the $145.00 filing fee, as well as a $36.00 service fee to have other side personally served by the sheriff’s office. While this is the cheapest, representing yourself can become very costly if mistakes are made and a lawyer has to be hired to go back to Court to try to fix the problem. Going it alone, also known as filing “pro se,” can also extend the timeline by quite a bit and require a hearing to finalize things.
Is Hiring a Lawyer More Expensive?
Should you choose to hire a lawyer, then the price increases a bit depending on a number of factors. In Missouri, most divorce attorneys charge an hourly rate typically ranging between $150.00 and $300.00 an hour. Most attorneys also require an advanced, refundable fee, which is placed into a trust account for you that the hourly fees are drawn from as the case progresses. If the case wraps up before that money is depleted then it must be refunded.
What Will the Final Bill for my Divorce be?
With an hourly billing model, the overall cost of a divorce with an attorney involved can range anywhere from $1,000.00 to well over $10,000.00. This means that choosing an attorney who is efficient and transparent with his or her billing is a necessity.