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What is Collaborative Divorce? Part 2

The most expensive part of the collaborative process is retaining your professional team. It helps if you compare collaborative divorce to litigation:

In litigation (when you’re going to go to court), each party pays their respective attorneys a retainer fee before the attorney commences work on the case. Litigation retainer fees range from $3,500 to $10,000 on average in the Pasadena area. Of course you might be able to scrape up an attorney to represent you as your attorney of record for $2,500 or $3,000, and you can certainly find Westside attorneys who charge upwards of $50,000 retainers. (See our blog “What is a Retainer Fee”)  These retainers are replenished over and over throughout your case until years later when your case is finally finished. Some clients replenish their retainers every month.

In a collaborative divorce, you pay each lawyer a retainer, ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 in the Pasadena area. These retainer amounts depend on the complexity of the case, and how much attention a client may require. These are factors that lawyers may be are evaluating during your consultation. As long as the retainer is reasonable sufficient (not too low), the collaborative retainer is not likely to run out too quickly like it does in litigation. Keep in mind that you also pay your 2 divorce coaches and 1 financial specialist a retainer fee so there are a total of 5 or more retainer fees. Sometimes retainers may need to be replenished but certainly not as often as in litigated cases.

In the end, an average litigated case will cost somewhere between $20,000 and $100,00 PER PERSON from beginning to end. Cases involving high income earners or trust beneficiaries will cost far more than this. Collaborative divorces usually cost between $15,000 and $35,000 total for the entire family. Again, if it is a complex case or emotions run extremely high it can cost well over $35,000 but will still cost a fraction of that same case if it were litigated.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series….

…or contact Leslie Howell now for a free initial consultation to learn more. (626) 351-1200

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