These are probably the most frequently asked questions and, unfortunately, the answer to both questions is “it depends”. How long your divorce takes depends on a number of things including the county in which the case is filed, the ability of the parties and their attorneys to resolve issues without litigation and the nature of the contested issues. For example, a case in which custody of the children is disputed will take significantly longer than a case in which the custody and visitation issues are agreed upon. Not surprisingly, cases which require frequent trips to court to fight about temporary issues take longer to resolve; court dockets are crowded and therefore litigation is the most time consuming way to resolve an issue.
How much a case costs also depends primarily on the nature of the disputed issues and the ability of the parties and their attorneys to resolve issues without extensive litigation. Generally, the longer a case lasts, the more it costs. Because of the uncertain nature of divorce litigation, domestic relations attorneys charge an hourly rate and rarely will work for a flat fee. Most attorneys require a retainer fee to be paid as an advance against future fees and costs which will be incurred in your case. The amount of the retainer fee depends on the nature of the disputed issues and varies from attorney to attorney.