Understand Case Types and Cost

Once you’ve determined you need an attorney, the next step is figuring out what kinds of services you need from the attorney. Here are your options:

Contested Mediated Uncontested
Conflict Level Low to High Conflict Low Conflict No Conflict
Who This Is For When you need an advocate in your corner or when trust is an issue Couples who are amicable and want help through the process People who have simpler cases but help from the pros
Cooperation Level You don’t agree with your spouse on how to move forward You can work together to settle all issues You agree on how everything should end up
Attorney’s Role Advocate, Negotiator, and Legal Advisor Mediator and Legal Advisor Legal Advisor
Attorney’s Process Your attorney negotiates and litigates for your goals and best interests Neutral mediation attorney guides you from start to settlement Get help preparing the paperwork and ask questions at complex points
Timeframe 6 months to 2 years 4 to 8 months 4 to 6 months
Cost $7,000+ per case $3500-$6500+ per couple $2750+ per case

Note: For custody cases or modification/enforcement cases, timeframes and costs will be different. Your attorney will have information specific to your situation at your consultation.

Other Potential Costs

The cost mentioned above is specifically the attorney fees, but there are also other fees that can come up throughout the case. To best prepare yourself for your case, take a look below or speak to a Sterling Lawyers attorney to get information specific to your situation and find a convenient location.

The list below outlines fees that can come up depending on what is involved in your case. Also, some costs listed below such as the filing fees will differ slightly depending on the county you file in.

All Cases

  • Filing Fees
    • Divorce – $188 or $198+ if requesting support/maintenance
    • Paternity – $188 or $198+ if requesting support
    • Modification – $50+ for custody/placement and $30+ for support/maintenance
    • Enforcement – $0
    • Name Change – $168+
  • Court Ordered Mediation – $200+ or local fee, first session free
  • Process Server – $55 to $135+

Property Division

  • Home Appraisal – $300 to $800+ depending on size, location, and complexity
  • Appraisal of Other Contested Assets – Variable
  • QDRO for Dividing Retirement Accounts – $600-$800+ (split between parties)
  • New Items (furniture, appliances, etc.) – Variable
  • Forensic Accountant – $300 to $500+ per hour
  • Moving/Housing Costs – Variable
  • Refinancing Loans – Variable with rate changes


  • Parenting Class – $25-$85+
  • Guardian ad Litem – $1,000 to $3,000+
  • Home Study – $300+ or local fee

These costs are estimates that represent typical ranges, but your cost may vary depending on your case and location.

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