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How Much Money Does a Child Custody Attorney Cost?

How Much Money Does a Child Custody Attorney Cost? | Warnock Family Law

The actual cost to go through a child custody case can vary significantly from case to case. This is because each situation is different. Some cases can be handled quickly through mediation while others require time before a judge. The complexity of the case and the time required to sort out custody will impact how much you spend on an attorney. It is difficult to get an exact number for the cost of a child custody attorney before you finish the process because there are so many variables. You can, however, learn about some of the elements you will likely spend on if you do hire a child custody attorney.

Free consultation

A quality child custody attorney will offer a free consultation so you can determine if you need the help of an attorney. During a consultation with a family law attorney, you will be able to get answers to your questions and become informed about the process. It can be difficult to know for sure what type of help you need when you are facing a child custody case. A free consultation is a risk-free way for you to learn about the process and get help determining what level of help you will need.


A retainer is an upfront fee that you will pay to a child custody attorney. The retainer lets you get started and covers some of the tasks the attorney has to do in the beginning. If you have a quick and simple custody case, the retainer may cover most of your costs. The exact cost of a retainer will vary depending on the attorney you choose. When you go to your free consultation, be sure and ask the attorney about the cost of the retainer.

Hourly Fee

Beyond the retainer, a child custody attorney will charge an hourly fee. There is not a standard hourly fee for child custody attorneys. You will need to ask any attorney you consider about her hourly fee in order to determine which attorney is right for you. The free consultation is the ideal time for you to ask about the hourly fee.  

Filing and miscellaneous fees

The retainer and hourly fee will make up the bulk of your costs in the child custody process. There are a few others fees you need to be aware of as you start the process. There are fees that must be paid to the court such as the initial filing fee, services fees, mediator fees, and others. These are fees that go to the court or a third party and not to your attorney. Your attorney does not control the cost of these fees but can give you an idea of what you can expect to pay.

The process of figuring out child custody can be costly, and hiring a child custody attorney is an added cost. For many parents and guardians, the importance and long-term implications of a custody arrangement make hiring an attorney worth the cost. If you are thinking about hiring a child custody attorney, schedule a free consultation. Do not be afraid to talk about money during the consultation – the attorney expects to discuss fees.