How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Tennessee?

Understanding and planning for the cost of divorce

The cost of divorce is an understandable concern. While it is important to seek value in legal representation, cheaper is not always better. Attorneys who offer low flat fees for divorce representation frequently maintain heavy caseloads to compensate, giving minimal attention to each case. Likewise, while avoiding litigation can cut down on the cost of your divorce, being too willing to forego litigation greatly can weaken your bargaining position. At Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC, we understand that our clients in the Nashville area have a large amount of concerns about the cost of divorce. We are focused on providing quality representation and personal service, and we do not try to underbid our competition. However we do make every effort to be straightforward with our clients about what they can expect to pay and keep their concerns in mind when planning our strategies. We always try to seek early resolution when we believe it to be in your best interest.

Typical fee structures for divorce

There are two principle types of fee structures that divorce attorneys in Tennessee typically use to determine the cost of their services:

  • Flat fee — This type of fee structure is mostly used for fairly simple and predictable cases, such as uncontested divorces and simple child support matters. Here, the attorney and client agree to a set fee for handling a particular legal matter. This fee is paid in advance and is not affected by the amount of time the attorney spends on the case or the outcome achieved. This fee structure has the advantage of being predictable for the client. However, in more complex and unpredictable matters, attorneys are usually not able to offer this type of fee structure.
  • Hourly fee — This is the more common type of fee structure for contested divorces and child custody matters, which require an unpredictable amount of time and effort. Here, attorneys typically ask for a deposit in advance, which is called a retainer and bill a set hourly rate against that deposit for the time they spend on the case. Billing is typically done in 1/10 of an hour increments, and clients receive periodic statements showing how much work the attorney has done. Typically, and depending on your specific fee agreement, once the case is concluded, the attorney returns any remaining portion of the retainer to the client.

While many people are familiar with the concept of contingency fees — your attorney is only paid if your case is successful — this type of fee structure is not permissible in family law cases. It is also important for clients to understand that the fees they pay may or may not include expenses such as expert witness fees, court filing fees, deposition and transcript costs, mileage, postage and copy charges, and other incidentals. It is important to discuss this with your attorney to make sure you understand each other.

Call us to start planning for your divorce today

At Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC, we are committed to providing value to our clients in Nashville during their divorces and other family law disputes. Our clients can expect us to be forthright about what they can expect to pay and to make reasonable efforts to keep their costs manageable while still providing close personal service and high-quality advocacy. In historic Edgefield, our Downtown Nashville offices are within sight of the courthouse with easy access to free parking. Call us today at 615-391-4200 or contact us online to schedule an in-person or video consultation with an experienced attorney.