How Much Does A Child Custody Lawyer Cost?

How Much Does A Child Custody Lawyer Cost?

For the most part, child custody lawyers’ cost from $1,200 to $4,500. The kind of dispute, the need for a 3rd party professional, and the lawyer selected all impact the overall cost of legal fees.

When you are ready for legal support for child custody matters, keep reading and discover more about the elements that affect the average cost of hiring a child custody lawyer and get pointers on how you hire one.

Factors of child custody lawyer cost

There are a lot of factors that are going to determine how much a child custody lawyer is going to bill you for their services. Here is a further look at the major factors: contested versus uncontested child custody cases, the trial cost and it’s fee structure.

Contested versus uncontested child custody cases

The convolution and severity of the case helps determine legal fees. A lot of custody lawyers establish this information throughout a free initial consultation.

Costs are determined by whether the case is going to be contested. If the involved parties have a substantial agreement on matters like parenting time (bi-weekly and/or holiday schedules), child support, property division, etc., then the issues are uncontested. In these cases, a flat fee is typically appropriate.

When the matters are contested, a lawyer in this instance will bill by the hour and requires a minimum deposit of $1,500 to start representation. Contested and convoluted child custody cases are a lot more costly because of the added testimonies, mediators, and time in court.

How much is a trial going to cost?

Furthermore, contested cases usually go to trial. When a case goes to trial, it means in excess of one day in court. The lawyer is going to need to collect and prepare evidence, devise, and refine questions for all involved parties and prepare for what the other lawyer or party is going to present.

The required time for preparation is subject to how many matters need to be resolved by the judge. For instance, the lawyer in this case usually charges a trial deposit two months prior to the court date to help cover preparation costs.

For instance, they could charge $1,500 to $3,000 for a trial deposit, subject to how complex the case is. It’s important to remember the amount of the deposit is not going to be an estimate of the final cost of the trial, in which will most likely incur more costs.

A lot of child custody lawyers then bill for each hour for cases that head to trial.

Custody lawyer’s hourly rates versus their flat fees

The custody lawyer’s fee structure could determine the total cost of hiring a child custody lawyer throughout a custody battle.

Each party is liable for paying for their own legal fees. Nevertheless, when one party cannot afford the fees, in some states, the court may step in.

When the case is uncontested, a flat fee is will typically be charged. When the parties can’t come to an agreement and the time needed in the case is uncertain, lawyers might charge by the hour, typically with an added retainer fee.

Additional child custody lawyer costs and considerations

In addition to the contested case, the following impact the final cost of hiring a child custody lawyer:

  • Duration of trial, if the case does go to trial.
  • Amount of witnesses and/ or expert witnesses.
  • The courts location, including differing court fees for filing motions, time for travel, etc.
  • Ease of having the other party served with filed motions, including the requirement of hiring a process server and/or publish a notice in local media when the opposing party cannot be reached or declines to sign for the certified mail sent by the courts.
  • Naming of a Guardian ad Litem in the case of purported abuse or neglect or an otherwise highly confrontational case. Each parent has the requirement to pay the fees of the Guardian ad Litem.
  • Deposition from expert witnesses, with fees for them, the court reporter, the lawyer and GAL.
  • Dishonest conduct or the failing to fulfill court requirements, that could result in one parent ordered by the court to pay the other parent’s lawyer’s fees.
  • The type of any case history or previous agreement among the parties.

How to save on custody lawyer fees

To keep expenses down and prevent your attorney from concentrating on less important matters, determine as early as you can in the process what your main priorities and concerns are.

How to hire a child custody lawyer

To help guarantee you hire the best child custody lawyer concerning your case, consider the following:

  • Think about your resources. Convoluted custody cases can severely deplete your savings, so inquire about estimated costs in advance. If you can’t afford legal fees, look into legal assistance options in the state you live in.
  • Investigate prior cases. Prior to you hiring a lawyer, look into their case history and see if they’ve had positive results with past cases like yours.
  • Go over client testimonials. When pulling up a list of the best family law lawyers near you, go over the client reviews on their profiles.
  • Inquire, inquire, inquire. Ask possible custody lawyers about your choices. Are you able to settle your case out of court? What is the potential result? This is going to give you a better idea of how the lawyer approaches your case and gives you a glimpse of what going forward looks like.
  • Get price estimates. Look into the lawyer’s fee structure and make sure you understand how much they are going to charge and how they determine their rates.


  1. Editors, T. (2017, September 28). How much does a child custody lawyer cost? Retrieved May 27, 2021, from

Speak With Our Child Custody Lawyer In Scottsdale

Our child custody and guardianship attorney in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with concern and personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients, so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.


Jennifer Moshier Collaborative Divorce Lawyer Scottsdale Arizona
Jennifer Moshier, Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer


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