2024 How Much Does a Family Law Attorney Cost in California?

  • David Goldberg,
  •   Family Law

Whether you or your partner want to draft a prenuptial agreement or are considering a divorce, you may be wondering about the family law attorney cost in California. A family law attorney can assist in both these instances and more, offering an overall easier and quicker legal process than if you were to move forward without professional counsel. If you need help with a family law matter in Newport Beach, it can be useful to learn exactly what a family lawyer can help with and their average costs.

The Goldberg Legal Group is experienced in and familiar with guiding a variety of clientele through numerous family law matters, each of them different and with its own unique circumstances. Our qualified attorneys are determined, focused, and attuned to the specifics of every case so we can bring our clients closure with a favorable outcome.

Family Law Attorney Cost In California

What Kinds of Cases Does a Family Law Attorney Handle?

A lawyer knowledgeable in family law may handle cases and serve clients in a variety of areas, with some lawyers dedicating their practice to only one or two areas. A family attorney is generally able to assist in any matters related to the anticipation, dissolution, or modification of a marriage or a family; this includes situations to do with marriage, divorce, duties to children, establishing paternity, and preventing further domestic violence.

Family lawyers can help couples prepare for marriage by drafting a legally binding and fair prenuptial agreement. In addition, they can also develop a postnuptial agreement for already-married but cautious clients who want an extra sense of security.

Furthermore, these professionals help individuals through domestic partnership separations/divorce filings and subsequent mediation or litigation. Such matters usually involve property division, child custody, and child/spousal support, and an attorney can aid their client in achieving favorable outcomes to these issues.

A capable family law attorney always works in their client’s interests; this includes representing those who are disputing or wishing to establish paternity of a child. In addition, a family lawyer can protect victims of domestic abuse by seeking restraining orders and providing legal counsel through a divorce. Family lawyers may also be qualified to represent spouses in a high-income/high-asset or complex divorce, including those where one or both spouses have a business or multiple enterprises.

Costs of an Average Divorce Case in California

Family law attorneys frequently represent clients during divorce proceedings. The total cost of finalizing a divorce or legal separation will vary from case to case, depending on both the lawyer you hire and the exact circumstances of your situation.

The education or any acquired certifications that a lawyer has and the number of years they have practiced law, thus gaining experience, will factor into what they charge. If your attorney is especially qualified or skilled in the area you need help with, or they have a reputation for particularly favorable results, their going rate could be above the average. In California, a family lawyer charges around a $300 hourly rate on average, but some may charge up to $500 an hour.

If an attorney expects your case to be complicated, complex, or time-consuming, prepare for your total cost to increase. If a couple has difficulty agreeing on the aspects to be settled during a divorce or there is a large quantity of marital property, among other potential issues, the legal proceedings are likely to drag out or require further work from your attorney.

The more time and effort a case demands, the more likely it is for the divorce expenses to increase. For divorces with agreeable spouses or with little community property to divide, the attorney may offer a flat fee upfront to assist with the proceedings, ranging from $6,000 to $8,000 on average. The average divorce in California costs between $17,000 and $18,000 in total. This includes filing and court fees, along with the lawyer’s retainer and other charges.


Q: How Much Does a Family Law Attorney Cost in California?

A: A family law attorney will cost differently depending on how experienced the lawyer is, how complicated your case is, and how much time it will take to reach a resolution. Your family law attorney may charge an hourly fee between $200 and $500 on average. For a simple divorce with few or no issues in dispute, they may charge a flat fee ranging from $6,000 to $8,000.

Q: How Much Is a Retainer Fee for a Divorce Lawyer in California?

A: A retainer fee for a divorce lawyer may cost anywhere from $3,500 to $10,000. This deposit, to be paid upfront, is required by most experienced family law attorneys as reassurance that they will receive payment for providing their services in your case. Retainer fees will typically vary based on how complicated your lawyer anticipates your divorce case to be.

Q: What Are Reasonable Attorney Fees in California?

A: The fees for a reasonable family law attorney may be an hourly rate of around $350, as that is the average, or a flat fee of around $7,000 on average. The average total cost of a divorce in California is between $17,000 and $18,000. However, some divorces with amicable legal proceedings could range as low as $3,500 to $6,000, only requiring the lawyer to charge their retainer with a minimal amount of hours on the case.

Q: Who Pays for Attorney Fees in a Divorce in California?

A: The person who usually pays for attorney fees in a divorce is the individual who contracted the lawyer’s services. In some instances, the attorney may offer their client a payment plan so the paying spouse will be able to afford the lawyer fees by spreading out payment installments. An exception to this assumed responsibility occurs if a judge orders one spouse to pay the other’s legal expenses, typically when there’s a large gap between the spouses’ income.

If You Need a Family Law Attorney, Consult With Us Today

There’s no need to begin any legal process without proper representation, especially since you are likely dealing with the altering state of your family dynamic and other life changes. We’re here to answer any questions, give you a sense of your options after initially evaluating your situation, and explain exactly what we can do for you. Schedule a consultation with one of our skilled lawyers at The Goldberg Legal Group today.