Our office deals with all types of financial obligations. Our attorneys notice patterns in the types of debts we see.  Attorney fees for a divorce is a common debt that drives people into bankruptcy.  

Why are divorce fees so high?

The contentious nature of divorce litigation lends itself to a high number of billable hours and unpaid fees. Because many divorce attorneys charge a nominal deposit, the bill continues to grow and eventually multiply with unpaid interest. Divorce attorneys will stop representing the client once the bill gets out of control. As a result, individuals will hire multiple attorneys on a single divorce. Because each attorney must familiarize themselves with the case, the fees are multiplied.

Many individuals aren’t informed by their divorce lawyers on how to control their fees. Considerate attorneys will send a letter outlining ways to reduce fees such as limiting phone calls and working with legal assistants.

There also is an emotional element in divorce or custody proceedings that make it unlike any other field of law. Divorce attorneys often act as armchair psychologists. Discussing their client’s frustrations and anxiety instead of the legal work at hand. Anger towards their spouse and the need to retain custody of their child at all costs further muddy the waters. In an emotional state, divorce clients will incur exorbitant legal fees ignoring their potential financial implications.

Laura Dern’s character in Marriage Story was a high priced divorce attorney. Hopefully her client wasn’t saddled with too much debt after the divorce.

Inability to Pay

The dissolution of a marriage inevitably results in debt issues on the horizon. The divorce judgment itself outlines an allocation of debt and potential child or spousal support that wasn’t being paid prior to the divorce. People are unable to meet their typical household expenses when their income is cut in half. A monstrous divorce bill on top of that exacerbates these debt problems.

Collection Efforts

Divorce attorneys are uniquely situated to collect on their divorce bill unlike other forms of debt. Divorce attorneys are familiar with the courts and collection attorneys in the field. Therefore, they can quickly get a judgment and collect on their client via garnishment or aggressive collection tactics.

Solutions to Divorce Bill

Many people think that because a debt is owed to an attorney that they cannot get rid of it. They are ashamed that they generated such a large bill. Many have a strong relationship with their attorney so they will sacrifice their financial well being for years to pay a bill that will never go away. The good news is that a divorce bill can be easily discharged in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. There is no exception to discharge for divorce bills or fees. A divorce bill should be treated just like any other consumer debt such as a credit card or medical bill. An experienced bankruptcy can immediately stop any collections efforts for the divorce bill using the bankruptcy stay.  As an alternative, a debt settlement can result in cutting the bill in half with the right attorney at your side. We encourage our prospective clients to not let one difficult and emotional period in their lives to dictate their entire future. Call our office today to set up a free consultation and we will put a plan together for you.