The two main factors that predict the cost and length of your case are the complexity & level of conflict. You can read about determining your level of conflict HERE.
Complexity in a family law case means how complicated are the issues that are going to be decided? Here are some generalities about complexity:
- Divorces are more complicated because they involve the division of marital property.
- Divorces with a lot of money and things like businesses are more complicated than other divorces.
- Original child custody cases (the first time a child custody case is filed, whether in a divorce or otherwise) are more complicated than modifications.
- Child custody cases with two functioning parents are less complicated than ones where one or both parents are impaired.
You could look at case complexity on a scale. Here is how we would add those up:
- For divorces, add 3 points.
- For divorces with over $1M in assets or a business, add another 3 points.
- For an original child custody case (including a divorce), add 1 point. For a modification, subtract 1 point.
- If one parent is alleged to be impaired, add 3 points. If both parents respect each other and are acknowledged to be good parents, subtract 2 points. “Impaired” means they are alleged to have a substance abuse, mental health or other serious problem that interferes with their ability to parent normally.
- Special circumstances should add another 2 points. Examples of these include: hiding money; special needs children;
Scoring these totals I would say this:
0-2 points: Very Low Complexity; You agree on a most issues; must several minor ones remain.
3-5 points: Moderate Complexity; You and the other party agree on some issues; but have important disagreements on at least one important issue.
6-8 points: High Complexity; You don't agree on much, and certainly not on at least one important issue. There are hard feelings.
9+ points: Very High Complexity; There are important issues that you very much disagree with the other parent about, combined with hard feelings on both sides.
Now that you understand how we examine complexity, use our Case Budget Calculator to help you determine the cost of your case.