The costs of a family law case depend on the complexity of the issues and the attitudes of the participants.
The simplest separation agreements in which both parties are reasonable, and all the information is provided without a fuss we have done for about $1,500.00
More typically, the cost of a separation agreement, out of court, should be in the $3,000.00 to $8,000.00 range.
If your matter is headed to court, the cost will likely not be less than $5,000.00. The most complicated cases we have done over the years have resulted in legal expenses exceeding $100,000.00.
If a case is settled prior to legal proceedings being commenced, usually the parties will pay their own lawyers.
However, once the case goes to court, each party is at risk of having to pay some or all of the other party’s legal expenses. The “loser” pays the “winner” in effect.
Where someone is ordered to pay costs to their spouse, it generally means that someone has not assessed the case properly, or they were unreasonable in some way.
My hourly rate is currently $525 per hour. This rate is commensurate with what senior lawyers in Hamilton charge.
Top family lawyers in larger places like Toronto charge $750.00 per hour.
In smaller towns, you can find a senior lawyer for a lower hourly rate. The lawyer’s rate for professional services is largely a function of how expensive the overhead is in their locale, and also what the local market is for legal services.
The top lawyers will always command the top rates.