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Seeing into the future: How much will my divorce or custody case cost?

Posted by James Judkins | Jul 09, 2020 | 0 Comments

People want certainty. They want to know how much their case will cost so the can prepare. It's only human nature to do so. As a family lawyer I have been asked multiple times in my career how much a case will cost or how much work I will have to do on the case. I often tell the asker, I left my crystal ball at home and cannot see into the future.

Let's assume you are a commercial construction agency and someone asks you to give them a price on building a brand new hotel. What they don't know is how large it will be and how much work it will take. The hotel they want you to build might be the size of the Mall of America, the size of Disneyworld, or the size of a small room or outhouse. Would you quote them a flat price not knowing what you are building or how many years of your life that job would require? Absolutely not.

Family lawyers won't quote you a flat price not knowing if your case will take 20 hours of work or 20,000 hours of work because there are so many factors that cannot be predicted. Family law is different from other types of law due to the emotional aspect. Parties feel intense emotions in breakups and their responses can be unpredictable. Will your spouse or ex fight you tooth and nail on every issue and how much time and work will that require of your lawyer? How many court hearings will the case require? How much work will it take for your lawyer to answer discovery? Will the other side even send you discovery? Will you provide your attorney with all of the answers to questions he or she asks of you or will your lawyer or his assistant have to continuously pester you to produce the answers? Will you have depositions or not? Will you actually have to have a day or 3 day final hearing on your matter?  Do you have complex assets? Is your spouse hiding money? Will your ex get arrested for exposing your children to methampetamine requiring you to file emergency pleadings and have a hearing(s)? Will you or the other side appeal the court's ruling to a higher court requiring lots of research, briefs, and oral argument? Will someone appeal the higher court's ruling to the Supreme Court? 

Attorney Abraham Lincoln said it best, "A lawyer's time and advice is his stock in trade." I am sure President Lincoln knew he could not see into the future as well. 

About me

I am Jim Judkins and for a decade family law has been a big part of my practice. I enjoy helping people. Located in the heart of Murfreesboro and in Smithville, Tennessee, I represent clients in family law situations all throughout Tennessee. Helping people successfully through the some of the most turbulent times of their lives gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from James M. Judkins, attorney or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient's state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

About the Author

James Judkins

About James M. “Jim” Judkins, Attorney at Law Professionalism and Dedication are the hallmarks of my life. Mr. Judkins always wanted to be a litigation attorney. He considers the practice of law his purpose in life and he holds himself to a very high professional and ethical standard. Mr. Judki...


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