2021 Family Law Fees

Our rates are structured to give our clients high quality legal service at the lowest possible costs. We believe private representation, especially in family law, should be accessible and affordable. In general, we will require an upfront retainer and bill you hourly. In some cases, we are able to offer flat-fee pricing.   Sometimes, traditional representation is unnecessary, and you only need a consulting attorney.  If all else fails, we will provide you with competent referrals so you are not without representation.

REPRESENTATION

If you hire us to be your attorney, our hourly rates range from$350 -$500 per hour.  Limited scope representation retainers starts at $5,000. If you have limited funds, and need help with specific issues such as child support and custody, you would select this service. (More details below).

Full-scope representation retainers start at $10,000.  If you need an attorney to represent you in your divorce  from start to finish, you would select this service.

Not sure what you need?  The first step is to call our office and schedule your initial consultation. Initial consults are $500 per hour.

MEDIATION

If you and your spouse agree to mediate, you can hire us to be your mediator.  As mediator, we are a neutral third party to help facilitate an agreement.  We would not be you or your ex’s attorney, and would not be representing either of you.  In order to use this service, BOTH of you must be present and agree to use Kelly as your mediator.

15-Minute Telephone Mediation Orientation with BOTH Parties Present:  FREE

To secure your first mediation session, we require a retainer of $3500.

First Session

Minimum retainer of $3,500.  The mediator’s fees are billed on an hourly basis ($500 per hour) for time spent with the parties in mediation, as well as for time outside of the mediation sessions to review and study documents, research issues, prepare correspondence, respond and initiate telephone calls, prepare and draft final agreements not covered by flat-fee arrangement, and do such other things as may be reasonably necessary to facilitate the parties’ reaching full agreement.

Our first sessions are booked in 3-hour increments.  Any remainder of the retainer will be applied towards the next session, or the final signing session.

Subsequent Sessions

Subsequent sessions may be scheduled in 1-3 hour segments.  A minimum of $3,500 is required at all times.

*If you reach an agreement in mediation, we can also prepare your divorce paperwork.  Document preparation fees are listed below.

** If you already have an agreement, you probably do not need mediation time.  You will just need paperwork.  Document preparation fees are listed below.

Cancellation and rescheduling

Once you pay your deposit, we release this date.  Time goes into securing the date, convening the case, and setting up your file.  There is a cancellation fee of $250 if you cancel or reschedule after paying your deposit.  We will refund the deposit minus $250.

The parties shall be jointly and severally liable for the mediator’s fees and expenses.

MEDIATIONS FOR ATTORNEYS

We offer mediated private settlement conferences.  Do you have a case that should settle, but hasn’t?  Need to set reasonable expectations for your clients?

We have over 20 years of experience in Family Law litigation and can help you and your clients come to an agreement.

Our rate is $5,000 for full day of mediation, and $3,000 for half-day.  Please see Mediated Private Settlement Conference Rate Sheet for more information.

LIMITED SCOPE REPRESENTATION (UNBUNDLED LEGAL SERVICES)

Are you in mediation, and need a consulting attorney to review your divorce settlement?
Need behind-the-scenes legal advice, but not representation for whole divorce?
Someone to ghostwrite your legal papers?
Want help with one court appearance, but not the entire divorce?
Need temporary spousal support/child support, but can’t afford the entire divorce?
For those who are cost-conscious and cannot afford traditional legal representation, you may wish to consider using a lawyer on an”as-needed” basis.
Starts at $5,000 and up.

PREMARITAL AGREEMENTS (PMA)

Starts at $4,500 and up for drafting a PMA.  Starts at $3,500 and up for review of existing PMA prepared by spouse’s attorney.  (Additional fees apply for additional edits and drafts, rush, signing session, notary).

If your wedding less than 25 court days away, we cannot help you.  We need at least 45 days from your wedding to represent you. However, if your wedding is less than 45 court days away, we charge a rush fee of $1,000 to deliver your first draft within 5 business days.  Please note the rush fee does NOT guarantee completion – circumstances are dictated entirely by you and your spouse and their representation.  In other words, even if I deliver the first draft within 5 days, if your fiance/fiancee does not hire counsel, or cooperate, your PMA will not be completed.  In general, if you are contemplating a PMA, we recommend you allot appropriate time prior to the wedding (at least 2 months).  The law regarding PMAs is complex.

Both parties MUST be represented by independent legal counsel.  (Your fiance/fiancee MUST retain their own attorney).  There are no exceptions to this rule.

Don’t know if you need a prenup?  Schedule a 1-hour consultation with our office BEFORE you get married.

CONTESTED DISSOLUTION

For contested divorces, the minimum retainer is $10,000 – $25,000 (depending on the issues in your case), and normal hourly fees ($350 – $500) apply. Costs are the same.

UNCONTESTED OR DEFAULT DISSOLUTION (PAPERWORK ONLY)
Document Preparation Fees

Law and Mediation Offices of Kelly Chang charges flat fees for preparing documents in uncontested matters and mediations.  Generally, it costs $2,500 to process a divorce without children ($3,865 including all court costs), and $3,500 ($4,865 including all court costs) to process a divorce with children.  The flat fee includes all court filing costs ($435 per person) as well as our attorney service messenger fees for filing documents at the Courthouse.  If the Judgment is rejected for any reason, we submit for you with no additional cost.  We will hold your hand throughout the entire process until your Divorce Judgment is entered.

To read more in detail about Document Preparation and What to Expect, click here.

The costs are broken down in detail below.

Divorce WITHOUT children documents (flat fee) includes:

Petition and Response (no minor children), includes court filing fees of $435 per person, see 2020 Superior Court of California Statewide Fee Schedule
Family Law Case Cover Sheet
Summons
Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt
Proof of Service
Actual service of papers and copies (Filing the Petition STARTS the case.  However, your case is not complete until a Judgment packet is filed. (see below).

Judgment Package:
Declaration of Disclosures (one per party)
Declaration re: Default of Uncontested Divorce
Judgment Cover Sheet plus Stipulated Judgment
Notice of Entry of Judgment
Declaration re: Service of Declaration of Disclosures (one per party)
Appearances, Stipulations and Waivers
Stipulation for Waiver of Final Declarations of Disclosures
*There is a flat rate processing charge of $495 for document prep, which includes messenger delivery, postage, copies, etc.

Divorce WITH children documents (flat fee) includes:

Petition and Response (with minor children), includes court filing fee of $435 per person, see 2020 Superior Court of California Statewide Fee Schedule

Family Law Case Cover Sheet
Summons
UCCJEA Statement
Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt
Proof of Service
Actual service of papers and copies (Filing the Petition STARTS the case, but your case is not complete until a Judgment packet is filed. (see below).

Judgment Package:

Declaration of Disclosures (one per party)
Declaration re: Default of Uncontested Divorce
Appearances, Stipulations and Waivers
Judgment Cover Sheet plus Stipulated Judgment with Parenting Plan
Notice of Entry of Judgment
Declaration re: Service of Declaration of Disclosures
Child Support Case Registry Form
Stipulation for Waiver of Final Declarations of Disclosures

*There is a flat rate processing charge of $495, which includes messenger delivery, pre-paid postage, copies, etc.

Signing Session:

For Mediations and Document prep, we recommend holding a signing session where we will review all documents together, and the mediator will answer any final questions.  The signing session lasts between 1-2 hours.  Normal hourly rate of $500 applies.

Sample Costs:

Divorce without children: 1 mediation session $3,500 plus document prep $3,865 = $7,365.

With children: 1 mediation session $3,500 plus document prep $4,865 = $8,365.