Hiring an attorney is another stressful factor in the divorce process, but choosing the right one helps reduce your burden and obtain a favorable outcome. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best divorce lawyers in Kansas City to find the best representation at affordable rates.
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While divorce rates are declining, there are still many couples that divorce each year. Kansas City residents on the Missouri side are more likely those on the Kansas side to get a divorce. The Missouri divorce rate is 3.1 while Kansas is 2.4 (one of the lowest in the nation). KC suburb Overland Park has one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation.
Hiring a divorce lawyer in Kansas City
There are many divorce lawyers to choose from, and the correct one for your case depends on your specific situation. Below are some of the most common divorce scenarios and the type of attorney best equipped to handle each one.
We have children.
Whether you agree or disagree on assets, you should hire a family law attorney if you have children. A family law attorney always looks first to what is best for the child, which means they listen to both spouses and put the child’s welfare first. Hiring a family law attorney helps protect your child during a process that is often contentious and frightening for them.
Lawyer: Family law attorney
We agree on how to split our assets.
In this situation, called an uncontested divorce, you work together to divide your assets. You can file your own paperwork and may not even need to hire a lawyer, though you still need to pay a filing fee to the court. The cost of filing fees varies by county. Without a lawyer, the divorce cost could be as low as $500, but it’s a good idea to hire an attorney to ensure all the paperwork is filed correctly.
We don’t want to go to court, but we don’t agree on how to split our assets.
In this situation, you can hire a third party to help resolve your issues. You have two options: an arbitrator or a mediator. An arbitrator listens to both sides and makes a binding decision on any disputed matters. A mediator helps facilitate amicable and productive discussion but makes no decisions.
You can also choose to work with attorneys even if you plan to keep the case out of court. This is called a collaborative divorce. Each spouse hires a collaborative law attorney and signs an agreement stating they want to negotiate in good faith. If the parties breach this contract and cannot come to a resolution, each side must hire new representation before proceeding to litigation.
Lawyer: Arbitrator or mediator, or collaborative lawyer
We don’t agree on anything.
This is relatively common, especially if there are many assets on the line. In a contested divorce, you both hire divorces attorney and may have to go to court to settle your case in front of a judge. For the most part, however, your attorneys handle the discussions between sides and work together toward a settlement that benefits both of you.
Lawyer: Divorce attorney
Many experts agree the best way to protect yourself and your assets is to hire a lawyer even in uncontested divorces. Many attorneys in Kansas City offer free consultations, which allows you to meet with several before choosing one. Remember this is an interview on both sides; you are trying to figure out if he or she is a good fit for you, and the lawyer is also making sure you’re a good fit for them and their firm.
Questions to ask a divorce lawyer during the initial consultation:
Will you take care of my case directly or pass it off to an associate? Sometimes lawyers pass off cases to someone else, such as a junior associate at the firm. This might lower costs, but it also means the person working on your case is someone you don’t know.
What is your experience and record? Pick someone who is experienced. Local attorneys often are familiar with judges and understand how to work with each one. You also want a lawyer with a successful track record of handling divorce cases similar to yours.
Do you have any specialized training or expertise? It’s important to find a lawyer who matches your case. If you and your spouse remain amicable and plan to settle disputes through mediation, you want an attorney that specializes in resolving cases out of court.
How much are your hourly fees? Law firms set their own prices, so this number varies significantly from attorney to attorney. Ask about any additional costs as well so you’re not surprised by expenses for court filing fees or expert witnesses.
How much does it cost to hire a divorce lawyer in Kansas City?
The average length of the divorce process in Kansas City is 11 months, so you should expect to pay your lawyers on an hourly basis over the course at least a year. Here are some average costs for divorces in Kansas and Missouri:
Average cost of divorce in Kansas City
Divorce, no children
Divorce, with children
Information from Lawyers.com
Prices may be slightly higher in Kansas City than the state average, especially on the Kansas side, because firms tend to charge higher rates in large metropolitan areas than they do in rural communities.
This average cost includes the hourly rate, plus other fees in the divorce proceeding, including:
Hiring witnesses and consultants
Costs of serving documents
Court filing costs
While saving money is crucial during a divorce, it’s risky to hire an attorney based solely on price. They may lack the necessary qualifications needed for a successful outcome or not be as qualified. To find the best divorce lawyer in Kansas City for your case, you should ask friends, family and professional acquaintances and read reviews from previous clients.
Stange Law Firm, PC
Since 2007, Stange Law Firm has served the Kansas and Missouri area with helpful, impactful representation. Stange’s attorneys work alongside client care assistants to give you the best and most communicative representation possible. Reviews from Kansas City say the firm’s attorneys work tirelessly and are always prepared.
Jackoboice Law Firm
For more than 20 years, Jill Jackoboice has been building her business and experience in divorce and family law. Every client works directly with Jackoboice, who has been named to Best Lawyers in America every year since 2008, and her experienced team. Jackoboice has received numerous awards and recognitions in the Kansas City area.
Mark A. Wortman Attorney at Law, LC
Mark Wortman has more than 15 years of experience specializing in divorce and family law. He also authors the Missouri Divorce and Family Law Blog. His firm uses a fixed-fee billing structure so clients know how much they’ll pay from the beginning of the case. Kansas City clients appreciate how knowledgeable and accessible Wortman is.
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