Call: 843.971.0555
Mount Pleasant, SC


One of the most common questions that I hear from potential clients is, "How much is this going to cost?" This is a perfectly understandable and even necessary question. Here are several possible answers:


I charge $300.00 for a consultation. It's about two hours long. This is the time when you will get information about what to expect, what to do, and what not to do.

Uncontested Divorce or Separation (With and Without a Formal Agreement):

An "uncontested" case is one where all issues have been addressed and resolved. This includes child custody, division of debts and assets, financial support, division of household goods, etc. Of course sometimes, especially with very brief marriages, there are no children, no marital assets or debts – in short, nothing to divide or share.

In the first scenario, there should be a written, detailed agreement covering all issues. It must be filed with the Court. A hearing must be held. Financial disclosure must be properly made. I charge a flat fee for this process of $2,500.00.

In the second scenario, there is no formal agreement and the court simply issues - after a hearing - either an order of separate support and maintenance (similar to a legal separation), or a decree of divorce. For that, I charge a flat fee of $1,200.00 for cases in Charleston County and $1,500.00 for cases outside of Charleston County.

Contested Divorce or Separation:

This is where it gets difficult. The short answer is that no attorney can truly predict how much a case will ultimately cost. Why not? Because he or she cannot know how many hours they are going to have to devote to the case, and attorneys bill by the hour. I currently bill at an hourly rate of $300.00. There are many unknowns that makes it difficult to predict how involved each individual case may be although, with enough information, I can usually provide an estimated range.

Contested cases are usually billed on a retainer. You pay a retainer fee up front and are billed on a monthly basis until the retainer is depleted. At that point you provide another retainer installment. You can expect to have to pay an initial retainer of at least $5,000.00 for a contested case. It can be less, if only minor issues are contested. It could also certainly be more, if it is reasonably anticipated that the case will be highly contested on most or all issues. A contested custody case will also usually require the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem to represent the children. That person is likely to charge an hourly rate between $150.00 to $200.00 an hour, often equally divided between the parents.

In addition to the above, in this State any contested cases not resolved at a certain point will have to be submitted to a mediator in an attempt to reach a settlement. Mediation is a very good thing and an effective way to get cases resolved. Yet mediators are also paid an hour rate – usually between $200.00 and $300.00 an hour – for a typical day long session, which is ordinarily split 50/50 between the opposing sides.

Flat Fees for Contested Cases:

One way to avoid the "sticker shock" of being billed by the hour is to pay a flat fee as you would for an uncontested case, for one that still contested. The flat fee you pay is somewhat higher than the retainers discussed above, because the attorney assumes the risk that if the case is more difficult than anticipated, he or she will not get paid any more. The appeal for the client is that you do not have to worry about retainers being depleted and having to be replenished. You have a feeling of control. The potential down side for the client is if the case ends up resolving more easily than anticipated – the client might have paid "too much" compared to a more typical bill-by-the-hour scenario. If a flat fee appeals to you, I am happy to discuss it.


The most common proceeding that I handle involving probate is the drafting of wills, living wills, and powers of attorney. These are handled on a flat fee basis and typically cost in the range of $150.00 for powers of attorney up to $750.00 for some wills.

I also do work probating estates, most often as attorney for the personal representative. This is usually billed on an hourly basis and costs approximately $2,500.00 to $5,000.00.

Conservatorship and Guardian cases (for incapacitated persons) are also billed on an hourly basis and usually cost between $2,500.00 to $5,000.00.


Adoption cases that are uncontested – meaning that no biological parent or other person is fighting for custodial rights – are still very involved matters. A Guardian ad Litem is always appointed for the children and a home study must be done (unless it is a step-parent adoption) by a certified specialist. Between attorneys' fees, Guardian fees and home study fees, you can expect a typical adoption case to cost between $5,000.00 and $7,500.00.

Name Changes:

A name change for an adult costs a flat fee of $583.00 plus $150.00 filing fee. If the name change is for a minor, a Guardian ad Litem must be appointed, adding another $300.00 to $500.00 to the cost. If the minor's name change is contested, meaning that one biological parent wants the name changed and the other does not, additional costs will be involved.

I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your case and the various fee scenarios. Please call or email for an appointment.