There are more than 2.18 crore cases pending in district courts across the country. 12 states have more than 5 lakh cases to decide while a little more than one case, on an average, is awaiting conclusion for at least 10 years. Cases for divorce is not an exception. In India, divorce cases take years before they are finally settled. The court process is tedious and requires money at every step. For every draft of application, appearance in court your lawyer will charge with some or the other amount. Therefore, it becomes important for us to know what exactly can be the lawyer’s fee one can expect to pay for divorce cases in India. Here is a detailed report on factors on which a lawyer’s fee depends when it comes to cases relating to divorce in India. What are the different procedure or a layman may say checkpoints at which money has to be paid?
Factors on which a lawyer’s fee depends in India
#1 A Lawyer’s fee depends upon his experience
It is understood and expected of a good lawyer to charge more fee compared to any other decent lawyer. When I say a good lawyer and a decent lawyer, one can assume the difference between the two. A well-established lawyer might even take fees per hearing which he will make in the court. For every draft, every application, he might charge a hefty amount. And there is a reason too for this.
A well-established lawyer knows how to turn your case and lift it from barren land to a fertile plain. Letting the secret out, even a judge respects and listen more closely to the points made by experienced lawyers.
One might even find lawyers wandering around the premises of any family court in any city who guarantees you a win-win situation that too in a lump-sum amount of INR 10,000 to 15,000. Beware of such lawyers. Such advocates often play with the clients. They initially say the case will get settled within lump-sum amount but later ask for money to facilitate court proceedings and other miscellaneous charges. They intentionally delay the procedure and there have been situations in the past where the couple seeking divorce left the very idea of it due to the heavy amount of money flowing through their pocket. Thanks to these lawyers! They saved a marriage but looted the party.
#2 A lawyer’s fee depend on the financial status of the party fighting the case
It will not be incorrect to say that, one of the factors which a lawyer considers while deciding his fees is the financial status of the party who wants a divorce. In the practical arena, it is often found that the same lawyer might charge a poor farmer less when compared to big businessmen. There are veteran lawyers, like Sri Ramjethmalani who makes all his asset through 10% of his cases only, rest 90 % of the cases he does for free! Therefore, a lawyer’s fee also depends upon the financial status of the party fighting the case.
#3 Personal law to be applied in your case
In India, there are different and separate enactments for every personal law. For Hindus, the matter relating to marriage and divorce are dealt with the Hindu Marriage Act. In the same way, Indian Muslim are governed by their personal Shariah law and Quran. In Hindu-dominated cities, it is often difficult to find good lawyers who can fight Muslim divorce cases and ultimately they charge a good amount for their consultation.
#4 A lawyer’s fee depends upon the nature of the divorce: contested or mutual
This is the point which plays a decisive factor in deciding the lawyer’s fee. A divorce case through a contest, that means when either of the parties is not willing to give the divorce, takes long years to get finally settled. One party to a marriage wants a divorce and other wants to remain in the bond of marriage. Therefore, lawyers charge more in cases where the divorce is through a contest. In cases of mutual divorce, the lawyer charges fewer fees compared to what he charges for divorce through a contest.
Reason behind divorce cases being so expensive
The reason lies in the procedure. Therefore, to understand the reason as to why a divorce case requires a hefty amount of investment in terms of money, it is important for us to understand the procedure involving divorce cases.
Procedure for divorce through mutual consent
- Both the parties need to file together with a petition seeking a divorce before the District court.
- Before the filing of the petition, married couple should make sure that they are living separately for a period of one year or more. After the petition is allowed, parties are required for filing of the statement.
If any party is not available, any such family member of such party may file the statement on his behalf. Once this is done, ‘First motion’ is established.
- Couple seeking divorce by mutual consent will have to give the reason why they are not able to live together and mention in the petition that they have not been able to live together and that they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.
- Court after a period of 6 months and not more than 18 months (cooling-off period) will give a date for listening to the parties.
If the case is withdrawn or the parties do not move to court at the given date(s), the petition stands cancelled. After hearing to the parties and on being satisfied, the court may pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage to be dissolved.
- Income Tax returns (3 years)
- Details of present income
- Birth and family details
- The details of the assets
Procedure for contested divorce
- Lawyer files for a divorce petition on behalf of the petitioner in family court or civil court after which court issues notice to the other party.
- The opposite party has to appear either himself or along with an advocate. Later is preferred.
- Court might send the matter to mediation with the district legal services authority. If not sent for mediation, the procedure goes as follows.
- Pleading begins. Allegation and counter-allegations are made by the parties contesting the divorce. It is this step which takes the time and increases the cost of litigation.
- Respondent leading evidence and cross-examination by the petitioner lawyer.
- The conclusion of the evidence and finally closing with final arguments.
A thumb rule, the cost of litigation is directly proportional to the time duration of the litigation.
City wise report on fees one can expect to pay for a divorce in India
|Consultation fees||Depends on the reputation and experience of the lawyer|
|Jurisdiction (place where case will be filed||If the hearing is to take place in Supreme Court, the fees will automatically rise. Different lawyers in different cities have different fee according to their High Court or Civil Court practice.|
|Appearance fee||Lawyer might take fees on the basis of per hearing also.|
|Drafting fee||At different steps the court procedure requires certain documents. A Lawyer also charges for drafting notices, affidavit, settlement, agreement etc.|
- By the virtue of the place being the capital of the country, one find multiple options available when it comes to choosing of lawyers. Divorces cases are fought by various lawyers. Along with the options available for individual lawyer consultation, one can even go to law firms based in Delhi.
- Therefore, if you are opting for any decent lawyer the minimum fees will be starting from INR 2000 and the higher limit might even go to lakhs.
- This is mere the consultation fees. Rest if you hire any lawyer, either independent or through a law firm, there will be charges at every step. Per appearance fee, drafting fee, court fee (one time), photocopy charges, and it all can cost you around lakhs!
- Though the figure is ambiguous but it has its reasons for being so. No one knows, how many years your case will be heard in the court. You might give 10 Lakhs to a veteran and get it done within few hearings or you may even pay an average charging lawyer, say INR 10,000 per hearing and get it done within 3-4 years!
Here is a link providing a good legal solution for cases relating to divorce in NCR. http://cliklawyer.com/index.php/service/avail_service
Being the financial capital of India, Mumbai is litigation expensive city.
For mutual consent divorce → INR 15,000 – 30,000 (for complete process) Lawyers with experience of 1-3 years.
Divorce through contest → This is the real deal. Lawyer charges in Mumbai from a minimum of INR 3000-7000 per hearing (Experience of 3-5 years). Going for a veteran lawyer can eves cost you around INR 35,000 per hearing.
In Bengaluru, litigation expenses are less when compared to other metros like Delhi or Mumbai. The consultation fee of lawyers with experience of 1-3 years can start from INR 1000.
Again the upper cap cannot be stated by anyone as there is no law which limits the fee charged by lawyers in India.
Apart from consultation fees, the charges per appearance may vary. There might even be decent lawyers who can relieve you from all the daily payments and fix a lump-sum amount.
Here is a link where you can find lawyers in Bengaluru https://www.urbanclap.com/bangalore-divorcelawyers?p=1
In Hyderabad, the litigation expenses are again high and similar to Delhi, Mumbai. An average consultation fee can be around INR 2000 and per appearance fee even be higher. Here is a link which might help you http://lawrato.com/divorce-lawyers/hyderabad
When it comes to Chennai, the litigation expenses is not as exorbitant as it is in Delhi, Mumbai or Hyderabad. Owing to the history of legal practice the old and shining Madras High Court, the price of a consultation is minimal as the profession of lawyer is quite common in Madras.
Here is a link which might help you if you are looking for divorce lawyer in Chennai https://www.urbanclap.com/chennai-divorcelawyers?p=1
Like any usual metro city, seeking divorce in Kolkata is expensive. Here is a link which might help you finding a good divorce lawyer in Kolkata http://lawrato.com/divorce-lawyers/kolkata
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