Prospective divorce clients frequently want to know how much a divorce will cost in Middle Tennessee, and especially how much a good Tennessee divorce attorney is going to cost them both in fees they pay to me directly, or fees they may have to pay to the other side.  Even among Nashville’s best divorce lawyers, the costs of each case vary greatly. I always have to tell divorce clients that I don’t know how much it will cost, because each case is different and requires different things done or different work, and the case below is a good example of why.

In Scott Elmer McCarter v. Debra Lynn Walker McCarter, at the trial court level the Wife’s attorney received a lien for his fees in the amount of $135,917.89.  That is not a typo.  The Wife in the divorce incurred divorce and post-divorce attorney fees of SIX FIGURES.  At issue is whether the lien itself was appropriate given the possibility of inadequate notice, but yes – $135,917.89 for one spouse’s divorce fees.  Yikes!   This was a marital estate of approximately 3 million, so Wife will have spent 10% of her portion on just attorney fees.  Ouch!


The best divorce attorneys in Nashville are not cheap, but if they are properly advocating for their client a good divorce lawyer will warn you about going over budget or incurring unnecessary attorney fees. Some things can’t be helped. No matter how great your divorce attorney is, they can’t bar the other side from dragging everyone into court every month. Your divorce attorney should be able to give you a loose estimate of what certain things costs. For example, your divorce attorney may not be able to tell you in advance what your total bill will be, but they can let you know that a deposition of a witness is going to cost

    at minimum

$1000 per deposition between attorney fees to prepare, the actual deposition, and your court reporter – and that is for a very short and simple deposition! The deposition of a party usually runs closer to $2500 unless the issues are very limited.

The best rules of thumb to follow if you are concerned about managing costs in your contested divorce is to hire an attorney that is busy and when you want to do something in your divorce such as a motion, make sure to ask your attorney for an estimate of how much it will cost. If you hire a busy divorce attorney, it is more likely that the work they do is required and not done simply for purposes of making payroll for the month. If they are busy they will be keeping the lights on with or without your motion for visitation time with the dog. Likewise, if you know how much that motion for doggy visitation is likely to cost, you will be better informed and better able to decide whether or not that is the best allocation of your money. Also, never forget that your attorney bills based on time – each phone call you make to their office costs you money.

Complicated divorce issues?  Call divorce attorney Morgan Smith to schedule a consultation (615) 620-5848.   Offices Downtown Nashville, Tennessee.   Attorney Morgan Smith practices divorce in Middle Tennessee, and primarily in Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson (Franklin), and Wilson County.  Attorney Morgan Smith has most recently been listed by Expertise as one of the best divorce lawyers in Nashville and has received a 10 best award for two years in a row from the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys.  

Best Divorce Lawyer in Nashville Award 2016 Morgan Smith

Top 10 Best Divorce Lawyer Award 2016 Morgan Smith