The costs of a divorce are usually divided between the lawyer’s fees and the Court’s fees.
In Geneva, Court’s fees vary from CHF 600.-, for a divorce by mutual consent with full agreement, to several thousands when the situation is more complicated and requires several hearings. At the beginning of the proceeding, Courts require applicants to pay an advance up to the totality of the alleged legal costs (the repartition of these costs will then be decided by the Court in the divorce judgement).
With regard to the lawyer’s fees, they are usually set according to the time spent on the case, on an hourly rate basis (in Geneva, between CHF 250.- and CHF 500.- an hour). The importance and/or complexity of the case, the outcome achieved and the means of the client are also criteria which must be taken into account in fixing the lawyer’s compensation.
As a general rule, lawyers must refrain from charging fixed fees but such agreements are quite common with divorces by mutual consent. It is standard practice in Geneva to require the payment of a retainer at the beginning of the case.