Our previous blog explained a new rule that offers a new model for attorney fees. In that blog we explored how costs in hiring an attorney can be more manageable. In this blog we are explaining the traditional way attorney fees are charged and how we charge at our firm in the traditional way as well as the new way. Attorney fees are oftentimes confusing to the client but at our firm they are explained and clearly communicated so you are not surprised.
At the outset of accepting representation a retainer is charged. This is a set amount of money that is paid upfront. It is nonrefundable because a certain amount of time is committed in accepting representation. For domestic relations, including divorce or custody, the typical amount is $2500.00 to $3000.00.
You are then billed at an hourly rate which as of this date is $250.00 per hour. The time is billed against your retainer. When the retainer is used you are billed for the additional time.
We want to help you save in attorney fees and this is how we do that. We try our very best to get the opposing party to agree to settle without the need for services beyond the retainer. This is done through skilled negotiation. The goal is to obtain a settlement that gives you the same award that you would get through litigation and trial.
The ultimate goal is to obtain that settlement prior to court ordered mediation. Mediation is very expensive. Not only do you have to pay more attorney fees but you also have to pay the mediator. That is the point where your divorce or custody case becomes expensive and in total you may pay over $10,000.00.
Of course we have to control over the other party. Settlements require both parties to be reasonable. Hopefully the other party will see that the outcome of the case, if tried by the judge, would most likely be the same as a settlement. However if the other party is not willing to be reasonable then we have to choice but to go on to mediation and then trial if necessary. We will advocate and fight for you.
No client should ever accept an unfair settlement and should put our advocacy skills to their advantage.
But keep in mind that if need be we can structure fees in the non-traditional way as described in our previous post.
We hope you will reach out with your questions about fees so we can answer them.