Family law cases can be daunting especially if it’s your face time to face it and you are not armed with enough information. You will surely have a ton of questions to ask. One of these questions will be how much hiring a family law attorney will cost you. Financial worries always try to make its way any legal case, and it’s mostly unavoidable in family law cases. In this article, we will provide you with an idea on how you will be billed by the family law attorney that you will hire to help you with the case.
As you are probably aware, family law cases are quite different from other types of civil cases such as property disputes and personal injury cases. More than these civil cases, family law cases are a lot more personal and it deals with people close to you, relationships and everything that is extremely important in your life. Because of this, you need to make sound decisions in choosing who will help you with your case and how much money you are planning to spend on it. You need to choose someone who can represent you properly and whom you can trust. As we have said many times before, choose a family law attorney whom you are comfortable with. The financial aspect of hiring an attorney also plays a huge role in choosing an attorney.
Understanding Your Attorney’s Retainer Fee
The retainer fee is basically the down-payment you pay to your family law attorney when you hire him or her. When you pay the retainer, it basically means that you now ‘retain’ the attorney to represent and guide you with your case. Usually, family law attorneys have a set retainer fee for each type of case and you can usually know about the attorney fees when you meet the attorney for a consultation. When you agree to hire your chosen attorney, you will also be presented with a contract that you can sign. This contract is with regards to your agreement to hire the services of your chosen lawyer. In it, you will also find the fees you have to pay such as the specific retainer fee.
In case you’re curious about where your retainer money goes, we’d like to tell you that it actually does not get mixed up with the retainer of the other clients. Usually, family attorneys have a trust account for each client where the retainer and subsequent payments would go. As the attorney works on your case, he will take out money from that account to use in various expenses associated with working on your case. The retainer you initially provided will slowly diminish and when it happens, your attorney will likely request for monthly payments from you. In some cases, you can also set up automatic monthly payments especially when your case drags on. This will make it easier for you. To avoid delays in the processing of your case, make sure that your account has sufficient funds to pay for fees that arise as your case progresses.
How Your Attorney Bills You
Usually, for family law attorneys, we bill our clients hourly. This basically means that every hour we spend working on your case, we will charge you a specific dollar amount for it. Your contract with your attorney will cover everything from your attorney fees to their office staff charges and paralegals. Work refers to everything your attorney does for your case. It could be emailing an attorney from the opposite party, representing you in court or talking with you on the phone. It would also cover the research your attorney does for your case.
You could feel overwhelmed by the fees associated with your case and you might want to reduce your expenses. There are ways to reduce your expenses when you have an ongoing family law case. One is to reduce the amount of work your attorney has to do or reduce the length of your case. In reducing the amount of work your attorney has to do, you can try to minimize courthouse visits for things like temporary order hearing or you can get your attorney to not participate in answering discovery requests. Of course, in your case, it might be unavoidable for your attorney to show up in court, but you can first try to make negotiations with the other party to avoid further court appearances.
Most issues in family law cases can be resolved if you are open-minded and both parties are open to negotiation and settlement. You will also potentially have a better outcome if you opt for negotiations in this kind of cases. Chances are you will cut costs and you will also get what you want with fewer arguments and less fighting. Of course, not all issues can be settled with a negotiation, but you can definitely give it a try.