One of the top reasons that I hear that individuals do not hire an attorney to represent them in a divorce action is that they are afraid of the total fees. Potential clients are worried that attorneys who charge an hourly rate can end up costing tens of thousands of dollars. For some individuals, this is not financially feasible, or the marital estate cannot justify spending tens of thousands of dollars on attorney for a marital estate worth just a few thousand. I agree that when your family is living paycheck to paycheck and barely surviving that the cost of an attorney can be more than the family budget can afford. However, not all divorce attorneys charge hourly.
New trends in legal representation may provide the assistance of attorney at a more reasonable cost. Those trends are flat fees, unbundled services, and limited scope representation.
First, flat fee is an option available to attorneys. Hourly charges have long been the staple for attorneys representing clients in litigation. Now, there is trend for attorneys to analyze exactly how long a case can take, determine the value of the representation to the client, and calculate a flat fee. Flat fees can offer clients a set price for the attorney’s services in the representation.
Next, attorneys can offer unbundled services. Instead of hiring an attorney for full representation, you may be able to hire the attorney to draft documents, advise you on a particular issue or to review a document. This is a fraction of the cost of full representation. Some attorneys even set flat fees for the unbundled services that they offer.
Finally, the option available is limited scope representation. This is when an attorney can be retained for a portion of the legal case. You could hire the attorney to represent you at a motion hearing or for a parenting time review only. This requires a special appearance to be filed by the attorney, so the opposing counsel, the opposing party and court know that the attorney is not fully representing you in the litigation.
When you interview an attorney to represent you in you divorce or postjudgment ask them if they offer any of these services.
If you are looking for a law firm that does offer these options in divorce representation, email us at [email protected] to learn more. And visit our YouTube channel for more information on co-parenting, communication, and more.