Divorce Costs: Legal Fees
Divorce impacts every aspect of your life — especially your emotional and financial well-being. At Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices LLC, our family law practice has served Fort Lauderdale for 15 years. Our attorneys are well-experienced at managing the cost of divorce along with creating parenting plans in Florida.
One of our earlier blogs placed attorney fees third in terms of divorce costs, after emotional trauma and property distribution. Divorce lawyers have a wide range of fees and methods of charging them. For example, there may be one custody attorney in Fort Lauderdale who charges a flat fee for conducting your case, while another firm in Miami may base their fees on a standard hourly rate for each of the lawyers involved.
Some clients feel most comfortable with the flat fee arrangement. They know the total liability before beginning the process. However, flat fees are almost always based on doing a specific set of tasks and providing specific services. Anything beyond that scope will be in addition to the flat fee. The flat fee also requires that the two parties have a working relationship and can communicate. Cases often start out amicably, but sometimes deteriorate as the case continues — costing more in attorney fees.
Payment of up-front retainers
Payment of retainers is the legal industry’s standard practice. Some law firms hold retainers until the case closes, then draw it down to settle the final bill. Others charge it to fees, as they are incurred. When the retainer runs out, they ask the client for another retainer. It’s like a fixed amount on your credit card.
A billable hour is not always 60 minutes long
Many law firms bill by the hour. However, most charge in increments of an hour — e.g. six minutes to 15 minutes. Therefore, a telephone call just one minute long is charged for the minimum time the law firm allows — e.g. 15 minutes. If your attorney charges $300 per hour, that one-minute telephone call just cost you $75. It is important that you fully understand your lawyer’s billing practices before hiring them.
Attorney fees in divorce may be the best money every spent
Many couples will attest that hiring a proficient divorce attorney is the best money they ever spent. Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices LLC has guided Fort Lauderdale families through divorce for 15 years. Call our Fort Lauderdale office today at 954.687.9143 or contact us online.