An open, transparent conversation about what attorneys charge is an important first step in establishing a meaningful working relationship with your divorce lawyer.
Part of retaining a divorce attorney should therefore involve careful consideration of the true costs of moving forward and the legal fees for representation. Each case, like each client, is truly unique.
Some matters are more complex than others. Some relationships are more contentious or subject to animosity, while others may allow for a collaborative divorce.
From the outset we want you to understand the costs of our services, what to expect, and help guide you through what can be a confusing family court legal system.The True Costs of Getting a Divorce
Most people understand the process of dividing assets can be a bit complicated. It often involves more than a small amount of emotion and hard feelings.
What may seem like a “simple divorce” to you may actually become quite involved, if not messy.
That’s especially true when the parties are at odds with one another.
Even in the best of circumstances, we find that clients sometimes are surprised by their individual level of attachment to an issue.
The emotional aspects of a separation and divorce can be consequential and therefore should not be ignored. To fail to acknowledge that is, we believe, a mistake.
It’s not until things start moving forward that true, raw feelings get exposed.
Once separated, the niceties extended to one-another in an effort to keep things civil, often for the children, sometimes go by the wayside.
Given the complexities associated with figuring who gets what after a divorce, and the reality of not wanting to go through a potentially difficult time in their life, people sometimes put off filing for divorce or even separating.
Add to that concerns about children, child support, and potential disputes over Equitable Distribution, there’s a lot to think about.
How matters proceed from a legal perspective depend a lot on your individual circumstances and needs. You should also consider and anticipate how your spouse will likely act.
Will they be reasonable or will they do everything in their power to make the process miserable? Is a collaborative divorce an option or will a full-blown trial be in your future?
Frankly, that all too often is the single biggest variable in legal fees and the costs of a divorce.
An unreasonable “Ex” can make the process unnecessarily expensive.
As such, we encourage you, before doing anything or making any type of life-altering decision, to first speak to one of our Charlotte divorce lawyers.
Deliberative planning on such an important life decision makes sense.
Nothing requires you to move forward, to separate, or to even tell your spouse that you met with a divorce attorney or want a divorce.
Each divorce is different. While the advice of well-meaning friends and family is offered in love, it may not be accurate or apply to your unique circumstances.
That’s true too for internet searches. Frankly, there is a lot of bad information out there.
We believe it’s imperative to get the facts about your legal options. Good decisions start with good information.
The divorce lawyers at Powers Law Firm will not pressure you to retain our services. This is a big decision. Take your time, think about things, and consider your options.
We are deliberative in our case selection. The attorney-client relationship often lasts for years. We want it to be a right fit.
Everything you tell us is strictly confidential. Confidentiality extends to the fact that you met with us.How are Legal Fees set for Divorce Cases?
Lawyers in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina tend to focus on certain areas of law or “practice areas.”
In large measure, legal fees are set considering the:
- Amount of work to be performed
- Relative level of training and experience handling similar matters
- Professional awards and accolades of your lawyer
- Practical trial skills and courtroom experience
- Complexity or difficulty of the matter
- Availability for representation
Legal fees in North Carolina vary depending on the type of practice area and legal services to be performed.
For example, criminal defense attorneys tend to charge flat rates for things DWI charges, felony or misdemeanor matters, and even traffic tickets.
The more serious the case, the more costly legal representation tends to be.
A murder charge related to DWI is more expensive than a simple traffic ticket.
“Plaintiff’s Lawyers,” attorneys who handle car accidents, motorcycle wrecks, and personal injury attorneys normally work on what’s called a “contingency” or “contingent fee basis.”
Legal fees for accident cases are earned upon a successful settlement or recovery. The fee is “contingent” upon success in obtaining a verdict at trial or settlement through negotiations with the insurance adjuster.
Charlotte Divorce Attorneys, with few exceptions, charge an hourly rate. Most family law issues cannot under the law be handled on a contingency basis.
It’s not usual to pay a True Retainer to secure the attorney’s availability, which is technically separate and apart from an attorney fee.
Lawyers also normally require a consultation fee, as attorney-client privilege may prevent or preclude legal representation to the other spouse.
The hourly rate also depends on the type of the legal issues involved, the complexity associated with the individual separation and divorce, and the anticipated time necessary to bring a cause of action.
At our firm, we have varying rates depending on the lawyer assigned as attorney of record.
As you might understand, the hourly legal fee for Bill Powers, the senior attorney at the firm, is more than an associate attorney. Costs for a legal assistant or paralegal are less than those for attorneys.
There also may be expenses associated with expert witnesses, copy charges, filing fees, and the costs of litigation.Other Costs of Divorce
Legal fees are part of the costs associated with getting divorced. There are other fees you should anticipate.
A lot depends on the size and complexity of your marital estate. Larger asset estates commonly require review and analysis by a forensic accountant.
There also may be costs associated with the valuation of personal property and real property (houses, vacation homes, real estate).
For example, transferring an ownership interest in real property may involve a closing on a home, transfer of a deed or title, title searching, preparing mortage documents, and therefore may necessitate retaining a real estate attorney.
Fees may apply in the valuation of a business as part of Equitable Distribution. Accounting fees are often a part of preparing cash-flow statements and a summary of financial health.
In disputes involving children, there are can professional fees for psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health professionals, and best interest counselors.
Again, it can be a lot to consider.
We’re here to help. We want you to be aware of the costs associated with a divorce, including and those in addition to the legal fees of your divorce lawyer.
It’s all part of your decision on how you want to proceed.
Some people, possibly more than you might expect, decide to do nothing. They decide it’s better to stay married, even if that’s not optimal.
The point is, making that decision after careful consideration of all your options is a really good idea.
Call now to schedule an appointment to meet with Bill Powers or one of our other Charlotte divorce lawyers.
You may also email Bill Powers at Bill@CarolinaAttorneys.com