Category: Legal Fees
Helpful Tips and Facts
Limited Scope Representation - Legal Advice for the Self-Represented Party
For many individuals who have been negatively impacted by the downturn of the economy, self-representation today is not a choice, it is a necessity. Limited Scope Representation(LSR) is an affordable way for individuals to represent themselves while working with an attorney whose experience and guidance insures their rights are protected, they have the information needed to make good choices, and the confidence to navigate through the court system. LSR reduces costs associated with retaining a full-time attorney and removes a lot of the fear and uncertainty associated with not having an attorney to represent them. LSR can include consulting with a party contemplating divorce and basic advice and counsel on all family law related matters enabling them to enter court knowing what to expect, prepared and confident.
Contingency Fees
Contingency fees -- where the lawyer is paid on the basis of the amount recovered -- are not permitted in divorce actions. In personal injury cases, such fees are often regulated by court rule or statute. See ABA, Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.5(c), (d).
Gathering Information for Self-Disclosure
Gathering all the information required for manadatory self-disclosure may be time consuming, but rather than have a lawyer do it, a party can save money doing it himself or herself.
Calling Your Lawyer
Unlike doctors, most lawyers have listed home telephones, and when you call them at home, they bill you for some fraction of an hour no matter how short the call. Cost is a very good reason not to use your lawyer for moral support.
Calling Your Lawyer
Many people going through a divorce make unnecessary telephone calls to their lawyers. Unlike doctors, many lawyers take calls at home -- and bill the client for them. In other words, every call counts.
Attorney Fees Taken Out of Marital Estate
When the attorney fees for a divorce come out of the marital estate, the chances of frivolous claims and expensive litigation are greatly reduced. The spouses realize that by litigating meaningless issues they are dwindling away at what could actually be shared.
Spouse Paying the Legal Bills
A non-working spouse of a lengthy marriage can expect that the opposing spouse will be paying all the legal bills. This is not automatic, but is normally the case unless legal fees have been accumulated foolishly by refusing a fair settlement. Also, this is somewhat contradictory if the legal fees are paid for out of the marital assets before they are divided by the court.
Staying off the Telephone
During a divorce, try to resist the impulse to call your lawyer when angry or distressed. Lawyers bill by very small fractions of an hour, and every telephone call counts. A good lawyer informs his client of every important development.
A Break Down of Your Legal Bill
Do not hesitate to ask for a break down of your legal bill. Most divorce lawyers will do this automatically, but if they do not, make sure you ask for it. You deserve to know how and why you were billed a certain amount. A breakdown by date, time, and fee will also allow you to track when certain events occurred throughout the divorce procedure.
Awarding of Legal Fees in a Divorce Case
In a litigated divorce, the most common approach a judge will take in resolving the payment of legal fees is to add up the husband’s and wife’s legal fees and have them paid with a portion of what marital assets are available for distribution. This being said, the accrued legal fees become an integral part of any ruling on a property award.