If your divorce is uncontested and the parties can reach a settlement on the terms of the divorce your divorce lawyers will most likely charge you a fixed fee.
Therefore all divorce lawyers will ask you to pay a deposit when you mandate them to take your case. Therefore the amount of the deposit will depend on the lawyers experience and hourly rate.
Divorce Lawyers are subject to very strict ethical rules from their law societies who control how the must handle with their trust monies.
Therefore you have the right to divorce lawyers
- to professional, honest and unbiased advice at all times;
- to be treated with professional courtesy, respect and fairness, regardless of your race, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability;
- to privacy and attorney-client confidentiality;
- to agree to the type of service you can expect and receive;
- to clear explanations in terms you understand;
- to set out from the start of the consultation what you are hoping to achieve, and aim to make sure that your expectations are realistic;
- to know who will be handling your matter;
- to be advised on the likely success of your case;
- to be assured that no unnecessary work will be done that could lead to unnecessary expenses;
- to an explanation of the cost implications and how the costs are likely to be calculated;
- to be kept informed of costs, so that you can work out if a particular course of action is worth following financially;
- to be kept updated on developments and progress as work on your case proceeds;
- to responses to your letters and telephone calls within a reasonable time;
- to a clear bill that shows the work done and the amounts charged;
- to complain about your attorney if you believe he/she is acting unethically or in an unprofessional manner;
- to have your attorney’s account assessed and taxed if you are of the view that it is too high; and
- to cancel your mandate to your attorney at any stage, subject to certain conditions, and consult another attorney.
Your divorce divorce Lawyer should provide you with a fee agreement before you pay the first deposit. The mandate will spell out the terms of your agreement. Therefore the following issues should be explained to you.
Hourly rate of Divorce Lawyers
The agreement should state the divorce lawyers hourly rate and the fees of anyone else who might also work on your case. You may for example be asked to pay for the time of a candidate attorney, associate or paralegal who works for the attorney, or an advocate briefed by the attorney. The hourly rate of the candidate attorney, associate or paralegal in the firm should be significantly lower than what your attorney is charging. Some attorneys may charge a higher hourly rate for time spent in court as opposed to time spent in consultation.
Expenses of Divorce Lawyers
In addition to the hourly charges levied by your Divorce Lawyer, you may also be charged for expenses such as copying, postage, emails, telephone calls or faxes.
Therefore make sure that those charges are captured in the agreement. You might want to ask for a clause that says the attorney will check with you before incurring expensive charges, like what the hourly rate will be of an advocate that the attorney will employ and when payment of the advocate’s account must be made.
The fees of an advocate briefed by the attorney may be significantly more than your attorney’s hourly rate. Advocates contract with attorneys and therefore the attorneys will be liable to pay the advocates’ fee within a prescribed time period. Usually attorneys will ask for a further retainer before they employ the services of an advocate or demand immediate payment once the advocate delivers his/her invoice.
Your attorney will have retention on your file for so long as his/her account has not been paid. Therefore, if you decide to change attorneys, be aware that the attorney will be within his/her rights to hold on to your file until you make full payment.
Finding the right Divorce Lawyers
There are many excellent and ethical divorce lawyers who would me more than happy to represent you, but there are also many who don’t care much about your personal needs and requirements. Therefore, no matter how easy your case, it will likely move faster and be easier if you have a competent divorce lawyer.
It is important that you use a divorce lawyer who has experience in handling divorce cases. For the same reason that you wouldn’t hire your family doctor to operate on your heart, you will not hire an attorney in general practice to attend to your divorce.
Time is money in the legal profession, and the more time you spend with your attorney, the more it will cost you. That is why it is so important to approach meetings or phone calls in an organised way. Think about your questions or issues in advance, and list them to discuss with your lawyer.