All legal fees for divorce, separation and most domestic-related matters are charged on an hourly basis, with the ultimate fee depending on the amount of time expended. The hourly rates charged will vary depending on the level of experience of the attorney working on the matter. Where appropriate, we also utilize the services of a paralegal, whose time is billed at a lower hourly rate than the attorney.
While hourly rates vary throughout the legal community, lower hourly rates do not always represent a savings. An attorney with more experience may have a higher hourly rate but may be able to complete a matter in less time than a less experienced attorney, thereby resulting in a lower overall fee.
We also require the payment of a retainer at the commencement of our representation in most divorce, separation and domestic-related matters. The funds provided as a retainer are applied against expenses and fees incurred. If the retainer is exhausted before we are finished, we may require an additional retainer. On the other hand, if a portion of your retainer remains when we are finished, the balance is refunded to you. As such, a lower retainer does not mean a lower fee and, in fact, may simply mean that funds are requested more regularly in order to proceed.
The amount of the retainer depends on the specific facts and circumstances of each case. As a result, it is necessary to review each situation in detail before we can suggest an appropriate retainer.
In certain circumstances in contested matters, the court will consider requiring one spouse to contribute to the costs of attorney’s fees incurred by the other spouse. In that each matter is unique, it is necessary to review each situation before we can suggest whether an award of counsel fees may be warranted or likely.