About Our Legal Fees

Our Fees

Our lawyers and legal assistants charge an hourly rate plus applicable taxes. Family law lawyers are not allowed to charge contingency fees, which means getting paid a percentage of the value of any assets kept or recovered. We charge out our time and bill on a tenth-of-an-hour basis, or six-minute minimums. Six separate one-minute phone calls will cost the client 6/10ths of an hour fee, whereas one call for six minutes will be 1/10th of an hour fee. Be careful how you use our time. Phone or come in to discuss our fees.

Our Required Retainer

Most law firms require that the client pay a retainer fee in advance. The retainer is placed by the lawyer into his or her trust account in the client’s name and only transferred into the general account as “fees paid” after a bill for work done is produced for the client. This way the law firm always has the funds on hand to cover fees earned and doesn’t have to be chasing after clients who owe money to the firm. When the amount of the retainer gets low, the firm will ask that further funds be forwarded into the retainer account.

Unfortunately it takes money to properly resist a full-force attack by the other parent putting their own interests ahead of the children. The amount of the initial retainer depends upon the type and amount of work to be done. Only by meeting with you can we give you even a rough idea of what your case may cost, and then it is only a guess at best because so much depends on what the other side does.

What if you have limited resources? Or your cash is tied up?

Our firm prefers to act for clients on full retainers. But in some cases the only money a man has is tied up in the matrimonial home or business or RRSP that the wife’s lawyer has frozen under a restraining order.

It is possible, in certain circumstances where assets are frozen, for a lawyer to act for a client and get paid after the case is over and the property sold or cash released.

We also help many men who have limited funds. We can maximize our effort to produce short-term results that the client can then use to his and his children’s advantage later on. We can also help prepare the client at an hourly rate to better present his case by himself in court.

For more advice on how to act for yourself click here.

How much could it all cost

There are usually too many unknown and unpredictable factors in most family law cases to be able to give even a rough estimate of what it might cost a client. We can quote a flat fee for such things as drafting a separation agreement when all the terms are already agreed to, or for an uncontested divorce. But negotiating the settlement of a contested issue or having to prepare for and attend at one or more court hearings can run from not much to a great deal.

The reason for our inability to quote an accurate estimate is that so much of our time may have to be spent on responding to material from the other side, and until you get well into the matter you often don’t know what you are going to get back from the other side.

Any estimate we give is just that. It could end up be considerably more or less.

It is very important for us to know what the absolute limit is for a client’s funds, after taking into account his own cash and help from family or friends. That way we can better advise how we can most efficiently and productively put our skills to work. When the money runs out, we have to stop. We don’t want to find out shortly before an important application or trial that the client’s funds have run out and thus leave us insufficient time to arrange for the client to continue on his own. We can do this best with an accurate understanding at the very beginning of the total amount of funds available.

For more personal information on your own case, please give us a call.

Play this for a harmonic rendition of lawyers’ billing blues.