About Divorce or Family Law Attorneys
Perhaps the most significant and prominent professional to play a role in any divorce is the attorney (lawyer). For obvious reasons, these particular fees will be vastly different from state to state and even in any given particular metropolitan area. It is very important to obtain a complete understanding of the actual billing process beforehand so as to avoid any potential misunderstandings or financial mishaps. For example, is there a retainer fee involved? In most cases the answer is yes, meaning a fee is required to be paid up front prior to the undertaking of any work on your behalf. As work is completed, the bill for such is subtracted from the retainer. In some cases, the retainer fee will be used up prior to completion of the divorce process and another retainer will be collected. It is always a good idea to ask for a monthly statement clearly showing for what specific services your retainer has been charged and whether or not you are entitled to a refund if all of the retainer fees have not been used.
It is also of great significance to clarify and understand exactly for what services you will be billed. This can also be an invaluable tool in the choosing of the actual attorney as well. Will the attorney provide you with a complete itemization of the costs involved; i.e., court fees, expert witness fees, and other related expenses? Are the time records accurate and the actual billing statement easily understandable? Does the lawyer make available all documentation relating to your case?
Any good lawyer should not only be able to give you a clear understanding of your legal rights and how he or she intends to represent such, but handle even the simplest of tasks, such as returning phone calls in a timely manner. Remember, the lawyer's primary function is to secure the most favorable and economic outcome on your behalf. For example, if it is both possible and advantageous for your case to be settled out of court, that should be his or her primary focus. Again, it is wise to have all these issues addressed and clarified prior to the actual hiring of any specific representation.
Resources & Tools
CERTIFIED DIVORCE FINANCIAL ANALYST (CDFA) – Another professional who appears in high-end divorces is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, an expert who has passed examinations to become a specialist in divorce financial issues.
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