Firstly, I want to wish you all a Happy and Healthy 2021.
Today’s topic is: How to retain a lawyer for one’s separation/divorce without incurring huge legal fees, or, to use the colloquial:
How to hire a divorce lawyer without breaking the bank!
In this time of COVID, the effects are not just to our health but also include the emotional and financial fallout. The effects of living under one roof for this long and – and so far, unending – period of time, test even the best relationships and marriages.
For marriages that were “on the rocks” before the pandemic and its closures, the pandemic has accelerated the parties’ problems to the point where many people – including Sally – have decided that they want to take steps immediately to separate and divorce.
However, there is a huge roadblock facing Sally. She wants to hire a lawyer – as she’s heard nightmare stories from people who have represented themselves – however she knows that will necessitate large funds.
So, Sally feels stuck. She wants to leave the marriage now but can’t afford to hire a lawyer to help her in this.
There is an alternative for Sally called “unbundled legal services.” What this means is that Sally can use a lawyer as and when needed during her case. The lawyer will help her in parts of her legal matter and from time to time rather than for the whole thing.
In between, Sally will do the work herself she feels is within her capability. For example, Sally will have a first meeting with a lawyer, and with her lawyer they will look into what parts of her case she wants the lawyer to do and what parts she will do herself.
The “WIN/WIN” for Sally in choosing this process, is that Sally will save a great deal of money on legal fees, and at the same time she will be able to proceed with her divorce with the help of the lawyer, without the financial worry of the fees she’d have to pay a lawyer who is working on her case full time. She will get the benefit of expert legal advice from her lawyer, but without the fear of huge legal fees. In this process, the lawyer and Sally will work out what the lawyer will need for each part of the process that Sally wants the lawyer to help her on. Therefore, fees for these discrete parts can be estimated in advance and will be much lower, than if Sally retains a lawyer on a full retainer basis.
This process can provide a solution for Sally and many others who have made the decision to separate but can’t afford the legal fees to do it right. “Right” means that Sally can have help from the lawyer when she wants and needs it – be it concerning custody, access, support, and/or equitable division of property and protection of her rights.
Using the services of a lawyer on an ad hoc as needed basis provides a much less expensive financial alternative to Sally, such that she can get her divorce started right away and begin the process of removing herself from a situation that has become intolerable, now rather than later.
This is a valuable option for people to consider in these difficult times.
As a family law lawyer and mediator, I offer this service as one of a basket of process options.
For further information, please feel free to contact me at (416) 368-0700 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, Please Keep Safe! Until next time!
Anne Freed holds a BA (Honours Sociology), JD (Juris Doctor, Law Degree), Master of Laws Degree (LL.M.) in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Advanced Training in Mediation, Arbitration and Collaborative Practice, and Certification in Collaborative Practice, as well as 39 years’ of experience in the practice of family law.
© Anne E. Freed, January 2021