Is it Important to Hire a Family Law Attorney?
Hopefully, very few of us will ever be in need of the legal services of a criminal defense attorney. And while we may be in an accident and require the legal representation of personal injury lawyers, many of us are able to go through life without requiring their counsel. By comparison, a great number of Americans are likely to face legal matters under the umbrella of family law. Whether relating to closing an estate after the death of a family member, negotiating terms of child custody in a divorce, or creating a will or trust, many of us are bound to face several types of family law legal situations in our lifetimes. Considering the commonality of these matters, some Americans believe it is unnecessary to retain legal counsel when facing such situations. However, though family law cases may seem more mundane than criminal defense cases or personal injury claims, matters before a family law judge are often some of the most difficult and emotionally taxing legal issues.
Facing the death of a loved one can be incredibly painful. Divorce can be, by turns, infuriating and heartbreaking. Restraining orders, asset protection, and child support are all highly emotional practice areas.
Family law is not something to be taken lightly or with a sense of ease. Nor is it something that you should attempt to tackle while your emotions are running hot because a disrespectful or inconsolable party is likely to be treated differently by a judge than the party who keeps their cool and maintains proper decorum.
You must explore hiring a lawyer for your family law legal situation. But it’s also understandable that you might ask how much such a lawyer is likely to cost.
Are Lawyers Expensive in Family Law Cases?
It’s a frustrating answer, but it’s impossible to predict how much your family law attorney fees will likely cost. The reason is that there are simply too many variables. The price of a lawyer will vary depending on the type of case, the assets you’re dealing with, and the amount of fight that other parties present. For example, an amicable divorce where both parties cooperate in negotiations will likely cost around $6,000, whereas a contentious divorce could cost closer to $20,000. Even if one party is considered the ‘winner’ of the divorce, both parties will be affected, and the assets rewarded will diminish the more protracted divorce proceedings go on and the more hours your attorneys serve you.
Because time is money, and most lawyers charge hundreds of dollars by the hour.
While this may seem costly, the sad truth of the matter is that the cost of self-representation can hurt your bank account even more. You may not need to pay yourself anything in legal fees, but your inexperience will draw out family law proceedings, resulting in excess fines, fees, and no shortage of other financial headaches before the end.
What Sort of Fees Should a Client Expect to Pay for Retaining Family Law Legal Representation?
California law does not regulate attorneys’ hourly rates, meaning that some may ask for much more than others. That said, the State Bar does impose some limitations in hopes of reining in any ‘unconscionable’ legal fees.
The more experienced and successful a lawyer is, the more expensive they will be. You’re paying for that legal experience and track record of success.
In addition to paying the attorney’s legal fees, you may also need to pay a legal retainer and the cost of the attorney’s legal team’s services.
What is the Cost of Legal Retainers and the Attorney’s Legal Staff?
A ‘retainer’ is a deposit made upfront with the signed agreement between the attorney and the client. This must be paid before any work can begin. It ensures the legal basis of attorney and client with the stated understanding that they will work for you so long as you pay for their legal services. Retainers typically cost between $3,000 and $10,000 in California.
Some clients may turn their noses up at the idea of some issues being handled by the attorney’s legal staff, such as paralegals and other legal assistants. But these legal team members are professionals, too, and are there to serve both your needs and the needs of the family law attorney. Their time is likely to cost less than the hourly rates of the lawyer, too, so please consider saving money by letting members of the legal staff tend to certain needs while the attorney works in a supervisory capacity.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced California Family Law Lawyer Today
Before you decide to skip retaining the legal services of professional family law attorneys, consider scheduling a free case evaluation with a law firm specializing in cases like yours. Family law legal matters can be complicated, both legally and personally, and you would be well-served by having a professional lawyer in your corner representing your interests. That being said, we understand that you may have concerns about money. In your free initial consultation, our legal team will detail the types of services we provide so you can feel confident that your hard-earned money is being spent wisely.
The Law Office of Patrick O’Kennedy offers experienced legal representation to our clients. You deserve the finest legal services for your money, and we shall always endeavor to provide you with precisely that.
Please call our law firm at 714-701-6356 to schedule your free case review.