How to hire a divorce attorney without losing your nest egg, retirement, or savings? Let's first talk about hourly rates. Hourly rates for attorneys in Orange County can range anywhere from $200 to $500 or more. Retainer agreements can range all across the board. Some, though not many, attorneys will offer a flat fee and some will require you to put down a retainer deposit. There are some attorneys that will even require you to put down a security deposit. Here is a brief explanation of the three most common basic options:
Retainers usually start at a couple of thousand dollars for a simple case and for more complex cases it can be as high as you can afford. With a retainer you put money into the attorney's trust account, and each month your attorney will bill you, but payment is taken from the retainer. When the retainer is depleted or goes below a certain level, you are usually required to replenish the retainer if your case is not done. When we cannot charge a flat fee, our firm will use a retainer agreement.
Flat fees are great for straightforward, low conflict cases, but for cases that are litigated not so much. The good thing about flat fees is that you know exactly how much you will pay, but there are several downsides. First, very few attorneys will offer a flat fee for litigation. If they do, the representation will be very limited, and don't expect your attorney to work many hours beyond what your flat fee paid for. It is just not feasible for most attorneys. If you get a flat fee attorney, your case should be straightforward and not horribly contentious. If your case is complex and contentious, a flat fee may not be a good idea. We offer flat fees for some cases, but do not compromise the responsiveness to our clients. Call us for free phone consultation to see if your case qualifies for a flat fee agreement.
Security deposits usually start at a couple of thousand dollars. Security deposits are exactly what they sound like. You put money into the attorney's trust account, then they bill you periodically. If at the end of your case the security deposit has not been used, it will be returned to you.
Many people forget to ask for an estimate of the whole case. Litigation can be unpredictable, but a firm should have an idea of the strategy of the case early on. You should also know the hourly rate for everyone who is going to work on your case. But, the most important question is how many hours. You should get an idea of what tasks are going to be done and how much time you will be billed. Then multiply your attorney's hourly rate with the time estimate. Can you really afford a $400 to $600 an hour attorney?
At the Song Family Law firm we customize your family law case plan. Most importantly, our hourly rates are affordable. We keep them reasonable so that we can have flexibility with the cases we take. And, when possible we charge a flat fee. For cases not applicable to a flat fee arrangement we offer a very reasonable retainer agreement. A divorce shouldn't bankrupt you because of attorney's fees, call the Song Family Law firm today for a free phone consultation.
Here are some questions you should ask before hiring an Orange County divorce and family law attorney.
Song Family Law - Mission Viejo
27201 Puerta Real, Suite 300
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Song Family Law - Orange
500 N. State College, Suite 1100
Orange, CA 92868