Knowing that this is a main concern for most clients, we work hard to meet our client’s financial constraints by offering a range of services and fee options to best work with those constraints. For example, we offer flexible hourly rates depending on the level of conflict, complexity of issues, and financial resources being dealt with. We can also offer fixed fee services in some non-conflictual cases, such as an uncontested divorce, non-binding arbitration or drafting of a simple agreement.
You are legally separated as soon as one spouse communicates to the other that the relationship is terminated and thereafter acts in a manner consistent with the termination of the relationship. It is best to talk to a family law lawyer about your choice of process for making your separation decisions and the legal constraints that those decisions must be made within.
Choose a lawyer who you think will best work with you, your spouse and your spouse’s lawyer to assist you in making decisions, rather than one who attempts to make those decisions for you and your spouse or otherwise encourages you to have a third party make those decisions, including a judge, unless good reason is given for going that route. If a lawyer is suggesting court, be sure that you obtain from him or her an estimate of cost that they will agree to live within. Have them put that in writing. Where you receive an opinion on what you will get in court, have that opinion put in writing and inquire what they will do about their fees if they do not obtain the results suggested. Your lawyer is asking you to risk your money on their opinion. Are they willing to do the same?
Only if you want less. Anything other than court is voluntary and will only be concluded when you agree to the results. A Collaborative Lawyer, like any other lawyer is duty bound to provide you with quality legal advice. No one knows what you will get in court with any certainty. We have courts of appeal because the judges do not agree with each other or get legal entitlement wrong. If however you have a lawyer that gets you a deal that is way wrong from what any judge would allow, that lawyer may be negligent and you have a potential claim against them. This is true no matter what process you are in. The duty of the lawyer to provide you with the best legal advice they can, is the same no matter what process you are in. There is no inherent compromise to your rights, obligations or end results by choosing a collaborative process.