We are often asked how to qualify for a flat fee divorce in Georgia. With a typical contested divorce resulting in a large bill from your attorney for the countless hours he devoted to your case, a lower-cost flat fee divorce can save you lots of money.
Why is a typical divorce charged an hourly fee?
A vast majority of divorce actions are handled on an hourly fee basis by a family law attorney. As the client, you are expected to pay an initial retainer at the beginning of the case. A retainer is a particular amount of money that you pay to the lawyer, who in turn places the funds in a trust account.
The lawyer then begins work on your case, and deducts money from the account as legal services are rendered. When the retainer is exhausted, you are asked to replenish the retainer (by making another large payment) so that the lawyer may continue advancing your case. You may be required to replenish your account numerous times before your case is ultimately resolved, and of course, run the risk of your attorney withdrawing as your counsel if you fail to stay current on your account.
A much smaller number of cases can be handled on a flat fee basis.
What is a flat fee divorce?
A flat fee divorce is where the client pays a one-time fee for the lawyer to handle his or her case from beginning to end.
What are the advantages of a flat fee divorce?
The benefit to having your divorce handled on a flat fee basis is that you can keep your costs down and within a particular budget.
Are there any disadvantages to a low-cost, flat-fee divorce?
When hiring a lawyer for your divorce, it is imperative that you hire a high-quality family law attorney. You need to be careful to balance a lawyer’s expertise with the cost associated with his or her services. Although you may have seen advertisements purporting to handle your divorce action for $399 be careful what you are paying for. Not only are these advertisements merely marketing schemes to get you in the lawyer’s door, it is also important to note that the “cheap pay more in the end.”
Is your divorce a candidate for a flat fee?
There are two types of divorce actions: uncontested cases and contested cases. There are a number of issues in divorces, including child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, division of the marital assets/debts, and payment of attorneys fees. An uncontested case is one where these issues have been agreed upon, while a contested case is one where these issues remain unresolved. Most high-quality divorce lawyers will not take your case on a flat fee basis if it is contested because it is often times very difficult to forecast the amount of work it will take to resolve a matter at the frontend of litigation.
Please call us today to see whether your uncontested divorce can be handled on a flat fee basis. 678-710-9100.
By Benjamin Porter, Esq., The Porter Law Firm, L.L.C.