Fees – Family Law Work
I find that most people who are working their way through a divorce or separation are very concerned about the cost. This is understandable as legal costs can mount quickly.
My standard rate is that of $175.00 per hour plus GST, PST and disbursements, though I will negotiate a lower hourly rate depending on the client’s circumstances. I also accept legal aid referrals. My hourly rate is lower than many lawyers of similar or earlier year of call because I keep my overhead costs low by utilizing a business centre and do much of my communication with you, the client, via phone and e-mail. I also do not have a full time family law assistant. This can mean that there will be a delay in responding to you. If you need a lot of help and you require that help right away, I am likely not the best match for you as a lawyer as my structure does not allow me to respond in that way. However, if you are comfortable with this kind of arrangement, then you may find that this keeps your costs lower than in other instances.
My preference is to encourage my clients to resolve his or her family issues in the most amicable manner as possible. In my experience, this means that the legal costs will be far lower in the long run and the client will be able to disengage from me, the lawyer, and work more easily with the other party/parent. I also practice as a collaborative family law lawyer and am a member of the Collaborative Family Law Group (Victoria).
I will engage the courts if necessary and appropriate to resolve some or all of a client’s issues. For active litigation files, I confine my practice to the Provincial Court; however, will work with a client to obtain a desk divorce in the BC Supreme Court and/or will take a client through the Judicial Case Conference process, though after that will assist the client to find a new lawyer.
The cost of my service is something that I am very committed to discussing with my clients up front with planning ways and means to minimize costs while maximizing the actual results. Depending on the circumstances, I am happy to “un-bundle” my services which is a fancy way of saying that I am willing to work with clients to offer assistance to the degree that the client and I agree upon. For instance, you may only wish me to review your court documents but you wish to otherwise pursue the court action independent of counsel. Or, perhaps you simply wish me to draft a separation agreement but otherwise let you be the negotiator. This may be just fine and is something that I am more than willing to discuss. Alternately, you may require the full range of my help.
Whichever way you and I agree is the best course of action, I will first ask you to sign a retainer agreement which is tailored to reflect what level of responsibility you have asked me to undertake on your behalf. I will also ask for a retainer which is essentially a deposit. This money will be deposited into my trust fund and will only be drawn on by myself when I bill you. Once you and I have had a chance to talk and we’ve agreed to work together, I will tell you what I require as a retainer. Once I have this money in hand and you have signed the retainer agreement, I will open a file and commence work.
I can not take on a client on a ‘contingency’ basis. If the situation warrants, however, I can give you a fixed fee quote, such as a desk divorce (uncontested; $1200 all in) or an amicable family law agreement ($1500-$2000) and can give you better quotes as your matter progresses.
I do accept legal aid work but mainly in the field of Child Protection (acting as Parents’ Counsel).