Legal expenses in a domestic case can add up quickly, especially if there are complex legal issues, or hostility and bitterness between the parties that impedes settlement negotiations. In Asheville and the Western North Carolina area, it is customary for family law attorneys to charge an hourly rate for cases that involve child custody, child support, spousal support, and equitable distribution of marital property. The following are tips that may help minimize your legal expenses and allow for better attorney-client relations:
1. Choose a lawyer with expertise in the area of family law. Attorneys who specialize in family law may charge a higher hourly rate. However, they are likely to be a better value than attorneys who have a general practice or are less experienced since those attorneys may have to spend more time researching legal issues and procedures.
2. Provide your attorney with information and documentation that he/she requests in a timely manner. Requests for information and documentation will likely be ongoing throughout your domestic case. If your attorney is charging an hourly rate and has to repeatedly request information and documentation from you, your delay in responding will result in more billable hours and attorney’s fees.
3. Whenever possible, personally obtain copies of records and documents that your attorney needs. For example, if you have a joint account with your spouse or opposing party, but do not have copies of the joint account statements that your attorney needs, contact the financial institution directly and request the statements rather than relying on your attorney to issue a subpoena or request the documents from the opposing party.
4. Unless you have a question or matter of urgency, make a list of questions or concerns that you have and ask them during one phone call, meeting, email, or other communication with your attorney.
5. Take notes during meetings with your attorney and retain copies of correspondence, emails, and legal documents that you receive from your attorney. By using these materials to refresh your memory, you may not need to contact your attorney as frequently.
6. Remember that your attorney is not your therapist. It is important for your attorney to be aware of any emotional or mental health issues that you are experiencing, particularly to the extent that they may impact your case, but your attorney is there to try to help resolve your legal issues. A trained therapist is likely to be less expensive and better equipped to deal with your emotional issues than your attorney.
At Gum, Hillier, and McCroskey, P.A., our family law attorneys offer competitive hourly rates and flexible fee arrangements. It is our goal to provide the best legal services available while handling your case in a professional and efficient manner. For more information on how we may be of assistance to you, please fill out the online contact form or call our office at 828-258-3368.
This article is for information purposes only and is not to be considered or substituted as legal advice. The information in this article is based on North Carolina state laws in effect at the time of posting.