Family Attorneys - McGuire Gardner, PLLC - FAMILY LAW FEES AND BILLING
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What Will My Arizona Divorce or Family Law Case Cost

It is often difficult to predict what a divorce or family law case will cost, because these cases vary in complexity and difficulty from case to case. In general, a more amicable case in which our attorneys assist you in settling the matter and creating the proper legal paperwork to get your case completed will have a relatively low cost. Cases in which complex issues or ongoing disagreements between the parties require extensive negotiating and settlement efforts and/or trial are more expensive because of the additional time involved preparing for and participating in the settlement and trial of your case.

Do I Need To Pay an Attorney (Do I Need An Attorney For My Case)
Hourly Billing and Retainers or Advance Deposits
Flat Fee Billing For Uncontested Divorce Cases
Helpful Tips to Keep Attorneys Fees Down
What Should I Do If I Have A Billing Question

Do I Need To Pay an Attorney (Do I Need An Attorney For My Case)

It is often a difficult decision whether to hire an attorney or attempt to represent ones self in a divorce or family law case. Having handled many cases in which clients have initially tried to represent themselves without success, and cases in which clients have prepared their own legal documents only to return later to fight over the legal meaning of improperly phrased documents, you should at least consult with an Arizona attorney before proceeding the represent yourself.

In general, the more complex issues, the more important it becomes to have an attorney. If there are children involved, you certainly need an attorney to at a minimum ensure that child support is properly calculated and that the parenting plan protects your legal rights to your children and is in the best interest of your children. If either party is seeking spousal maintenance, you need an attorney to ensure that you receive the appropriate amount or that you are not required to pay too much to a former spouse. If you own real estate, a business, or significant personal property or financial assets, or if either party has a retirement account (401(k), IRA, etc.) or pension, you will need an attorney to ensure that these are properly divided.

There are many store selling self-help documents. However, these forms do not provide you with legal advice, and do not help you evaluate the fairness or the law regarding your specific case. Too often individuals who utilize self-help forms receive far less than what the law would have provided them. Worse are the cases in which the parties used self-help forms to try to save money and later are required to fight out in contentious litigation the meaning of improperly drafted language in these forms.

There are also paralegal services which offer to assist you in completing self-help forms. You should be aware that paralegals and document preparers are not allowed to provide legal advice, and are prevented by law from evaluating your case and advising you of your legal rights. If a paralegal or document preparer offers you legal advice, beware, as they are breaking the law by doing so and you cannot be certain that they are correctly advising you. If they do not provide you legal advice (as they should not) they are essentially charging you hundreds of dollars to complete self-help documents for you. The real value in hiring an attorney is the legal advice and information that only lawyers are legally allowed to provide to you.

Hourly Billing and Retainers or Advance Deposits:

While we offer flat fee cases for uncontested divorces, most other family law cases including contested divorces are billed on an hourly basis. Our attorneys hourly rates are adjusted periodically based upon their individual experience and the rates being charged by other attorneys throughout the state with similar levels of experience. We have set our rates to remain competitive with other attorneys, while also working to ensure that we offer you professional and aggressive representation throughout your case. As with most family law attorneys, our hourly billing cases require an initial advance on fees or a deposit, which can range from $2,000 - $10,000 or more depending upon the perceived initial complexity of your case (typical cases range from $3,000 - $5,000 retainers). In some cases with attorney approval you can reduce the initial retainer and instead schedule a series of weekly or monthly payments.

Throughout your case you will receive a monthly statement reflecting what amounts have been used for services and costs in your case. Your Arizona attorney will also have conversations with you regarding ways to keep costs down and likely costs of certain choices that you will be required to make in your case. If we complete your case for less than this amount, any remaining balance at the conclusion of your case will be refunded back to you. If your case is not promptly resolved, your case cost may exceed the initial deposit and you will need to work out a payment plan with our firm.

To learn what advance fee you will need in your specific case, and to talk about creative payment methods, please contact us for a free initial consultation by phone and/or schedule an in office appointment with an attorney.

Flat Fee Billing for Uncontested Divorces:

Because of the large demand, we have initiated an unusual program in Arizona wherein we offer a flat fee cost for uncontested divorces. Many of our clients have hired us to assist them in completing the initial pleadings to commence the case and also to complete the settlement documents with the appropriate legal wording to ensure they are not later haunted by common mistakes of unrepresented parties. However, the clients have already reached an agreement on all issues and are not seeking our assistance to negotiate or litigate their case.

In such cases, we will represent only one party. Because of ethical issues and the problem with conflicts of interest we are only able to represent one of the parties however, in our representation of one party we prepare all documents necessary to get your uncontested case concluded. Our flat fee includes an initial consultation with an attorney, preparation of all necessary documents, and one revision of the settlement documents (if necessary). If the case becomes contested or needs further negotiation or litigation, we will convert your case to an hourly case.

For an amicable and uncontested divorce without children we will charge a flat fee of $1,750.00. Because of the additional complexities involved with children (child custody and child support) we charge a flat fee of $2,250.00. We have found that this fee is significantly lower than other attorneys charge for uncontested divorce cases.

To learn more about our flat fees, please contact us for a free initial consultation by phone and/or schedule an in office appointment with an attorney.

Helpful tips to keep attorney's fees down:

The State Bar of Arizona offers the following suggestions on how to reduce legal costs when working with an attorney.

    Collect information before your initial meeting with your attorney. This includes names, addresses and telephone numbers of those involved.
    Be organized. Provide your attorney with copies of letters, documents and other important papers at the first meeting.
    Be prepared with written questions for your attorney to answer.
    Keep your attorney informed, but don't make unnecessary calls. It is likely you are being charged for your call at the attorney's hourly rate.
    Be to Court and appointments with your attorney on time.
    Ask if there are other ways you can reduce costs.
    Keep a file with copies of the documents sent by the Court or your attorney.

What Should I Do If I Have A Billing Question:

If you are being billed hourly, you will receive a monthly statement setting forth the costs incurred on your behalf and the services performed in furthering your case. If you have questions about how to read the statement, you should contact our office manager who can help you understand the statement. If you have questions about certain charges, you should bring this to your attorneys attention. Your attorney will then explain what that charge was for. While we review each bill before it is issued, occasionally there are errors on clients account statements. We will promptly correct any known errors.

For your free initial telephonic divorce or family law consultation, please contact the law offices of McGuire Gardner P.L.L.C. today, and speak with one of our divorce lawyers experienced in family law cases.

Our Divorce and Family Lawyer's Telephone Numbers:
East Valley (Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert) (480) 559-8101
Phoenix and throughout Maricopa County: (800) 899-2730
Flagstaff, Prescott, Verde Valley, and Northern Arizona: (928) 225 2597
Toll Free: (800) 899-2730

In addition to answering your questions about the law by phone, you may also contact us online or by email. We will promptly reply, scheduling your free initial consultation by telephone, provide driving directions or AZ maps to one of our offices right in your community, and assist you in scheduling a time for you to meet with any attorney to start your case.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.