The 13 Secrets for Reducing Legal Fees During Divorce
You want and deserve excellent legal representation, but you don’t want to be charged an “arm and a leg” for it. Your expectations are reasonable.
The Wilmette, Illinois divorce and family law attorney of Sylvester Law Firm understands the anxiety associated with the costs of your Chicago divorce.
Through his years of experience as a lawyer, Atty. Sylvester has identified concrete ways of reducing legal fees during divorce:
There are 13 Secrets for Reducing Legal Fees During Divorce:
1. Negotiate out-of-court with your spouse through your divorce lawyer. Don’t feel like you have to fight over every little issue. For example, don't spend $500 in attorney fees to fight over a $100 painting.
2. Enter into a written engagement and fee agreement with your Chicago divorce attorney. The agreement should identify the divorce lawyer’s hourly rate and the increments of time that are billed (usually billed in 10, 15 or 20 minute increments). (Click here to review a sample Divorce Lawyer Engagement and Fee Agreement.) By having a written fee agreement covering the attorney's legal fee, you will likely remove the possibility of a dispute.
3. Hire a Chicago divorce attorney who is not afraid to publish his/her fees and costs on their web-site. Why should you have to take the time to call attorneys to find out what they charge per hour?
4. Be thorough in providing your Chicago divorce lawyer with information at the start of the representation. The more thorough you are at the start of the representation, the less time your Chicago divorce attorney will have to spend tracking down important information. (Click here for our Fact-Gathering Questionnaire for Divorce Proceedings.)
5. Hold-off on calling or e-mailing your Chicago divorce lawyer with a question until you have more than one or two questions. As you think of questions, write them down and later present them to your divorce attorney. This creates efficiency, which saves you money.
6. Consider entering into mediation at the very start of your Chicago divorce and child custody case. By resolving disputes out of court, you save money.
7. Consider using the Collaborative Divorce process for your Chicago divorce case.
8. Be timely in paying your Chicago divorce lawyer's legal bills. The time your Chicago divorce attorney spends trying to get paid pursuant to the Representation Agreement is time billed to the client.
9. Hire a skilled north suburban Chicago divorce lawyer who is a sole practitioner, and who does not have to support a large office staff and expensive "overhead."
10. Hire an Illinois divorce attorney in north suburban Chicago who does not have to pay high "downtown" Chicago office rents.
11. Hire a suburban Chicago divorce lawyer who is closer to your home or office, and who can offer FREE parking.
12. Hire a Chicago divorce and family law attorney who is willing to meet you after your working hours and/or on weekends so that you don’t have to take time off of work.
13. Be very clear about your goals and expectations at the start of your case, and share them with your Chicago divorce lawyer. Clear goals create focus and efficiency, which saves you money.
While your effort to keep legal costs to a minimum is reasonable, be careful in how far you take your efforts. For instance, calling around to several Chicago divorce lawyers to find out how much each charges by the hour, and then hiring the Chicago divorce lawyer who has the lowest hourly rate, is VERY UNWISE...............
That’s because a Chicago divorce lawyer who charges the lowest hourly rate may be the most inefficient and/or inexperienced, which may lead to more hours billed - resulting in higher legal fees.
Also, don't forget that you usually "get what you pay for" when fees are very low compared to the norm.
The Wilmette divorce and family law attorney of Sylvester Law Firm charges $325 per hour for Chicago divorce and Chicago child custody legal services.
Atty. Patrick Sylvester's time is billed in 10 minute increments. You will be provided with a detailed statement that indicates the time each task took on your Chicago divorce and/or Chicago child custody case.
Sylvester Law Firm requires a retainer fee in every case. The amount of the required retainer depends on the circumstances of your divorce and/or child custody case. The usual retainer fee is $3,000.
Services performed on your behalf are trypically billed monthly. Unless agreed otherwise, the retainer fee is applied to your final bill. Any unused portion of the retainer fee is returned to you without unnecessary delay after your case is finished.
We invite you to call us at (847) 251 – 2999 to get answers to your important questions related to Chicago divorce legal fees and costs. Your calls and e-mails are always welcome.
Whether or not you hire Sylvester Law Firm to handle your Chicago divorce case, we encourage you to implement each of the foregoing 13 Secrets for Reducing Legal Fees During Divorce.