When someone finds out that they are going to go through a difficult child custody case. They often don’t know what steps to take to better their chances of getting custody of their child. It’s important to hire one of the many professional family lawyers that are available to help you with your case. He or she can guide you on the steps you need to take to prove that you are the best parent that you can be.
Unfortunately, the cost of hiring an attorney can be quite high. There are many people who are fearful to hire an attorney because they think that they can’t afford it. Fortunately, there are options when it comes to paying a family lawyer.
Minimize the Actual Cost of the Attorney
When you meet with an attorney for the first time, you won’t have to pay anything for the consultation. They will talk to you about your specific situation and let you know what they charge for their services. There are some family lawyers who are willing to minimize the cost of their services by providing you with a list of things that you can do yourself.
This includes gathering evidence that they can use in court and limiting phone calls and meetings as much as possible. Every minute that you spend on the phone with the family lawyer will cost you money.
Creating a list of what you want to discuss with the attorney ensures that you don’t get off track during the conversation. This will decrease the amount of time you are on the phone and thus decrease the charges you have to pay.
You may be able to negotiate with the attorney about what the fees are. While most family lawyers have a flat rate for their services, they may be able to work with you depending on the severity of your case. There are many family lawyers who are willing to work with their clients if they feel that children are put at risk or if the case is high profile and could boost their overall reputation in the community.
Be sure to let the family lawyer know every detail of your case. They can decide if they want to reduce some of the rates that they charge.
Pay the Retainer Fee
In order to hire an attorney, you need to put down a retainer. The retainer is a small portion of the total amount that is paid to them in the end. The retainer is important because it ensures that your ex cannot hire the attorney you've chosen to represent them in court.
Before you sign an agreement to hire the family lawyer, they will tell you what the retainer is. Many family lawyers require the retainer to be paid in full before they will do any work on the case. Be sure to talk to your attorney about how much of the retainer needs to be paid for them to handle your case.
You May Not Have to Pay for the Services at All
If you have minimal money readily available to you, there is a chance that you could qualify to hire the attorney for their pro bono services. Most family lawyers try to do pro bono work on a regular basis.
This means that you don’t have to pay for their services or only have to pay for a portion of their services.
There are certain stipulations that you have to meet in order to qualify for pro bono services though. You may have to prove how much money you make each year or your expenses. The attorney needs to be able to know that you actually cannot afford to pay for their services.
Regular Payments Need to be Paid
While you don’t have to pay for all of the services the attorney does for you at one time, you do have to make regular payments. If you fail to make the payments on time, you can be in breach of contract and the attorney could drop you as a client. Being able to find a new attorney to take on your case will be more difficult if you get a reputation that you don’t pay your attorney fees.
If something happens and you cannot make a payment, you need to talk to the attorney. They may be willing to work with you to lower the payments or take a portion of the payments until you can get on your feet. Avoiding them is not the right answer though.
You’ll be Billed for the Fees at the End of the Trial
At the end of your trial, you’ll be billed for the rest of the fees that are due. The fees will be detailed so that you know what you are being charged. Even though you will owe a large amount of money, more than likely you will still be able to pay for it over time.
If you fail to make the payment, the lawyer can submit the bill to a debt collection company, and they can come after you for the money. Again, it’s important to be upfront and honest if you fall into hard times financially and cannot make the payments.
Most family lawyers would rather get a portion of the money that they are owed rather than no money at all from their clients. If you don’t pay the bill, the likelihood of you hiring them again in the future will be very minimal.
Lawyers are often reasonable people. They don’t want to take every dime that you make, but they also have to make a living too. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open at all times.
If you start to feel stress because of the money that you owe the attorney, talk to them about it. You need to focus on your custody case and being able to not worry about the money can give you the peace of mind that you can focus on the important things in life.