September 23, 2016
Let’s say you are getting a divorce. In a traditional attorney client relationship this is what will likely play out: You file for divorce. You disagree with a few things but want to work out a settlement quickly. Your attorney files a complaint on your behalf but to have leverage later asks for things you don’t really want. One common thing I see is when parties are divorcing and having issues over visitation. It was already agreed upon that the wife would have primary custody of kids and the husband will have visitation; however, they can’t agree on visitation. Typically, the attorney will ask the court to give you primary custody, even if you just want visitation. It’s a tool for negotiation. At that point, what could have been pretty easily worked out has created a fight that leads to lots of papers going back and forth and a bunch of billable hours totaling $16,700. All to probably settle months later anyways because about 90% of all divorce cases ultimately settle in the end. So yeah, divorce will cost you.
With the average yearly family income in Arkansas hovering around $41,262, legal help is out of reach for many Arkansans. So what are your alternatives? There’s always Do-It-Yourself, which is the equivalent of cutting your own hair. I do not recommend this. To be blunt, no matter how much you Google or how many episodes of Law and Order you have watched, you don’t know what you are doing and it’s not as simple as you think to piece it all together. There are so many documents and details and individual county and court nuances that attorneys have to stay at the top of their game to keep up. If DIY for your legal matter was a good idea I would never have wasted 3 years and thousands of dollars on law school and wouldn’t be fielding so many questions from prospective clients daily.
That said, dropping a hefty retainer for legal services and wrapping your mind around paying up to $375 per hour for legal help is not necessary. You have a third option! Maintain control of your case and have an attorney help you work toward your personalized goals. Forget about the ancient billable hour model and pay a flat fee, knowing what you are paying up front. Pay only for what you need and not what you don’t. Unbundle your legal services like you do with your television provider. You just need TV and Internet, so you don’t add a landline phone. Who needs a landline phone, anyways?
We don’t work for free, but neither do you. We do work to bring you access and affordable legal help where there are no other options to fill that gap. We hear you and are here to help with your family law needs. Yes, divorce will cost you, but it shouldn’t bankrupt you!