"Obtaining this information is a real pain, but sorting through it and understanding it is even more of a pain and an expensive one at that."
Fresno, CA (PRWEB) November 20, 2012
Family Law attorneys can be very necessary and expensive especially to handle a divorce, child custody, child visitation or guardianship or adoption dispute. There are ways to keep the costs down and productivity up. Erin Childs, founder of Childs Law Office and Certified Family Law Specialist with the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization has five tips that will help litigants save money on attorneys fees.
1. Know what the attorney’s hourly rate is, as well as that of the paralegal assigned to the case: With the average billing rate of $300.00 per hour in California, an attorney’s time spent on a case can really add up. One should know that the attorney’s staff, i.e. paralegal, legal secretary and clerk’s hourly rates are much lower. These are people who work for the attorney on cases but are billed out at a fraction of the attorney’s hourly rate.
2. Clients should do their own clerical work: During a divorce, or family law action, the attorney will ask the client to bring in a large stack of financial documents like bank and credit card statements, titles to cars and property, wills/trusts, a list of payments made during a separation, retirement statements, etc. "Obtaining this information is a real pain, but sorting through it and understanding it is even more of a pain and an expensive one at that. So, in lieu of the attorney or her staff sifting through a stack of the client’s confusing, disorganized documents, which costs them money every minute they have to do this, the client should do it himself," says Erin.
3. Save all questions up and then send them all to the paralegal assigned to the client’s case and the attorney: Clients will have many questions for their attorney – that is inevitable. However, calling each time something comes to mind is very expensive. In lieu of multiple phone calls, clients are advised to save up questions until they have a few and email them all at once to the paralegal assigned to the case with a copy (“cc”) to the attorney.
4. Don’t use the attorney’s shoulder to cry on: If someone has retained a family law attorney, things are not going well for them. If one is going through a divorce, tough custody battle or stressful adoption or guardianship, they are going to be under an enormous amount of stress. As much as it is tempting, clients are advised to avoid using the attorney’s shoulder to cry on. Attorneys must bill for their time to pay the bills, even time spent listening to clients vent.
5. Settle matters out of court: This is probably the most significant point of all. These days, with the budget cuts in California, courts are more impacted than ever. Courts are inefficient, disorganized and dealing with more people and fewer resources than any time in history. So, just to get to court and have a judge hear a family law case is expensive, slow and inefficient.
Attorney, Erin Childs, is the founder of Childs Law Office and is a Certified Family Law Specialist with the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Childs Law Office serves the Fresno, Madera, Kern and Kings Counties in California and specializes in child custody, child visitation, divorce, collaborative divorce, spousal support, property division, guardianships, juvenile dependency and adoptions. To learn more, go to http://www.childslawoffice.com.
*State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization