Family Lawyer Fees

You wouldn’t pay a painter more to take longer to complete a task…

 We do quality work and offer flexibility with our fees including:
  • Hourly rate
  • Monthly fee
  • Fixed fee for stage
  • Fixed fee overall

We’ll discuss your family law fees with you, at any stage, at no charge.

We offer fixed fees for initial appointments.  Most initial appointments take between 1 and 1.5 hours and the fee includes a detailed advice letter afterwards.  In most cases we can cover all of the immediate issues, answer all of your questions, and have a good discussion about the best process moving forward.  Other firms may offer free or discounted initial appointments, but we consider that it’s critical to get thorough advice and make the right decision about process early on rather than rush you through an intake appointment. We see our initial appointment package as the best investment a client can make at the outset of their matter.

Then please raise it with us!  We are always willing to have an open conversation about your fees and any discussions we have about fees; whether in person, over the phone or in writing are at no charge to you.

We do our best to tailor how we charge to the way that works best for you.  Sometimes this is easy for us because we know the parameters of what you need us to do (for example, drafting a Will, or an agreement).  At other times it’s really hard because we don’t know how much work is involved (for example, commencing Court proceedings or helping with negotiations can be a open ended processes).

Some of the options that we routinely use and that have worked well in the past are hourly rates (based on time), charges for each item of work we do (based on, for example, length of document or length of consultation), fixed fee for stage of matter, fixed fee for the entire matter, or monthly/weekly rates.  You can discuss any of those ideas or any other ideas you have with us.  We don’t usually agree to defer our fees until the end of case but will consider that where there is no other option.

Overall we’ve researched this considerably and we don’t think we are. The important issue is to look at the difference between hourly rates and what the service will cost. Just because someone’s hourly rate is less doesn’t mean it will cost you less. The other factors which will affect the cost to you are the efficiency and experience of the practitioner, the methods used by the practitioner and the degree of animosity between the parties. Our hourly rates are competitive with most other leading firms.  Compared to industry benchmarking we know that we turn files over more quickly and get our clients better results in less time.  We only work as specialists in the areas where we have expertise, so you can be sure your lawyer doesn’t need to spend time (and charge you) for learning the law as it applies to your situation and taking steps that are not necessary on your behalf.

Yes.  You can seek an order from the Court or you can negotiate that as part of your settlement.  It’s very much a case by case thing as to whether you are likely to succeed or not and depends on a whole range of factors.  If we think there is a way that we could facilitate this for you we would certainly advise you about that.

You may be.  You should go to the Legal Aid website for the Legal Aid ACT Commission or for Victoria Legal Aid.  We generally don’t take Legal Aid grants but will do so for some existing clients or in special circumstances.  Please let us know if you’d like to discuss that possibility with us.

This is another difficult question to answer.  In some cases one party has to do a lot more work than the other.  We’ve been in cases where our client’s fees are much higher than the other party’s and vice versa.  In most cases the two parties have similar fees.

Quite a bit, and you should discuss this as it applies to your case with your lawyer.  Preparing really good notes and giving good, succinct instructions is important, responding to correspondence and phone calls from us in a timely manner and getting your own documents together rather than us having to do it for you are all some good starting points.  Although it can sometimes be a difficult conversation, where we think that our client is contributing to their own legal fees being unnecessarily high for any of the above reasons or any other reason we will (politely!) raise that with you to try to save you wasting money.

This is a really hard question to answer.  A straight forward settlement is usually less than $5,000 and a matter that runs all the way to a contested hearing before a Judge is usually more than $50,000.  This is why it’s critical that you get good and comprehensive advice early on so that you work out what the outcome of your case should be and the best way to achieve that outcome.  As well as the significant cost, you also save yourself the stress, uncertainty and delay of ongoing proceedings.

We don’t look at your Will in isolation, and before you contemplate entering into a Will, you would benefit from meeting with us to first understand what assets form part of your Estate, how you might want to direct your superannuation to maximise the benefits for your beneficiaries and what you can do to minimise a challenge to your estate.

After meeting with you for an initial appointment, we will be able to provide you with a fixed fee for your Estate Plan (which might include other necessary documents like an Enduring Power of Attorney, binding death benefit nomination or Statutory Declaration). For some clients with a nuclear family and simple asset structures, this means things are relatively straightforward. For other clients with more complex family dynamics or asset, fees may differ.