Can I Negotiate Attorney Fees?


There's no doubt about it. If you want to file for divorce in Pasadena, you're going to end up spending some money. But if cost is truly a concern, you may be surprised to learn that it's possible to negotiate attorney fees to some degree.

There are three different ways in which attorneys bill for their services: contingency fees, a flat fee, and an hourly rate. When talking about a divorce case, attorneys will generally work on either a flat fee or an hourly rate. The hourly rate is the most common fee arrangement.

If you choose an attorney who is billing based on an hourly fee, try to handle as much of the administrative stuff as possible on your own. If you handle phone calls, research, photocopies, and other simple tasks instead of relying on your attorney's office to take care of this preliminary work, you'll reduce the number of billable hours devoted to your case and thus keep the overall cost of your divorce in check.

A flat fee arrangement is a good choice if your divorce is expected to be very simple. If you and your spouse have minimal assets or debt and no children together, your divorce settlement shouldn't require extensive legal negotiation. A flat fee makes it easier for you to budget for your legal costs.

How often you will be billed for services performed by your attorney is another possible point of negotiation, especially if you're going to need to borrow the money to handle your legal fees. Some attorneys do have payment plans, but you will likely be charged interest on outstanding balances.

Regardless of how your attorney fee arrangement is decided, make sure you get a written statement outlining the agreement in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road.

While it's only natural to be concerned about the cost of your Pasadena divorce, do not allow yourself to select a lawyer based on price alone. The work your Pasadena family law lawyer does will affect your life for many years to come. You want to have legal representation with the skills needed to successfully advocate on your behalf.