King @ Law’s Legal Fees

The Status Quo

An image of cash

Most divorce attorneys charge about $300 per-hour, plus expenses. The client makes an up-front cash deposit of about $5k. Then, the firm bills their hours and expenses against the deposit, until it runs out. King @ Law doesn’t do this. Here’s why:

  • In anonymous surveys, the majority of lawyers admit to billing for fake hours.
  • The client is often surprised by the number of hours and amount of expenses, resulting in billing disputes.
  • This approach is more expensive, because of the time, software, and other resources spent tracking every page printed and every six minutes spent, for billing purposes.
  • Hourly rates amount to a blank check with no limit to what the firm can bill.
  • Often, the client couldn’t really afford a lawyer, so the firm burns through the client’s budget quickly, then abandons the case once the client is out of money.

King @ Law’s Approach

King @ Law uses an online calculator that determines a flat fee based on the claims, services, or complications involved. The shortcoming of a simple calculator is that it may not cover every possible circumstance. That’s where this page comes in with more detailed clarifications and explanations to cover as many situations as possible.

The Slider

The slider represents the fee for each stage of a dispute: Early Litigation, Negotiations, and Hearings. These stages may be completed in any order and each checkbox may apply only to certain stages. For example, if your spouse starts a lawsuit that covers three checkboxes, you’ll be billed for “Early Litigation” for three checkboxes. If your spouse then voluntarily dismisses two of their issues prior to mediation, you’ll only be billed one checkbox for the negotiation phase for the remaining issue.

You will always be billed for the entire stage, whether or not every step in the stage is completed. The Early litigation phase is triggered once King @ Law drafts a Complaint. Negotiations is triggered once King @ Law starts preparing documents and evidence (such as an ED statement) for a mediation, cooperative divorce, or other format of negotiation. Hearings bills are triggered when Mr. King appears before a judge, even if the case is resolved through negotiations on the court date instead of an evidentiary hearing.

It’s also worth noting what doesn’t count. Informal negotiations like a phone call, email, or status conference are generally considered part of whatever was purchased and do not trigger the “Negotiations” billing. Status conferences and other meetings before a court clerk, admin, or assistant (not a judge) do not trigger billing for “Hearings.”

The Checkboxes

Below the slider is a series of checkboxes that determine the number of claims involved and other complications. You should check each box that is relevant for either spouse. For example, if your spouse is asserting an alimony claim, the box should be checked, even if you are not making one yourself. A court may order your spouse to pay all or part of your legal fees associated with some of the claims.

Documents

At the bottom of the legal fees calculator is pricing for documents, such as prenups, separation agreements, and deeds. These services do not include any negotiation, litigation, or dispute resolution services. These services are merely for preparing the document and working on its language and/or legal terms. The flat-fee is based on a presumption that the substantive terms are already agreed upon. Divorce decrees are always a separate fee, even if done as part of a divorce lawsuit.

Expenses

Routine legal expenses, such as court fees, printing costs, service of process expenses, postal fees, motion fees, subpoena fees, filing fees with the Register of Deeds, etc. are all included in the flat fee. However, you are responsible for fees from any professional services, such as appraisers, accountants, expert witnesses, mediators, or arbitrators. Additionally, you are responsible for any attorney fees or sanctions awarded against you, or other costs awarded by the court.

Financing Options

Generally, your legal fees are due up-front after the contract is signed, but before any work is completed. If a new “stage” is reached in Disputes, the bill becomes due when the stage is triggered. However, if King @ Law agrees to a financing or payment plan option in writing (such as by email), you may have a different payment schedule.

If a bill is due after the marital home is sold, you must pay within 14 days of receiving funds related to the marital home, or within 14 days of a court order determining you will not be getting paid as a result of your alleged equity in the home. If a bill is due after an issue is resolved, it is due within 30 days of a court order or separation agreement resolving the issue.

Other

For any services provided that the calculator is not setup to handle, you will be billed at $200 per-hour, or any amount agreed to in writing. Often, King @ Law will charge for one or two issues under the Disputes section for claims that the calculator does not have checkboxes for.

Some services may require your spouse’s cooperation. There are not refundable if your spouse chooses not to cooperate. However, Mr. King will invite your spouse to cooperate for free to anyone that has purchased a consultation, signed our contract, and completed the online form to get started.

You will always be billed based on the actual facts of your divorce, not whatever you anticipated, wanted, etc. However, either of us can discontinue services at any time, except as limited by law, and you will only be billed based on the facts existing at the time the attorney-client relationship ended.