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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 12-12-2016, 08:49 AM
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Default Legal fees - how to survive

Hi all,

just wondered how everyone is coping with high cost of legal fees in family law? Or are most people self-represented.

My experience: had custody battle + dispute about child support, hired a lawyer for 350 per hour, in first year /i had fees of 33,000.00$, this has eaten up all my savings and filled in my credit lines. I was lucky lawyer wanted to help sincerely and I was his last client before retirement, so he worked for free for 1.5 years after that to lead me to settlement on consent. I paid out those debts of mine now, and only a year after, the other party wants to change final agreement. I attended case conference and prepared for interim motion. Already paid 9,000.00. Have debt of 6 K. I have a lawyer who costs 250 per hour and I try to do many things on my own, but still reviewing my drafts, finalizing them etc, takes her 2-3 hours here and there and emails and other little things wind up to roughly 3,000.00 per month. This is totally beyond what I can put off for legal fees. I don't know how to make it more cost-effective. Look for another lawyer, am afraid will have the same story.

In addition, I deal with this staff now but myself need to bring mobility issue to court, I can afford only 2 K per month in on order not to incur into more debt.

How other people cope with it all? I don't even have a house to sell it or any other assets. Have salary of 49 k per year.
Being self-represented in my situation is not a good idea.

Do people here meet decent lawyers who try to help to save client's money. the way that drafts are written together and you know how much your lawyer spend on each affidavit instead of getting surprising bills in the end, and other possible ways to avoid unreasonable bills, etc.

I am looking for a new lawyer and wonder what to know if I ask her/him on how the will be billing me.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:48 AM
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I had to look up your previous posts because I was wondering how someone with your salary was able to retain a lawyer. Then I refreshed my memory (you are engaged to the tenured-professor and want to move with him to the US).

I suspect that when you initially retain a lawyer it doesn't take long for the lawyer to figure out your family financial situation (university professor fiance). $$$ca-ching$$$. Lawyers are no different than any other business person - they want to make sure they get paid. When you look to hire a lawyer you have to be very specific on how much you are willing to spend (no more than 1,000.00 or 2,000.00?/month or less or whatever you can afford). Put it in writing and have lawyer acknowledge this.

Or

Borrow money from your fiance.

Either way you should insist on detailed monthly invoice/statements.

Unless you lay things out specifically for your lawyer they will likely think that your salary is for lawyers, pedicures, social spending and that you are fully supported by your fiance.

I could be incorrect but it doesn't hurt to have a frank discussion with your lawyer about this. If your current lawyer has never asked you fill out and complete a budget then you have your answer.
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatyana K View Post
just wondered how everyone is coping with high cost of legal fees in family law? Or are most people self-represented.
Most people are reasonable, settle their matters out of court and don't try to move their children to another country let alone another city. For those who try to do this nonsense they end up paying significant legal fees.

Quote:
I am looking for a new lawyer and wonder what to know if I ask her/him on how the will be billing me.
Good luck with this. Your matter is absurdly complex. Mobility matters are the most expensive legal actions to take. Prepare to send upwards of 150,000 in legal fees for a lawyer who actually knows their stuff in this very obscure area of family law.

A good lawyer who does mobility matters is about $800 an hour in southern Ontario. If you are paying $350 you have a crappy lawyer... Sorry to say this but, it is a reality.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:00 AM
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^probably a heck of a lot less complicated, and less expensive, for the fiance to apply and work in Ontario where there are many universities and opportunities for tenure-track.
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Old 12-14-2016, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tayken View Post
Most people are reasonable, settle their matters out of court and don't try to move their children to another country let alone another city. For those who try to do this nonsense they end up paying significant legal fees.



Good luck with this. Your matter is absurdly complex. Mobility matters are the most expensive legal actions to take. Prepare to send upwards of 150,000 in legal fees for a lawyer who actually knows their stuff in this very obscure area of family law.

A good lawyer who does mobility matters is about $800 an hour in southern Ontario. If you are paying $350 you have a crappy lawyer... Sorry to say this but, it is a reality.

Good Luck!
Tayken
Well said. You can't be surprised to be paying huge legal fees when you're trying to make a move that results in instability for a child and the loss of parental rights for the ex-spouse.

You have to decide what your priorities are. And decisions have consequences.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:44 PM
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just leave the kid, you can make new ones and you won't be expected to pay any significant child support.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tayken View Post
A good lawyer who does mobility matters is about $800 an hour in southern Ontario. If you are paying $350 you have a crappy lawyer... Sorry to say this but, it is a reality.

Good Luck!
Tayken
Depends where you live. Where I live you can get a $250 hour lawyer that will run laps around a $300 hour lawyer. It's not always about the lawyer and their experience I find it comes down to the facts . There are good lawyers that don't charge much and win and there are very experienced lawyers that charge a lot and lose.

Legal costs will bury you. I don't support your position in moving with your kid to the states. If my former spouse ever tried to do that she would be left with a mortgage worth of legal fees.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:56 AM
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I don't think my application will be so unreasonable. I have sole custody of the child and I have a clause that says that child can't move out of current municipality unless father agrees (such agreement should not be unreasonably withheld) or court permits.


As I said, my story is such that I only dated his father, never lived with him, after I got pregnant he walked away. Appeared when child was 2 y.o. did not pay any child support and I never asked up to 2 y.o. Made application to court to have shared custody, 50/50 time and wanted to pay 300 $ child support. In the end of 2.5 years battle, on the brink of trial we signed final agreement on consent (I did not go for trial for costs because my lawyer helped me for free for last 1.5 years). So, even though I offered him some time and my sole custody at the very beginning what settlement judges also predicted, he took me through hell. Also, we discovered he had hidden incomes on British Virgin Islands and had to pay hundred thousands of dollars to CRA to whiten himself up. Anyhow, he signed imputed income to pay child support from which was times higher than 300 $.

If I became submissive at the beginning of the court process, I woul not have a child now, not even 30 %. People with money here can do many things in court.

About mobility: I am moving for good reasons, to get married, it will improve stability in life, emotional state and economically will considerably improve out situation. Instead of having 49 K income, our family will have 150-190 K income in several years from now. My fiance's parents live there to help us with raising this child and hopefully one more in future.

School in that city are top in US and much better than the one my child goes to here. university is top 10 in US and child will have discounts to study there due to a number of reasons.
Father has 30 % times with child which I will be able to return back, frequency will be lost, but amount will stay.
We move 4 hour drive away.

Health: my fiancee has good insurance at University and he will be paying permanently for my child and mine health insurance. We are not asking father to contribute as in US it is a very different system,

My child indeed is attached to my parents as we all live together but we will be buying a big house in new place with extra space for them. They are retired and plan to do extended stays there for months. US allows 6 month visits.

School and friends. It is not first time my child changes environment, he is very social and easily adapts, he can make friends there easily. This is something I don't worry about it all. Same with extracurricular. He has been in new places and enjoyed it.

My child can have sister or brother in future from this marriage and life in stable family unit. This is beneficial.

I have not intention to destroy connection with father but I truly think this is in child's best interests knowing nuances of my situation.

Here we are awaited with pretty miserable future of single mom living in crappy apartment, barely oping with expenses of live and being actively sued each second year by rich dad. My parents are aging and not in good health. Support from them is going down, I soon will have to support them and help out. This is reality of life.

For court to leave the child with father who he has never lived with and who was not in child's live is a crazy idea. This won't be better than option one.


I am willing to facilitate different access arrangement but to make sure it is long extended periods and also on weekends he can come at my expense, live in hotels and spend time with child and I can drive him here once a month.
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Old 12-15-2016, 09:56 AM
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Your marriage isn't a good reason to move the child. Your other reasons don't hold water either. Hack even I can tell that you want dad out of the child's life. You will do the driving for a bit then it will be "I have a new baby so cannot do the driving". You will pay for him to go to the states? That won't last either. Then it will be new bf doesn't want to foot the expenses anymore.
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Old 12-15-2016, 10:08 AM
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I think this is a sceptical attitude. I always stick to current agreement, if agreement will include less child support ( to use this money for visits) and driving, even if I am pregnant, my husband can drive. I am ready to commit to what I promise to do.Saying that there are no any obvious benefits to child in this is also a blind statement. Life is long, losing 3 hours with father on Wednesday and giving them back through holidays, but securing economical future and giving stability to child, and good education is not a little thing. Life is long.
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