With the exception of Initial Consultations and Simple Divorces (see Block Fees), all of our files are charged on a “retainer” basis. Your retainer will depend on the nature and complexity of your matter.
Many clients ask, “how long will this take?” and “how much will this cost me?” The truth is, it is very difficult for any family law lawyer to answer these questions with accuracy, and you should be wary of anyone telling you otherwise.
No two families are the same.
The cost and duration of a family law matter depends on a series of factors, including:
• the process that is chosen
• the willingness of both parties to move forward and work toward settlement
• the legal issues that need to be resolved; and
• whether both parties are assisted by a lawyer
Although there are many factors that make it difficult to tell you exactly how much your matter will cost, we understand that legal fees are often an unexpected and unwelcome expense, and one that many people must plan for. Therefore, we strive to provide you with a realistic sense of the approximate costs, once we have had a chance to meet with you and understand your situation and the legal issues at play.
We do not charge clients based on a minimum fee per task; instead, our fees are based solely on the time we spend working on your file. This means that in many cases, you have a direct impact on how your retainer is used. We encourage all clients to review Tips for Keeping Your Legal Fees Down for more information on things you can do to keep your legal fees to a minimum.
Simple (Uncontested) Divorces
Our fee: $2000 (HST Included)
Includes all steps required to obtain your Divorce Certificate, including preparation and filing of your divorce application, meeting with you to sign documentation, and providing you with your final divorce order and certificate. Please note that this fee only applies if the only issue to be addressed is Divorce. If you believe there are other issues arising from your separation, such as property division, custody, or support, we encourage you to contact us for an Initial Consultation to discuss your situation in more detail.
Our fee: $150 (HST Included)
Includes a 30-60 minutes meeting with one of our lawyers. During our consultations, we focus on understanding your concerns, questions, and goals, and providing you with the information you need to take your next steps in moving forward.
1. BE HONEST. You do not want your matter to drag on because you were not honest or forthcoming. The more information you provide your lawyer from the beginning, the more efficiently he or she can represent you.
2. COLLECT YOUR DATA AND KEEP DOCUMENTS ORGANIZED. The more organized and detailed you are with your documents and evidence, the less requests you will receive from your lawyer for the information, and the less time your lawyer or law clerk will have to spend trying to figure out what you have provided. It is also best when completing financial statements to provide all of your supporting documentation to your lawyer at the same time, if feasible.
3. RESPOND TO YOUR LAWYER'S REQUESTS IN A TIMELY MANNER. Lawyers may have deadlines placed on them by the Court or opposing counsel. Legal fees increase when your lawyer is required to get extensions, respond to last minute requests, or provide multiple responses to ongoing requests for the same item.
4. DO NOT PLAY PHONE TAG. Lawyers bill when they have to listen to a voicemail or telephone message you have left or when they have to leave you a voicemail. A better way is to set up a telephone conference call with your lawyer or a meeting.
5. BE PREPARED FOR MEETINGS. In person meetings with your lawyer can be expensive. If you do initiate an in person meeting with your lawyer, be prepared. Have an idea of what you want to discuss or what you want to share. Make note of questions you would like to ask. This will allow you to make the most efficient use of your time, and keep your costs down.
6. KNOW WHEN TO EMAIL AND WHEN TO CALL. Emails with your law clerk or lawyer are sometimes a more efficient way to communicate. Email tends to be quicker than a telephone conversation. This however will not be the case if you send a multitude of emails throughout the day. If matters are not urgent, we strongly urge our clients to draft one email with all your points for the day and send it when you feel it is complete. Also, keep your questions short and clear. Do not try to get answers to every imaginable scenario that might arise via email. If you feel your questions are more complex or could result in a variety of responses, it is likely best to speak with your lawyer in person or by phone.
7. SPEAK WITH THE LAW CLERK. While a law clerk cannot provide you with legal advice, they can answer many procedural questions and it may be more cost effective to speak with the law clerk first to see if they can help you. Remember, their billing rate is much lower.
• Parenting and custody of children
• Child support
• Spousal support
• Division of property
• Marriage contracts
• Cohabitation agreements
• Separation agreements
• Family Responsibility Office matters
• Enforcement of orders