Engaging an Attorney – Process and Costs
When you engage a family law attorney to represent you in a legal proceeding, you need to choose one that you will be able to trust and work well with. After the initial call to the office, we will clear you in our conflicts system and get you on the attorney’s calendar at the earliest date available. During the initial consultation, the attorney can answer any questions you have and explain the law in Colorado. Once you sign our engagement letter, our representation will include:
- Identification of issues raised by the dissolution of marriage, legal separation or post-degree matter, including identification of separate property, disposition of your marital estate and, if applicable, maintenance, child support, allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time;
- Analysis and explanation of the law as it relates to those issues;
- Identification and analysis of the financial circumstances of your marriage;
- Analysis and explanation of alternatives for compromise and settlement of disputed issues;
- Negotiations to settle disputed issues and fees;
- Litigation of disputed issues, if necessary. Our fees for services are based on the time, labor and skill required to represent you properly and reflect our respective experience, reputation and ability. We will record our time spent on your behalf at our current hourly rates. We will staff your case as efficiently as possible, attempting to balance the skills and expertise required against the cost to you of providing such skills and expertise. There are several things you can do to keep fees as low as possible:
- Effective use of the staffing of your case. Legal assistants, paralegals or another of our attorneys can frequently answer questions or otherwise provide helpful information. Only attorneys are permitted to provide legal advice;
- Prompt and complete cooperation with us when we seek your assistance; and, perhaps most important
- Avoid the temptation to use your attorney and the legal process to express counterproductive negative emotions to or about your spouse or ex-spouse.
Unfortunately, we cannot estimate the total attorney fees and disbursements that will be required in our representation of you. The primary reason for that is that we cannot predict how cooperative or reasonable your spouse or ex-spouse, or counsel for them, will be. To the extent he or she is uncooperative, contentious and/or unreasonable, the time (and therefore the expense) required to work through the process will necessarily increase. All we can do is keep you advised, by monthly invoices, of the time, labor and costs required, and you must direct us as to how aggressively you wish to respond to the circumstances we are facing.
Settlements necessarily involve compromise, and contested hearings necessarily involve risks beyond our control. That said, the attorneys at Wells Family Law are committed to providing you with the best possible representation under all circumstances.