Engaging an Attorney – Process and Costs

Engaging an Attorney – Process and Costs

Representation

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.  During the initial call to our office, we will clear you in our conflicts system and schedule 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. The attorney will also discuss the two types of representation that we offer:

Full Legal Representation 

Full legal representation includes:

  • Identifying issues raised by the dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or post-decree matter;
  • Identifying separate property, disposition of your marital estate and, if applicable, maintenance, child support, allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time issues;
  • Analyzing and explaining the law as it relates to those issues;
  • Identifying and analyzing the financial circumstances of your marriage;
  • Analyzing and explaining alternatives for compromise and settling disputed issues;
  • Negotiating disputed issues and fees;
  • Litigating disputed issues, if necessary.

Limited-Scope Representation (“unbundled legal services”)

In limited scope representation, we represent you only for an agreed-upon, specific purpose or purposes,  similar to a consulting arrangement.  In a limited-scope arrangement we perform only specific tasks or limited processes, such as answering questions, reviewing legal documents, or assisting with child or spousal support calculations.  You perform all other aspects of your case.  This form of representation can be very economical for our clients.

Your choice of representation is confirmed when you sign an Engagement Agreement Letter outlining the scope of representation.

Costs

For both types of representation, 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:

  • Be thoughtful regarding how you use our services. 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;
  • Be prompt and cooperative with us when we seek your assistance; and, perhaps most importantly,
  • 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 to represent you.  The primary reason for that is that we cannot predict how cooperative or reasonable your spouse or ex-spouse, or their counsel, 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 arising in your case.

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.