Frequently Asked Questions

1.How Much Does A Divorce Cost?

A senior managing attorney's customary fee is $275.00 per hour, with a required retainer paid in advance, regardless of whether the case is expected to be contested or uncontested. A routine uncontested divorce may cost as little as $1,000.00, or may cost more, depending upon the amount of time spent on a case.

2.What Is A Retainer?

A retainer is an advance deposit paid to the attorney, to be applied toward legal fees. If a case is concluded before the retainer is depleted, the unused portion of the retainer will be paid back to the client. If a retainer is depleted because of the amount of time spent on your case, you will also be charged for any additional hours spent in your behalf.

3.Do You Handle Cases On A "Flat Fee" Basis?

No. We do not work on a "flat fee" basis. Our time, as is the custom with the majority of divorce attorneys, is billed on an hourly basis for all time spent, which includes telephone time, conferences, document preparation, research, and court appearances.

4.How Can I Handle Payment Of Legal Fees?

Payment for the initial conference is due at the time of the appointment and may be made by cash, check or credit card.

5.How Do I Know If My Case Is "UNCONTESTED"?

If you and your spouse have already discussed how you want to finalize your divorce and have agreed that you will seek my help to prepare the documents, that is a good indication that you may have an uncontested case.

If you and your spouse have already disagreed between yourselves, if he or she has threatened to go to an attorney, if your spouse is unable to communicate with you in a peaceful manner, that is a good indication that this will NOT be uncontested.

An "uncontested" case is a case that is settled fairly easily and quickly, without requiring a court appearance. We meet with you to discuss the background facts of your case. We prepare all the documents that will be filed with the court, and will prepare a final Settlement Agreement which will require the signatures of you and your spouse. If all goes smoothly, in an uncontested case, you should be able to take the documents to your spouse and return them to me fully signed and ready for filing. This document preparation, including conference time, usually takes about three (3) hours of time (approximately a $1,000.00 value when filing and service fees are included).

A "contested" case is any case in which your spouse will not agree to sign the prepared final Agreement, OR your spouse hires an attorney to negotiate in his/her behalf, OR a court hearing is required because the parties have not settled, OR you and I have been dealing with your case for more than thirty (30) days and there is still no final agreement.

6.Do Either Of Us Have The Right To Withdraw?

Yes. You can choose to proceed on your own or select another attorney at any time. Likewise, we have the right to withdraw.

We will not go to a final bench trial (before a judge) or a jury trial without payment of legal fees at the usual hourly rate. If the case gets to the point where trial appears to be the only probable way of terminating the marriage, we will discuss this status in advance so that you will have the opportunity to make arrangements for payment of legal fees.

7.How Do We Stay In Contact?

You are welcome to schedule an appointment at our office any time to discuss your case. To schedule time, please call the office at 770-642-0815.

We are available on a limited basis by telephone during office hours. We do not take phone calls at home related to work matters. Late night and after-hour messages are best left on the office voice mail or on email at [email protected].

We encourage you to communicate via fax or email during the day. You can fax handwritten messages or questions directly at any time to (678) 795-1550.

Remember that even brief telephone calls are added to the time spent in your case, so frequent calls can quickly add to your bill.

8.What Documents Are Filed For A Divorce?

   1.Complaint for Divorce filed in the county where you live;
   2.Verification, signed by you;
   3.Acknowledgment of Service, signed by your spouse;
   4.Consent To Try at First Term, signed by you and your spouse;
   5.Settlement Agreement, signed by you and your spouse; and
   6.Final Judgment and Decree, signed by the Judge

You will also be given an information form to fill out and a financial affidavit, both of which need to be returned to me. If a case involves a hearing, the courts require a financial affidavit. Additional documents may also need to be filed, depending on what county you live in.

9.How Long Does It Take To Obtain A Divorce?

A divorce can be obtained thirty-one (31) days from the filing of the signed Acknowledgment of Service with the Superior Court, provided that there is a fully executed Settlement Agreement.

If there are minor children, both parents are required to attend a parenting seminar before the divorce can be final. Information regarding the parenting seminar is available at the Superior Court clerk's office.

If you and your spouse are unable to agree fairly quickly on the terms of a final settlement agreement, the Judge might assign the case to mediation or a hearing will be scheduled by the Court. Without a signed Settlement Agreement, the process can take several months or longer, as the Court determines when your case will be scheduled.

10.Can My Spouse And I Meet With You Together To Discuss A Settlement?

Yes. If your spouse is agreeable to a joint conference, we can schedule time to meet with both of you, as long as your spouse has no attorney and acknowledges that we cannot represent both of you. We can, however, prepare documents and discuss matters in controversy for the purpose of helping you both reach an agreement on your own.

If your spouse has an attorney, his or her attorney should call to discuss a joint conference.

We will not, and cannot, give legal advice to your spouse.

11.Can I Meet You In An Initial Conference At No Charge To Discuss Whether I Want To Proceed Or Not?

No. There is an hourly charge for an initial conference.

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