Many clients quite reasonably worry about the cost of divorce, or other family law cases, and fear that they cannot find an affordable attorney during their times of need. Because I keep my overhead costs as low as possible, I am able to pass on considerable savings to my clients, with lower-than-average, affordable rates.
First, what do other attorneys charge…
What Is the “Normal” Hourly Rate for an Attorney?
The Laffey Matrix is a fee schedule used by many United States courts since 1982 for determining the proper hourly rates for professional legal work. According to the Matrix, an appropriate hourly rate in 2013 for an attorney with four to seven years of experience is $290 an hour.
In addition, an 2012 article published in Texas Lawyer, “The State of Rates,” listed an hourly rate of $268 for a fourth-year associate in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex.
Self-Representing Parties May Not Have What It Takes
Considering that the average middle-class client makes $25 an hour, it isn’t surprising that a high percentage, up to 80% according to various surveys across the country, of the people in family court are without legal representation. That should be a matter of great concern because whether you’re drawing up a will or getting a divorce, it’s not advisable to take care of legal matters without a lawyer. You need someone who understands Texas laws to help you navigate the paperwork and bureaucracy.
Too often, I see people in my office who need help “correcting” what they did on their own in court, an endeavor that can be difficult and time-consuming, if not impossible under the law. I hate to see a person shaking his head in sadness and disgust when he realizes how much money he could have saved if I had worked with him from the beginning of his case.
Low-Cost Family Law Services
I am passionate about offering low-cost, affordable rates for family law services. I believe that my clients should never have to worry about getting a fair deal because they did not outspend their spouse for attorney fees. I also believe that affordable does not mean less competent. It means I am committed to quality legal representation and fairness for everyone.
To that end, I offer payment plans, as well as flat-fee legal services in applicable cases. I also engage in “limited-scope representation” where appropriate, in which the client and I form a partnership and discuss what they can reasonably afford and we tailor my services accordingly; for example, “is it better for me to fill out the form, or is it better for me to just review it and go with you to the hearing?”
Moderate Means Program
Many states, but not Texas, offer moderate means programs that connect clients who are low- to middle-income earners with lawyers who offer legal assistance at a reduced cost. The lawyer will charge fees and may request an advance deposit, but at a lower rate.
I offer a similar program, with a reduction of 25% to 75% of my regular hourly rate. To qualify you must be facing a family law issue and your household income must fall between 200%–400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
Family law issues include divorce, child custody or visitation, child support, personal safety due to a family member, establishing the biological father of a child, adoption, and juvenile dependency matters.
Is your household income between 200–400% of the FPL?
Household Size 200% 400%1 $23,340 $46,680 2 $31,460 $62,920 3 $39,580 $79,160 4 $47,700 $95,400 5 $55,820 $111,640 6 $63,940 $127,880
For each additional person, add $8,120 (200%) to $16,240 (400%).