Should You Hire A Flat Fee Divorce Attorney? March 17, 2016/ Blog

Should you hire a flat fee attorney (1)

Law firms are slowly starting to offer flat fee divorce services for contested cases.

Typically when you hire an attorney for a contested divorce you will be charged at an hourly rate. There are several reasons for this, but it’s primarily because it’s difficult to determine exactly how long litigation will take. An hourly fee ensure that the lawyer is being paid for every minute that they work on your case. This structure benefits the attorney, but it’s not always ideal for the client.

Flat fee divorce, on the other hand, make it easier for the client to plan since they will know the cost of litigation in advance. However, a flat fee will likely be substantially higher than an hourly retainer and it may be difficult for a client to come up with entire fee at once.

Flat Fee Divorce from Joleena Louis on Vimeo.


Hourly billing for contested divorce matters

Hourly billing is where a client pays what is typically referred to as a “retainer” up front and the attorney deducts their hourly rate from that amount as they work on the case. This amount may or may not go into a trust account depending on the terms of the retainer agreement.  



  • The client only pays for the work that is done on the file.
  • The client may pay a lower retainer upfront.
  • Security for the law firm because they are billing hourly for the actual time spent on the matter.


  • The client doesn’t know what the overall fee until the end of representation.
  • The client is hesitant to communicate with their layer because they don’t want to be billed for the time.
  • Incentive for the  law firm to prolong litigation and bill as much time to a file as it can, so that it can make the most amount of money.


Flat fees for a divorce matter

Flat fees are fees that a client pays a law firm upfront to handle specific legal work on their behalf. If the matter requires additional work beyond the scope of the initial flat fee, the client may be required to pay an additional fee (which they will know learn about in advance).



  • The client will know from the start, exactly what their legal fees will be for the law firm to represent their case through to trial.
  • The law firm collects the entire fee up front and does not have to worry about collections.
  • The law firm is incentivized to handle the matter quickly and efficiently.


  • Because of the inherent risk to the law firm that the matter may take longer than estimated, flat fees tend to be higher than a retainer for an hourly fee.

Joleena Louis Law now offers both flat and hourly fees as an option.

The factors Joleena Louis Law considers when determining fees are based on the complexity of your case.

Considerations include:

  • If custody is an issue.
  • If the parties have retirement asset.
  • If the parties own real property.
  • If either party is self employed.


For more information on your flat fee divorce, Schedule Your Free Phone Consultation Now