Are Divorce Lawyers over-charging Their Clients?
There is no denying that for some divorce lawyers over-charging their clients is no big deal. They do it routinely as a matter of fact. It is as if for some divorce lawyers over-charging just comes with the territory. Are you one of those people who feel that their divorce lawyers are over-billing and over-charging them for the work that is being done on your case? Do you know anyone else who has complained of divorce lawyers over-charging?
There are divorce lawyers who charge upwards of $700 per hour for a divorce. Is this a fair price for the work involved? When you consider that some online companies are charging a fixed rate of less than $500 for the whole procedure from start to finish, or less, how does a divorce lawyer defend an hourly billing rate of $700 per hour? Are they not running themselves out of the business and causing clients to run in the opposite direction? Plus with fees this high isn’t this why the divorce industry and divorce lawyers have such a negative reputation? What are clients getting for this amount of money per hour? Isn’t this tantamount to over-charging clients, like, on its face?
One can argue this issue several different ways. A lot depends on the client and how wealthy they are. But just because a client is rich is no excuse to over-charge the client. The challenge of course is figuring out if you are really being over-charged or not. Because when you interviewed the attorney, he or she told you how much the fees are going to be. They told you what you would be billed for and things like that. For example, phone calls. They told you you would be billed every time you call the office. If you keep calling and going on and on about things that are not even legal in nature but more personal, don’t blame the attorney for billing you. You have to pay for this time. But if you are smart you would not call your attorney to discuss things you should be discussing with your BFFs. This way you won’t feel like you are being “over-charged.”
Of course, it is not always about phone calls. The attorney could be charging you for work he or she delegated to a paralegal or something like that. Usually if the attorney did not do the work but instead had a paralegal do it, it should be billed at a cheaper rate. But even assuming the lawyer did the work and not a paralegal, soometimes they could try to bill you for longer than the work actually took. Other tricks the attorney could try would be to bill you for administrative costs that wasn’t even agreed to; hiring experts (who are their friends and who are overly expensive) and other professionals when your case does not warrant it, etc.
Never be afraid to ask for an itemized bill from you lawyer and if you dispute the bill, say so. Sometimes, issues like these end up on court and the judge will decide if you were over-charged or not.