How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Divorce Lawyer in California?

Many potential clients ask the question, “How much does it cost to hire a divorce lawyer in Santa Barbara?” or “How much does it cost to hire a divorce lawyer in California?”

What is a Retainer Fee?

Santa Barbara divorce lawyers will require a Retainer Fee to start representing you in your divorce case. A Retainer Fee is an up-front payment paid before the attorney will start representing you. This Retainer Fee payment is placed into a special account called an Attorney-Client Trust Account. Even though you have paid the retainer, the retainer still is the property of the client, owned by you and refundable to you based upon any unearned portion.

As work is done on your case, you will receive invoices from our office for the time and expenses related to your case. As the invoices are generated for time spent working on your case, the retainer is used to pay the invoices. For example, if you pay a $5,000 retainer fee, and $500 of work is invoiced to you, $500 will be withdrawn from the Attorney-Client Trust Account to pay the invoice. In this example, your retainer balance is then lowered to $4,500. This system will repeat itself until the retainer balance is zero.

The Retainer Fee Is Not A Flat Rate.

It is important to note that retainer fees are not flat rates. A flat rate is where the attorney and client agree to set a price to complete a task or a case, no matter how much work is done by the attorney. Our office does not engage in flat rate work. Flat rates may be unfair to the client as a case maybe simple and not require much time and the client may be overpaying for the attorney services. As such, we do not offer flat rate services.

How Billing Occurs After Retainer Is Used?

After your retainer is used meaning our office has completed $5,000 of work on your case, you will receive invoices for the work done over the retainer amount. Those invoices become due when received. The payments can be made via credit card, debit card or check.

Under our fee agreement, we can also require an additional retainer fee to be paid in advance, if the circumstances call for a retainer. Possible circumstances can be a retainer deposit for a trial.

How much is our current Retainer Fee?

Our current retainer fee is $5,000. This can be paid by credit card, debit card or check. We accept online payments through our Mycase internet based client system.

What are our current hourly rates?

Marcus W. Morales, CFLS $375.00 per hour.

Mollyanne Wincek, Esq. $325.00 per hour.

Julian Angeles, Esq. $295.00 per hour.

All other staff $195.00 per hour.

How do we charge for time?

We charge in a minimum of .2 hour increments (12 minutes). That includes all emails, messages, phone calls, etc. For example, if you have a five minute phone call with our office, you will be charged .2 hours for the phone call due to the .2 hour minimum.

Are initial consultations Free?

We offer free initial phone consultations. In person consultations require payment of our hourly rate.

If you would like to speak to a divorce lawyer regarding your case, please call (805) 845-5405 to schedule phone call with our divorce lawyers.