Do I Need a Lawyer For My Alimony or Child Support Modification Case?
Do you need a lawyer? Not necessarily. There’s self-help forms available on the internet. You can Google “Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms” and most everything you need is there. It might not look pretty but it works.
The use of lawyers makes sense when there’s too much to lose by messing things up by doing it yourself. If your case gets dismissed based on failure to follow procedural rule, then this could mean a lot of support becomes a vested right that you have to pay that you otherwise had things been done correctly you might have been able to get excused from.
If you’re only paying a few hundred dollars a month in support payments then hiring a lawyer probably is not going to make sense for you, but if you’re paying several thousand dollars a month, then it probably makes more sense to get an attorney involved.
And just remember, hiring a lawyer can also make sense when you can make more money or try to make more money by focusing on your business than learning what you need to know to advance your case in court.
Prefer to read a book about this instead? Click here to access our free book on modification of alimony and modification of child support due to the CoVid 19 pandemic and click here for our modification of support information center. Also, you can click here or the “Schedule Your Consultation” link above to speak with one of our lawyers concerning your particular situation.
If you’re a dollar per minute of compensation is higher in your business or doing what you are paid to do once you’re re-employed, it might make sense to have an attorney do the legal work and you focus on making the money, especially if you expect to be ramped up again a couple months down the line when these lawsuits might start getting into court. Right now the courts are closed, the lawsuits can be filed, but the major hearings that would happen in these cases aren’t going to happen until further off in the future when many of the people who actually file the suits might actually be back into jobs and the fight might be over whether they should have been entitled to a temporary reduction, not whether they have one for the future. So, just remember that as you make the evaluation.
In terms of legal fees, a lot of law firms charge by the hour. Usually between $250 and $500 an hour for most of the attorneys in the Southeast Florida area. At the Bruce Law Firm, we charge fixed prices typically for the first 60 days of representing you. You’ll pay a price and the price is what it is and you’re not going to pay more, you’re not going to pay less. We don’t like nickel and diming people, and we’re comfortable enough in our processes to know what it’s going to cost and just attach a number to our services.
In terms of what the amount is with us, it’s usually going to be between $4,500 and $10,000 for the first 60 days of representation depending on how complex the finances are and how clear cut the job loss is tied to economic conditions outside of your control. So, if you’re an employee who was laid off by a industry business that completely stopped during the coronavirus crisis, then your fees going to be in the lower range of this $4,500 to $10,000 scale.
If you have a business, you’re a business owner and your quickbooks/records are a mess and there’s more work for us to actually do to show the reduction in income than the legal fees are likely to be at the higher end of this range.
We charge fixed prices but lawyers who charge by the hour are likely going to have a upfront retainer comparable to the range of our initial fixed price. It’s just with us, you know what the price is going to be on a fixed basis based on the contract. And for lawyers charging by the hour, it could be higher, it could be lower. There just is not certainty.
So, rule of thumb here, getting a lawyer involved usually makes sense only if your going to likely get two to three times return on investment for the legal fees that you spend.
Just as an example, if you’re paying alimony at $5,000 a month and you expect to be unemployed for six months, the total amount of support you might try to be getting a reduction of is $30,000. Well, in that type of a situation, it makes sense to pay a lawyer $5,000- $10,000 because you’re potentially tripling your return on investment of your legal spend.
But this just doesn’t make any sense at all if you’re only making $500 a month. You’d be better off handling it yourself or not at all in set of circumstances.
So, the math can also be a little different if you think you’re subject to a permanent modification of support and if the other person’s income’s increased and you might be able to get out of that alimony obligation for forever. In those circumstances the cost of the lawyer starts to make a lot more sense when compared to a lifetime reduction in support. But it’s really a case by case basis here and this is the stuff that lawyers can help you evaluate what makes sense based on your unique situation.
Click here to access our free book on modification of alimony and modification of child support due to the CoVid 19 pandemic and click here for our modification of support information center. Also, you can click here or the “Schedule Your Consultation” link above to speak with one of our lawyers concerning your particular situation.