Fee Disputes With Divorce Lawyers



Natalie Fraser for The Lawyers Weekly

Canadian Lawyers Help Relieve Fee Disputes

Sometimes Unnecessary Fee Disputes May be Easily Avoided

Most Canadian Lawyers suggest that it is best to talk to your Divorce Lawyer before accusing them of incorrect billing. Sometimes miscommunication is the villain here. By sitting down with your Divorce Lawyer, you can figure out your legal fees and a sensible payment plan. However, if you feel that you have fallen victim to your Divorce Lawyer’s bill you may want to commence a fee dispute.

If you are unsure of how to go about a fee dispute, consult a Canadian Lawyer through our FREE online legal directory. An experienced Canadian Lawyer can advise you on which Divorce Lawyer fees seem legitimate before you get involved with mediation services. However, if illegitimate fees seem to exist, your Canadian Lawyer can guide you on how to use mediation services to acquire a fair bill from your Divorce Lawyer.

Consult Mediation Services to Resolve Divorce Lawyer Fee Disputes

Mediation services are usually one of the primary ways to acquire a just ruling of fee disputes. Natalie Fraser from the Lawyers Weekly explains what to do during a fee dispute with your Divorce Lawyer. She specifically mentions that you may want to consult a Canadian Lawyer. Your Canadian Lawyer typically aids in the negotiating process of the Divorce Lawyer’s bill. This negotiating process may result in you not needing to talk to your Divorce Lawyer. It also decreases the chance of you being manipulated by lawyer terminology. As a result, your fee dispute can be resolved at a faster pace. Find a local Canadian Lawyer that can help relieve you of fee disputes.

Discussing Concerns

Clients may find their divorce lawyer's bills confusing, and higher than expected. Often communication difficulties have created a misunderstanding, so clients should start by discussing their concerns with their divorce lawyer. Asking for a full explanation of the bill and requesting the divorce lawyer to provide a more detailed bill may resolve the problem.

Clients may wish to discuss a payment plan with their divorce lawyers if they find themselves unable to pay the bill within the required time. Most divorce lawyers have provisions for such arrangements.

Formally Reviewing Divorce Lawyer Bills

If divorce clients remain dissatisfied with the amount of a bill after discussing it with their divorce lawyer, they may contact the law society in their province for assistance. Law societies generally offer various options for clients to review their divorce lawyer's bills.

Some law societies offer mediation services to resolve fee disputes. In this process, a neutral third party acts as a mediator between the divorce lawyer and the client. The mediator encourages communication between the parties, helping them to consider and develop a resolution to the problem. Generally, the decisions resulting from mediation do not bind the parties. If divorce lawyer or the client remains dissatisfied, they may proceed to a formal review.

Clients begin the formal review process by contacting the appropriate office of the relevant superior court in their province. Deadlines for requesting an assessment may be short; for example, in Ontario, clients have one month from the time their divorce lawyer sent them the bill to start the assessment process.

Most reviews have three steps. The first involves setting a date for the hearing. Clients must attend at the court office with the bill to be assessed, and pay a fee in order to get a date. The second step involves delivering to or 'serving' the documentation regarding the hearing on the divorce lawyer. Generally service can be by registered mail, or delivered personally to the divorce lawyer.

The third step of the process involves the hearing itself. Although procedure at the hearing is informal, clients may retain a lawyer to represent them if they wish. Each side presents their case, and both parties can ask questions and bring witnesses. At the end of the hearing, the official in charge may make a decision immediately, or may reserve judgment till a later date. The official can decide that the divorce lawyer's bill was fair, or too high, and if so reduce it. Factors influencing his or her decision include fee arrangements made with the divorce lawyer, the amount of time the divorce lawyer spent on the case, the level of expertise involved, the amount of money involved, the success or lack of success on the matter, and the amount of money already paid towards the bill.

Clients who remain unhappy with the amount of their divorce lawyers' bills after review can appeal the decision in a higher court.

Natalie Fraser practised law in Whitby, Ontario for seventeen years and is now a freelance legal writer. She often writes for The Lawyers Weekly.


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