The "retainer" is a sum of money that goes our trust account, which is then used, from time to time, to pay for the services we provide. It remains your money until we bill you. The retainer guarantees payment. Depending on the complexity of your case, I will as you for this retainer prior to commencing any work on your file.
Most lawyers charge an hourly fee, but it is possible to agree to a different payment arrangement, such as flat-rate billing.
Different types of matters require different retainers. A matter in the Supreme Court will generally require a more substantial retainer than a matter in the Provincial Court. However, most matters are more efficiently resolved in Supreme Court. We will discuss your retainer after we first meet.
It is also possible to hire me to conduct only some of the services required to advance your case. An example of this would be if you hired me to draft an affidavit, but did not want me to appear in court, or communicate with the opposing side. I would only charge you for the time it took me to draft the affidavit. Some people believe they are able to represent themselves and only want to consult on how to best proceed. The limited relationship retainer would be set out clearly in writing so it was clear exactly what you wanted me to do, and not to do.
Flat Fee Billing
Sometimes flat-fee billing makes more sense, particularly if the matter will be unopposed. These matters include:
- Desk-Order Divorces
- Marriage Agreements
- Separation Agreements
- Family Sponsorship Applications
In these situations I ask you for a lump sum amount, and do not charge for my time.
Do I need legal advice?
Absolutely. The legal decisions you make may have long term, significant, negative consequences that you can not foresee. There are many holes to fall into, and you need to understand the new world of family law that you are subject to before making decisions in the dark.
What legal issues am I facing?
That depends on the circumstances of your case. However, in general terms, there are six main issues that arise upon separation:
- Child support;
- Spousal support;
- Custody and Guardianship;
- Parenting time and access;
- Property division.
Depending on your circumstances, some or all of these must be dealt with in any legal separation.
What are my rights?
Again, this depends upon the circumstances of your case. Generally spouses are each entitled to 50% of the family assets upon separation. In addition, the law says that each parent should have maximum contact with their children, so long as it is their best interests. Both parents typically have guardianship rights. You should see a lawyer to expand on these topics.
What is the best way to proceed?
This is dependent on the circumstances of the case. I believe in the adage: "To win without fighting is best", particularly where children are involved. A separation agreement is preferred, however this is not always possible. If necessary I am ready, willing and able to take matters through trial