Family Law Firm

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Fees and Billing

We at Matkovic Allan LLP appreciate our client’s desire to keep their legal fees to a minimum. We agree! We do not want to see our client’s spend large amounts of their hard earned savings on legal fees. Our goal is to assist our client’s in finding a resolution that will not deprive them or their children of the financial benefits that they may have gained over their relationship.

That being said, the payment of legal fees is tied hand-in-hand to how parties can cooperate during whatever dispute resolution process they choose to participate in.  Our expertise as lawyers is billed by ‘time spent on files’.  The more time that matters take to resolve, the higher the fees will be.  We want to ensure that the legal fees that our client’s spend are not wasted. We encourage amicable settlement of all matters, and will have our client’s engage in a ‘cost/benefit’ analysis in our attempts to move them away from extensive debate on issues that may not be as relevant as others.  We are able to take an objective view of a matrimonial dispute, and attempt to have our client’s focus on what is really important, all in an attempt to not only save the legal costs, but save in time, energy and stress levels for our clients.

Our lawyers bill for all work that may be done on a file. This will include, but not be limited to, time spent in client meetings, document drafting and review, review and response to emails and voice mails, questioning and other litigation processes, preparation time, research, appearances in Court and attendance at settlement meetings or mediation/arbitration.

We are almost always asked ‘how much will this cost?’. This is a question that is quite simply impossible to answer. The less animosity and more cooperation on a file, the lower the legal fees will be. The more discussion and disagreement, the more time will be required by our lawyers, and the higher the fee will be. The lawyer at Matkovic Allan will give ‘ball park’ figures, but each file is unique, and as such impossible to quote specifically.

Our accounts are rendered once a month, and each bill is very detailed so that the client knows exactly what they were billed for. Our lawyers are always available to discuss accounting issues.

We have a range of expertise and experience with our lawyers, and that results in a range of legal fees.  We will advise our clients of their options in that regard, which may include having a more junior lawyer take the bulk of the hands on work on a file, with a more senior lawyer reviewing and supervising.  The choice is always the clients.

 

 

Method of Payment

Our firm accepts forms of payment including Mastercard, Visa, Debit, certified Cheque and Cash. Please arrange with your lawyer the method of payment best suited to your needs. Please note our firm will not accept third party cheques as payment for retainers, outstanding fees, or disbursements.

Retainer Agreement

When you hire a lawyer at Matkovic Allan to assist you with your separation and divorce matters, the client will be asked to sign a form of ‘Retainer Agreement’ and provide a ‘Retainer Payment’.

The Alberta Law Society Code of Conduct dictates that we as lawyers make our relationship with our client very clear.  It is important that our clients clearly understand what the ‘solicitor/client’ relationship entails, and its boundaries and limitations.  A ‘Retainer Agreement’ defines this relationship, and is tailored to each client’s specific circumstances.  The Matkovic Allan Retainer Agreement outlines the lawyer’s understanding of the reason that they have been hired by the client, the expectations around payment of our fees, the limitations in the relationship with the client, and the expectations that both the lawyer has with the client, and the client has with the lawyer.  We at Matkovic Allan insist that our client’s carefully review the Agreement thoroughly before signing it, and welcome any questions or concerns that the client may have about the Retainer Agreement.  A ‘Retainer Agreement’ must be signed before the lawyer can commence any work for the client.  The ‘Retainer Agreement’ is then kept on the client’s file, and one copy provided to the client.

A ‘Retainer Payment’ will be required when a lawyer is retained.  The standard Matkovic Allan ‘Retainer Payment’ when a lawyer assumes conduct of a file is $3,000.00.  (There may be exceptions – see ‘Unbundled Services/Limited Retainer’ tab).This payment is held in a lawyers trust account, to be used ONLY for any services rendered by the firm on behalf of that specific client.  If a matter does not appear to be near resolution, and the Retainer Payment has been reduced, a client will be asked to top up the payment.  The client will be reminded that their Retainer Account is running low, and will be given advance notice of the need to replenish the account.  Matkovic Allan’s  ‘Retainer Agreement’ makes it clear that no work will be done on a file unless there are funds in a client’s retainer.  Any funds remaining in a trust account after a matter has been resolved will be returned to the client.

 

Unbundled Services/Limited Retainer

There are circumstances where a client may not want or need to retainer a lawyer to handle all aspects of their matter.  They may require assistance with certain aspects of a file, and not others.  In these situations, the lawyers at Matkovic Allan will discuss the client’s options with ‘Unbundled Services and Limited Retainers‘.

For example, a client may feel very comfortable with public speaking, and may have no hesitations in representing themselves in a Court application.  They may, however, not feel comfortable in drafting the documents required for the application.  The lawyers at Matkovic Allan could assist a client with the drafting of those documents, and give the client advice as to how to manage the Court application.  We would draft a specific Retainer Agreement for the client, and would quote them the fees that would be necessary to complete the specific services that they required.

Clients may require assistance with the following:

  • Legal advice on a specific issue;
  • Research;
  • Drafting and/or reviewing of documents prior to filing at court;
  • Basic document review;
  • Consultation on various subjects;
  • Appearances at court, settlement meetings or mediation

This list is not meant to be exhaustive.  Our lawyers are well versed in providing legal advice on either a regular ‘retainer’ basis, or on specific issues as they may arise.

Our ultimate goal is to always put the client’s needs first and to best guide them towards a quick and cost effective resolution to problems.

Independent Legal Advice

There are a number of situations where a party involved in a family law matter may benefit from independent legal advice including:

a) Domestic Agreements

In most circumstances in which parties are entering into a formal Domestic Agreement, a Certificate of Independent Legal Advice will form part of that Agreement.   It is important that you feel comfortable with and fully understand the terms of the agreement that you have negotiated before it is finalized.  The Certificate of Independent Legal Advice will confirm that each party has received proper advice and understands his or her rights and obligations under the Agreement and is not under any duress or otherwise being forced to sign the Agreement.

b) Obtaining Information Regarding your Rights and Obligations to Assist you with Your Negotiations or Prior to Mediation

Before entering into negotiations with your spouse or partner to resolve outstanding issues or before you attend a mediation, it is helpful to understand your rights and obligations with respect to issues of support, parenting and the division of your property.  Understanding how our legal system works and how our laws will impact you, will allow you to negotiate a fair settlement more quickly and with the assurance that you have addressed all of the important issues to for your family’s future.

Providing you with the best possible advice will often require a review of your financial position and an understanding of what your future goals and needs may be.

c) Second Opinion

Making the right decision for your family is difficult at the best of times.  When there has been a breakdown in your relationship these decisions need to be made when you are under a great deal of stress and emotions are running high.    If you have already received legal advice but are not sure whether that advice has adequately addressed your concerns or questions, you may wish to obtain a second opinion from another lawyer.    A second opinion would be provided in a confidential manner and will give you peace of mind in a very difficult time.

The lawyers at Matkovic Allan LLP have the necessary experience and expertise to provide you with Independent Legal Advice in your particular situation.   Should you wish to discuss your questions about your particular situation or require a Certificate of Independent Legal Advice, please do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a meeting with one of our lawyers.

 

Helpful Information

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