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Can I hire a new attorney to take over my divorce case for a flat fee just to get it closed?

Riverside, CA |

I filed back in January 2012 for a divorce. We have 2 children, property and debt to be paid together. Child support, visitation and custody we have done mediation and came to an agreement. All we need is the final settlement for the rest which has been taking forever due to the attorneys canceling our 4 way meeting since August. We have been very civil so we are not the problem of this dragging divorce. I don't feel that my attorney is aggressive and definitely not getting the job done. Am i able to hire a new attorney for a FLAT FEE just to take over my case and get my divorced finalized and closed?

Nereida Villanueva

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Attorney answers 4


You can call around to various family law attorneys and ask but it is rare for an family law attorney to take a case on a flat fee when they do not know what the issues are and whether or not the parties have an acceptable agreement or not. If an attorney take a case on a small flat fee and it turns into a war, it is hard to get out of a case easily. Thus, most attorneys hesitate. Perhaps you can get an attorney to prepare papers for you and walk you through the system rather than represent you. You would have a better chance since if you and your spouse start World War III, that attorney would not be locked into a set fee.

Michael Schwerin, San Jose, California phone: 408-295-4232 email: Consultation fees, rates and retainers vary based on need and ability to pay.

Manuel Alzamora Juarez

Manuel Alzamora Juarez


I took a flat fee once early in my career and spent more than 82 hours over one year and a half in WWIII divorce, child custody, child and spousal support, DV etc. Never again!!!!!


It is possible, but not guaranteed. The vast marjority of experienced Family Law Attorneys charge for services on an hourly basis. If you and your husband had a full agreement resolving all issues, it would be possible to reasonably estimate the amount of time needed to finalize your divorce and establish a flat fee to complete the divorce. But if there are unresolved issues, setting a flat fee risks lack of compensation for time over any time estimate. You will need to shop attorneys if you are seeking to complete the divorce for a flat fee. Good luck.

Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


I am not in your county so would not take your case, but just as an example I do flat fee divorces where the parties are in agreement. In my agreement, I specifically list what forms/documents it includes. Sometimes I will include X amount of out of court - in my office meditations if you still have a couple of issues to work out. However, I also write in an hourly billable amount for any work outside of what is specifically listed. I would expect that most attorneys that are willing to take cases flat fee do something similar so that they will get paid if there ends up being extra work.

This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents. My firm is All for the Family Legal Clinic, Inc. a nonprofit public benefit corporation that charges on a sliding scale based on income and family size. For a consultation contact us 510-999-7732 or at our website


You need to inquire of local counsel and see if one will handle your case on a flat fee basis. There are several options you have in moving your case forward, and while the most common is on an hourly basis, a flat fee retainer is also an option. I wish you the best with your case.

Orange County Family Law Attorney: (949) 218-0574 - This response provides general information, and is not intended to be legal advice. Getting information from Avvo, or any site, is not a substitute for advice from a qualified attorney who considers all of the facts and circumstances. Nothing here creates an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney in person and reach an agreement on representation. This response is not intended to be an advertisement or solicitation of services in any jurisdiction where it does not fully comply with all applicable laws or rules.

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