I'm in the final payoff phase of my divorce settlement and need someone to review my agreement to make sure I'm not paying more than I have to pay. I fell behind on my payments and owe interest but I'm not sure my ex is calculating these totals correctly. I'd like to understand my liabilities and consequences if the final total is not paid in full by the agreed upon pay-off date. This is not a child support issue.
I am potentially seeking someone to be my ongoing intermediary between me and my ex.
How much of a retainer would you require to look at my divorce settlement documents and payment history to help me understand my liabilities and options?
I agree with the comments made so far by the other contributors. I can only add the following:
1. You do not necessarily need an attorney to audit your payment and interest payment history. Any CPA or experienced bookkeeper would be fine, and may be far less expensive. Depending upon the complexity of this, the attorney you hire may subcontract a CPA or bookkeeper anyway. Also, depending upon the complexity of this, the attorney may charge a flat fee (as opposed to an hourly rate) to do this.
2. If your final payoff is not paid by the due date, you run the risk that your ex-spouse may sue you for contempt of the court order to pay her. This could - in the worst case - result in a court order to jail you, sanction you, fine you, order you to repay her attorney fees and pay the unpaid amounts in short order. It could result in all or some of these sanctions. It is all together responsible that you independently verify what you owe and pay it on time, interest included.
3. If you are seeking an attorney to act as an ongoing intermediary, that is a proper reason to retain an attorney, in and of itself. I have a number of clients who hire me to do just that. They do this mostly because I act as a savvy, rational intermediary. With me, most attorneys and any attorney you would want to hire, acting as an intermediary should be billed at an hourly rate. This is proper and fair because neither you nor your attorney know how many hours this will require. It could take five of two hundred before it all ends.
4. Reasonable hourly attorney rates vary widely based upon the area of law and the geographic area. In Atlanta, where I practice, domestic law attorneys will range from $200.00 per hour to as high as $600.00 per hour. There are some very good and very bad ones at either extreme and plenty in the middle. Look around and talk to your friends. Finally, always remember: You get what you pay for.
Most attorneys are not going to disclose their fees on Avvo. Your best bet is to contact some local attorneys in your area that practice family law and get some quotes. Find an attorney that fits your personality and proceed from there.
You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and not all information is relayed in an online question. The Law Office of Ophelia Bernal-Mora, P.A. is a family law firm located in Orlando, Florida, we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls at 407-354-5223. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.
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