We recognize that this is a valid concern as legal services can be expensive, and for this reason it is important for clients to be clearly informed from the outset about the arrangements for payment for our services. We always discuss such arrangements with our clients fully and completely at the time that we are retained, and we also encourage our clients to talk to us at any time about any questions or concerns that they may have about fees and billing arrangements.
One of the questions that clients often ask is “how much will this cost me?” Unfortunately in most family law cases it is impossible to give even a rough estimate about how much the total cost of a case will be. This is because in virtually all family law cases it is not possible to predict at the outset how the case will be resolved or how much work will be needed to resolve it. For this reason in most cases we must refrain from giving an estimate for the cost of a case.
One exception to this rule is an application for an uncontested divorce. In most cases in which there is no dispute about any issue and the only thing that the parties are seeking is a divorce, it is usually possible to give a cost estimate of the case and it may even be possible to come to an agreement that the work will be done for a flat fee. This arrangement will of course only be viable, and will only continue to be viable, so long as there are no unforeseen complications and the application for divorce remains uncontested.
In virtually all other family law cases we, like other lawyers, charge for our services on the basis of an hourly rate. Hourly rates are usually based on seniority, with more experienced lawyers charging a higher hourly rate than junior lawyers. We charge our hourly rates for all of the services which we perform on your behalf, including but not limited to consultations, telephone calls, preparing and reviewing correspondence, preparation of documents, research, preparing for and conducting court applications, trials and appeals and negotiations with other lawyers.
When lawyers perform services for clients, they routinely incur out of pocket expenses, expenditures paid to third parties such as couriers and process servers, and administrative costs for ongoing expenses such as photocopying or fax charges. These disbursements and other charges are billed separately from and in addition to legal fees.
Unfortunately we at Kitsilano Family Law, like all other businesses, must charge the federal Goods and Services Tax and the Provincial Sales Tax on all fees and on most disbursements.
When you first retain us, we will, like most lawyers, likely ask that you pay us a sum of money up front. This payment is called a “retainer”. When you pay your retainer to us, we will deposit it in our trust account and, when we issue a Statement of Account to you in connection with the services that we have performed on your behalf, we will use the retainer to pay, wholly or in part, this Statement of Account. We may at that time and as matters progress ask that you provide us with a further retainer or further retainers to cover ongoing or future work.
At Kitsilano Family Law it is our practice to issue Statements of Account on a monthly basis, although exceptions may be made in some cases. Like most lawyers, our policy is that, when we issue a Statement of Account to you, any outstanding balance will be due and payable by you upon receipt of that Statement of Account.
Kitsilano Family Law has worked with a variety of clients, each dealing with their own unique circumstances. Although such situations are never easy, our staff at Kitsilano Family Law ensures that clients and their families receive the support they need. From co-parenting to child abduction, our firm specializes in family law dispute resolution.
Kitsilano Family Law has handled numerous important cases over the span of almost four decades. While our recommendation and preference are to handle matters through dispute resolution, court action may be necessary. Rest assured, our case history is a testament to our client-centric support model — whether that happens inside or outside of court.
Bill Storey is a staple in B.C. Family Law. Moreover, his work in international child abduction cases has made him Canada's resident expert on the matter. Amidst his busy schedule, Bill still found the time to contribute to several publications and countless organizations. Below is a list of entities that showcase Bill's unflinching support for British Columbia's legal community.