Are flat-rate divorce attorneys worth it for a PA divorce?
If you have a complicated divorce which finds you and your spouse unable or unwilling to settle and move on with your lives, a low-cost, flat-rate fee, simple, uncontested divorce lawyer for a couple hundred dollars total is not for you.
Some potential clients see a lawyer offering a divorce for a flat rate or a “package” charge. Typically, such offers are limited to simple, low-cost, uncontested, no-fault Pennsylvania divorces because that type of divorce means both parties are in full agreement concerning every possible aspect of the divorce and both will fully cooperate, following all instructions carefully, signing all papers correctly and providing accurate information to the lawyer. If that is the case and all that the client wants is a legal decree in divorce signed by a Pennsylvania judge stating that the parties are no longer married, why would anyone pay more than one has to? Handled by a Pennsylvania lawyer experienced in this type of divorce, there will be no travel to the lawyer’s office and no travel to or appearance in Court. The offered flat rate charge covers the lawyer’s fee and the court’s filing charges (court costs).
Such divorces are “no frills” but extra services, such as a settlement agreement or the re-taking of a maiden name or previous married name, are usually offered, also at a steep discount compared to what a basic, full-service law office would charge. As many clients find out when they call around or visit local full-service law firms, whether their case is simple or complex, uncontested or contested, they need between $3000 & $4000 up front as a non-refundable retainer toward an hourly charge of some hundreds of dollars per hour. Ouch! Now it may well be that if you and your spouse cannot settle the assets of the marriage amicably or if your spouse simply does not want to be divorced, the services of a local, full-service law firm are your only logical alternative.
It is an unfortunate fact that anger and revenge play a part in many divorces, even if just one of the two parties is harboring either or both of those feelings. Such a divorce will necessarily be contested, long, expensive, unsatisfying and handled by a local full-service law firm. Scores if not hundreds of attorney hours will be involved, so getting a flat rate quote is out of the question.
If both parties could sensibly seek the legal advice necessary to find out the likely outcome of your messy, contested divorce and then decide to settle having faced the facts of what a courtroom battle would likely produce for them, then a simple, low-cost, uncontested no-fault divorce becomes possible with its flat-rate charge.
What it boils down to is if the parties can settle, then a Pennsylvania flat-rate divorce attorney is indeed worth it. If they cannot settle, they will find out after many hours of billed legal fees that they wished that they had and had spent a ton of money on something that was not worth it.