Video Transcript:

Hi. Welcome to Video Two, of Module Six. My name is Jacqui and I'm a Senior Associate at Pearson's Lawyers. If this is the first YouTube video you have watched, I highly recommend that you go to Module One, as it contains two
checklists of important actions that you must take now, before you proceed any further. To get to Module One, simply visit the Pearson's YouTube Channel or Pearson's web site and follow the links.

In this video, I'm going to be discussing divorce costs and fee structures, as used by various Family Lawyers. So, if you're ready to begin, let's start.

In your research, you may have come across three different types of legal costing: 1) No win, no fee, 2) fixed price, and 3) Fee-for-service. I'm now going to discuss each of those in a little bit more detail.

A common misconception when clients attend at the office is inquiring whether we will act onto a no win, no fee cost structure. No win, no fee cost structures are ordinarily reserved for civil litigation matters, such as contractual disputes, personal injury claims, and those sorts of matters. In those matters, the court will determine a clear winner and a clear loser, and will make an order for the loser to pay the winner's costs. In Family Law matters, however, the court is not focused on determining a winner or a loser, and is more interested in determining the best interest of the children, and what time they will spend with their parents, and also, to divide the matrimonial asset pool. In summary, in civil litigation matters, a court will determine who will pay the legal fees. In Family Law and Divorce matters, this rarely occurs, and accordingly, is not appropriate to use a no win, no fee cost structure, in
Divorce and Family Law matters.

Another common query clients have when they attend at the office is whether we will act for a fixed price. Fixed pricing works well in matters where there is known outcome and known disbursements. Matters such as, conveyancing, probate, estate wills, all of which are relatively simple and procedural. Family law, on the other hand, is not usually simple, or procedural, and apart from a simple divorce application, there are many uncertainties and many unknowns. Those unknowns can include the behavior or your ex-spouse, who may become obstructive during negotiations. If the matter involves children, a family report may be required, and if there's mental health concerns, psychiatric assessments can also be required. If we have a property dispute, valuations of the home and the family business, may also be required. Subpoenas may need to be issued for bank statements and other financial documents, and all of these unknowns have a cost. The only thing that is for certain, is someone will pay for those costs. If your lawyer is offering a fixed price contract, the only way that fixed price can include those unknowns, is to have a healthy buffer in it. So please check carefully, the terms and conditions of any fixed price contract.

Lastly, I'd like to discuss Fee-for-service. As the name suggests, Fee-for-service, you pay only for the service you receive. There are two methods for calculating Fee-for-service. Firstly, scale, which is determined by the government, and can be locked into a price list. Secondly, Lawyer time costing. The Lawyer sets the cost and it is costed at an hourly, or part thereof rate. Both methods ensure that you only pay for the service you require, no more and no less.

All our videos in this Youtube series can be found through the Pearsons Youtube Channel at http://youtube.com/pearsonslawyers or by visiting the Pearsons website at http://pearsonslawyers.com.au and following the links.

Alternatively, if you know that its simply time to see a Family Lawyer, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Please be advised that we must complete a conflict check so that we can only represent one party in a Family Law matter. So if your partner is watching this same Youtube series and engages our services before you do, we advise that we may not be able to talk to you.

Whatever it is that you choose, its our wish that throughout this Youtube series, you can finally gain a sense of certainty so that you know where you stand.

 

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