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Legal Fees

Lawyer fees are composed of two portions: a retainer amount and an hourly rate. A retainer is a sum of money provided to the lawyer at the start of a matter which the lawyer will hold in trust on your behalf. The amount of the retainer will vary depending on the nature and complexity of your matter. To get a quote on the amount of a retainer that will be needed will require speaking a lawyer about your matter and providing some details as the nature of the matter, the number of contentious issues, and expected disbursements. A disbursement is a fee a lawyer pays on your behalf, for example, it costs $260 to file a Statement of Claim for Divorce in Alberta. That is a disbursement. Other types of disbursements include appraisals, fees for a process server, expert reports, etc.

A lawyer's hourly rate is the amount of funds that will be paid to the lawyer based on the time they spend on your matter. Most lawyers bill in 0.1 intervals (meaning 6 minutes or 1/10 of an hour). Therefore, being billed 0.5 hours would mean 30 minutes. Each lawyer sets their own hourly rate. At CK Family Law, we set our hourly rates based on our experience, our knowledge, and to be competitive in the Edmonton (and area) market.

As a lawyer works on your file you will be periodically issued an account for the time spent on your file and disbursements incurred on your behalf. If the funds in the initial retainer run out then a further retainer will be requested (as well as payment of any outstanding balance). If the matter is concluded and there are still funds remaining in trust then they will be returned to you.

In limited circumstances, a lawyer may choose to bill a matter as a flat fee. This may or may not be inclusive of disbursements. A flat fee arrangement means that you will be billed a specific amount regardless of the actual amount of time it takes to conclude the file. Lawyers will typically only do flat fee billing when the matter is very simple, direct, and there are no contentious issues (such as a Will, Power of Attorney, Personal Directive, Uncontested Divorces with no property, no children, and no spousal support). It is important to keep in mind that a Divorce may often appear uncontested at first glance but a former spouse can defend a Divorce proceeding and ask for relief which would make the Divorce contested.

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