When you are facing the stress and expense of a divorce, it is natural to think that one of the first things you should look for is a free consultation with a Charlottesville area divorce lawyer.
Free consultations are heavily advertised by divorce lawyers all over the web. That’s because a free consultation is often a better deal for the divorce lawyer than the divorce consumer.
But “free” must be good, right? “Free” CAN be good, but “free” may not be what you want. That’s because in most divorce cases your goal should be to keep your overall cost low, not just one cost component, such as the initial consultation. The complete cost you will pay for your whole divorce is more important than a free consultation up front.
There are two categories of divorce – contested and uncontested. By some estimates, uncontested divorces are now 75-80% of all divorces.
An uncontested divorce is simply any divorce in which you and your spouse/partner will not contest or legally dispute any issue in your case. It doesn’t mean that either of you are happy. It doesn’t even mean that there are no disputes between you. It just means that neither of you will be disputing any issue legally. Any actual disputes are considered by BOTH of you NOT to justify a much higher traditional divorce lawyer retainer fee on a contested case.
An uncontested divorce is definitely the best way to go, if possible.
Contested divorces are those in which you and your spouse/partner will be disputing at least one issue. All contested cases will eventually become uncontested if both parties remain alive long enough.
Contested cases become uncontested by either mediation, negotiation and/or litigation until no disputes remain. They are expensive and they will generally involve a retainer fee of $3500-$7500-$10000 and way up (depending on the lawyer’s experience level, how good s/he claims to be, the lawyer’s interpretation of the facts of your case and how much money you have, which you will be telling the lawyer in advance).
After the retainer has been eaten up (don’t worry, it will be) at maybe $300-$450 an hour, you will be billed hourly at usually the same rate until the case has been settled or one of you runs out of money or dies.
Right now, divorce law practice is extremely competitive. There are way too many divorce lawyers and way too many lawyers who say they could handle divorce if only someone would hire them. It is a buyer’s market that favors you, the divorce consumer. But you have to recognize and avoid the traditional pitfalls while taking advantage of the newer trends that are your friends.
One of the current developing trends in US divorce law practice is lower flat-fee unbundled document review legal service packages. Those packages are perfect for uncontested divorces. In this way, many divorce law practices have become non-litigation practices.
The divorce lawyer structures several flat-fee packages depending on the facts of your case and the services you want the lawyer to perform and those you would rather do yourself. For example, you might be prepared to file your legal documents yourself at your local court and to arrange for service of process on your spouse rather than to pay a divorce lawyer to perform those relatively easy but time consuming tasks.
You simply pick the uncontested divorce package that suits the facts of your case and your budget. If your divorce remains uncontested and no unexpected issues arise, you will already know your total cost up front.
Such unbundled packages will contain a consultation component. For example, a package may contain 2 or 3 15-minute phone/zoom calls or a fixed number of email responses from the lawyer. You can purchase more consultation if you need it.
However, unbundled legal packages for uncontested divorce will likely not be offered with a free consultation up front. At least, not unless the unbundled package is not as cheap as it should be.
It is very difficult, in a competitive market, for a divorce lawyer who would like to remain in business, and you DO want your divorce lawyer to remain in business, to offer BOTH a free consultation AND a low cost flat-fee package in the same case. If you only get one of those, it’s definitely the low-cost flat-fee package that you really want.
So what to do if you are reasonably sure that your divorce is and will remain uncontested but you do have a question or two you’d like to be answered by a lawyer BEFORE you proceed. Often such answers determine whether your divorce will remain uncontested.
You have three choices. You can either (1) try to find a divorce lawyer who offers free consultation, (2) pay for a consultation or (3) you can hire the low-cost unbundled divorce lawyer and then just use one or more of your phone/zoom calls to ask your questions. Yes, you will have paid more money than the cost of a paid consultation, but the alternative was to pay for BOTH a $200-$300 30-minute consultation and an uncontested flat-fee package.
If you opt to try the free consultation route, BEWARE. You may receive a small amount of actual legal advice if the lawyer believes that is necessary to keep you on the phone.
However, for the practical economic reasons stated above, a divorce lawyer who offers free consultation is not a low flat-fee unbundled uncontested divorce lawyer. S/he is a traditional retainer fee and hourly treadmill lawyer. The traditional lawyer’s entire purpose in a “free consultation” is to get you to hire him or her at a huge retainer fee. That’s all. Why would a lawyer in business give away unnecessary free information or advice to a consumer who hasn’t yet hired him or her?
Also, the lawyer is going to be much better than you at the “game” of free consultation. The lawyer will likely have done this dozens, if not hundreds, of time. They are listening to your innocent explanation of your case for two things: indications of how much money you have and what are your greatest fears in the case.
Their sole purpose is to scare the crap out of you about something that MIGHT happen in your case (but almost certainly won’t) UNLESS you hire them. Don’t fall for it. It’s a dishonest and expensive trap. You only need this traditional lawyer if your case is known to be contested or unexpectedly becomes contested.
A headache may be a brain tumor, but it probably isn’t. You don’t hire a brain surgeon (traditional lawyer) as soon as you get a headache. You take an aspirin and lie down (unbundled uncontested package).
The intelligent way to handle what MIGHT happen in your case is to know about the possibility in advance and then watch to see if it begins to happen. The uncontested divorce lawyer will advise you of any REALISTIC potential problems in your case in one or more of those included phone/zoom sessions after you’ve hired him or her for a flat-fee package. S/he does that realistically because s/he has no need to scare the crap out of you.
S/he has already brought you through the door at a lower cost.
If the potential problem does occur, then you take care of it through bigger and more-expensive packages offered by that same lawyer. However, you don’t pay more unless there is an existent reason for doing so. You don’t pay more just because a lawyer tries to scare you.
On the other hand, if your case will be contested (or if technically uncontested but also contains domestic violence issue or threats of domestic violence), forget about low flat-fee unbundled legal services packages. Under those circumstances, whether you like it or understand it or not, you will need, and be best served by, a traditional full-representation lawyer as described above with a high retainer fee and eventually the billable hour treadmill. That may not be a welcome recommendation, but we assure you that it is a good one.
PLEASE NOTE: All 1-800-DIVORCE law firms continent-wide are individually owned and operated. Because of the reasons stated above, 1-800-DIVORCE takes a completely neutral approach to whether a local divorce lawyer offers free consultations or not. We are much more interested in whether that local divorce lawyer offers low flat-fee unbundled packages in uncontested divorce because they are more beneficial to you, the divorce consumer.
Law Office of Michael Ephraim may offer a free consultation or may not. Ask them if a free consultation is offered under the facts of your case, but do not be surprised or dismayed if they do not make that offer. That may not be a bad thing at all. Be sure to ask also about low flat-fee unbundled services for uncontested divorce.
Read more about divorce cost in Charlottesville.
Oh yeah. And You’ll NEVER Forget Your Free Charlottesville Divorce Lawyer’s Phone Number, Whether They Offer Free Consultation or NOT!
1-800-DIVORCE service is free to you, the divorce consumer. Obviously, all phone calls to your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer are free.
Much more importantly, you benefit from a huge reduction in risk by using 1-800-DIVORCE in your divorce-lawyer hiring process. That benefit is not only free but also is of considerable value to you in the confusing and dangerous divorce lawyer market. And that risk reduction comes at a stressful time in your life.
Just when all local divorce lawyers look and sound exactly the same to you, 1-800-DIVORCE provides a referral to a unique, local, cost-effective, commercially competitive, experienced divorce lawyer who handles only (or primarily, in smaller towns) family law matters. You get the benefit of the judgment we acquired across a 30+ year period of assessing and qualifying problem-solving divorce lawyers – and you get that benefit just when you need it.
For their part, the lawyers we selected have acted decisively to get your business and your future referrals through 1-800-DIVORCE. By signing up to be the exclusive 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer in your town, that lawyer has proved to you that s/he is unique, will compete for your business and will look after your legal and economic interests if s/he wants to get your future 1-800-DIVORCE referrals to friends and colleagues.
Referral business is GOLD to a divorce lawyer. That is to your huge advantage. Take that advantage.
So 1-800-DIVORCE is designed to be a win for both the divorce lawyer and the divorce consumer.
While we cannot legally guarantee the work done for you by your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer, we can certainly make sure that lawyer remains business-like and respectful during your case.
We value our 1-800-DIVORCE brand. We appreciate your use of 1-800-DIVORCE. And we also value your future referrals to it. So if you are not treated well by your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer, we’ve got your back. We definitely want to hear at 1-800-738-3764 about any very rare client support problem.
We listen, and when any unacceptable pattern of service quality is seen, we act. Thank you for helping us protect the value of 1-800-DIVORCE for future divorce consumers.
All of those divorce lawyers still look the same– just like they did on your original search. How can you possibly tell which Charlottesville divorce lawyer or family lawyer is the best divorce lawyer for you?
They all tell you they are aggressive, will handle your case like it was their own and blah blah blah. But not one single lawyer can prove a darn thing to you.
Law Office of Michael Ephraim is proving to you that they stand apart from all other Charlottesville divorce lawyers. Law Office of Michael Ephraim approaches its family law practice intelligently, creatively and competitively.
Aren’t those the same qualities you are seeking in a Charlottesville divorce lawyer?
Law Office of Michael Ephraim has secured exclusively the best family law brand in the world.
As a result, you have a memorable way to contact your divorce lawyer. And 1-800-DIVORCE ensures that your divorce lawyer is very experienced and cost-effective.
You also have an excellent way to refer your friends, colleagues and relatives to 1-800-DIVORCE of Charlottesville should they require similar family law assistance in the future.
Those lawyers try to get ANY kind of legal work. In family law, they hope to get the same 1 or 2 divorces every couple of months as all other me-too divorce attorneys in the Charlottesville area.
You do not want your divorce to be handled by a lawyer who works on your divorce in the morning and a drunk driver case in the afternoon. Those areas of law are very different. Specialization is everything in family law. “Jack-of-all-Trades” lawyers are not experienced enough in family law to handle your case.
You also don’t want a “Jack-of-all-Trades” divorce lawyer for economic reasons. If a “general practice” lawyer gets just 1 family law client every 2 or 3 months, s/he has to charge you higher than average fees because you are one of very few clients.
1-800-DIVORCE lawyers specialize in divorce and family law. They are experienced in family law and have no difficulty getting enough cases to keep them experienced and to keep their fees lower.
Please note that while we have a strong preference, for reasons stated above, for lawyers who handle ONLY divorce and family law, in more rural small-town America, finding such a lawyer is sometimes impossible. There are simply not enough local divorces to enable a specialized family lawyer to remain in business. When that situation arises, please be assured that we maintain our preference. We will either find a local lawyer who handles PRIMARILY family law (but perhaps also related areas of civil law) or we will simply not sign up any lawyer in that town.
Charlottesville divorce attorneys who pay per click to get cases are on a treadmill. They and other pay-per-click divorce lawyers in Charlottesville constantly bid against each other. That increases the cost of clicks.
When those divorce lawyers get cases from pay-per-click, they can either keep their fees the same and make less money per case (because of the increased cost of getting cases) or they can increase their fees to cover the increased cost of getting cases.
They can’t keep their fees the same forever if costs of getting cases keep going up. The more lower-profit cases they get, the more lower-profit cases they need just to pay their bills.
Why would anybody hire a Charlottesville divorce attorney who continuously earns less money per case and therefore has increasing difficulty paying his/her own bills. You don’t want your divorce attorney to be handling your divorce while worrying about his or her own law practice failure.
So they must inevitably raise their fees. And that means that you, the Charlottesville divorce consumer, end up paying the higher costs your dumb lawyer paid just to get your case.
So how smart is that? Those lawyers do not control the future of their own law practices.
That’s because they were not smart enough to figure out how to get cases cheaper. They did not figure out that 1-800-DIVORCE brings more cheaper cases. Michael Ephraim, Esq. did figure that out.
Which Charlottesville divorce lawyer do you want to be resolving problems in your case.
Put the power and cost-effectiveness of the best family law brand in the world to work for you in your Charlottesville divorce or other family law case.
Right now, divorce lawyer referrals to your friends are probably the furthest thing from your mind, but don’t miss the boat on this consideration. It can really help to get you the best performance from your divorce lawyer and the best possible result in your divorce or other family law case.
Your divorce lawyer will value your future referrals, and you should too.
One of the reasons Law Office of Michael Ephraim signed up to become the exclusive 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer in Charlottesville is that 1-800-DIVORCE brings LOTS of free referrals from prior satisfied clients.
In many situations where divorce lawyers have done a fine job, they don’t get any referrals because the prior client will forget their name or more likely forget and not be able to find their phone number or email address. These things are easily forgotten over a very short period of time.
But when your divorce lawyer was 1-800-DIVORCE, how can you forget that?
So it is not a bad idea for you, politely and quietly, to mention that you have very many friends and colleagues and that at least some of them will need family law services in the future.
Your divorce lawyer will understand what you mean. It will help to adjust the balance of power between you and further assure that you get the best effort you paid for.
You are hoping for the best possible outcome in your case and your divorce lawyer is hoping for your future referrals through 1-800-DIVORCE. It’s a good bargain.
If you have made the difficult personal decision to terminate your marriage or to seek other family law relief, you should definitely proceed with your divorce lawyer hiring decision at your own pace. The process must be comfortable for you.
So we thank you for considering using 1-800-DIVORCE for such an important matter as your own divorce or other family law matter.
We ask only that you remember our phone number. We think you will. Whenever you are ready to proceed, just dial 1-800-DIVORCE and you will be connected automatically to the exceptional divorce lawyer 1-800-DIVORCE qualified in your area.