Cost of Uncontested Divorce in Montgomery, Alabama
If you are reading this article, there is a good chance that you found it by doing search engine query for the price of an uncontested divorce in Montgomery, Alabama. In that case, it is good that you found this article because you are searching for the wrong thing. Reading this will hopefully steer you in the right direction. If you are getting a divorce, the cost of the proceeding is something to be considered, but it should not be your primary reason for selecting an attorney to handle your uncontested divorce.
I have seen lawyers' billboards in the Montgomery area stating that the firm charges $200.00 for an uncontested divorce. In small print at the bottom of the billboard, it states, "Costs of court filing fees are not included in the advertised price." The court costs for filing a divorce are around $275.00. The billboard lawyers probably do occasionally handle an uncontested divorce for the listed price. In fact, the Alabama Bar Association requires lawyers that advertise a price to actually perform work for that price for qualifying customers. The question is who qualifies for that $200.00 price (actually $475.00 when you count filing fees), and the answer is probably not very many people. I imagine that Billboard Joe's price goes up the more complex the marriage is. For instance, dollars probably get tacked on for minor children, for a retirement account, for real property division, for personal property division, for bank account division, and for retirement account division. By the time the average uncontested divorce client leaves Billboard Joe's office, I would bet the price for their divorce is much higher than the $200.00 that was advertised.
This kind of advertising is not unique to the legal industry. My wife owns a house and carpet cleaning company. So, I pay attention to carpet cleaning advertising. I have seen signs that say "Carpet Cleaning for Whole House! $30.00!" Let's think about that. Do you actually believe that someone is going to take the time to drive across the city to your house, pay for the gas to make it to your house, unload their carpet cleaning equipment, do a good job cleaning your carpet, pay for the cost of the advertisement that lured you to hire him, pay for business insurance, pay for worker's compensation insurance, pay for automobile insurance, pay for a business license, pay for a business privilege tax, pay income tax, pay for the carpet cleaning equipment, charge you $30.00 with no consideration of how large your house is or how dirty your carpets are, and still make an honest profit? Likewise, does it make sense that a lawyer would charge you less for representing you in a case than the court would charge you for filing that case?
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I had client come see me last year on a legal matter that was unrelated to divorce. She is now roughly 30 years old. She had gotten pregnant in high school and moved in with the baby's daddy. When she broke up with her baby's daddy, my client's dad thought she was common-law married. So, he sent her to a "low-cost" divorce lawyer to get an uncontested divorce. She paid the attorney's fee and court costs, and she and her boyfriend signed all of the necessary documents for a divorce. The lawyer filed the paperwork. She moved on with her life. She married a nice man and had two children by him. When I was meeting with her, I looked up her divorce case to obtain some information from it. The judge had never signed the divorce judgment. Her divorce was dismissed for lack of prosecution. She had no clue and neither did her ex-boyfriend. Her lawyer never informed her. Notice that I have referred to her ex, as her ex-boyfriend. As it turns out, they did not come close to meeting the legal requirements for a common-law marriage. However, her "low-cost" divorce attorney was very willing to accept the fee to file for a divorce for a marriage that never existed. Unfortunately, in the divorce paperwork that the "low-cost" attorney had my client complete, both parties stated in a sworn affidavit that they we're legally married. Thus, to the outside world, it appeared that my client was married to her ex-boyfriend and was in an unlawful, bigamous relationship with her current husband. If her situation would have went un-remedied, it could have had horrible legal consequences for her.
The "low-cost" attorney should have met with the client, let her explain her whole situation, informed her that she was not married to her baby's daddy, and filed a petition for the client to obtain child support. Instead, the "low-cost" attorney took a fee for something that did not even need to be done, did not see the process through, and created a legal nightmare. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for my client to go home after she met with me to tell the man she had thought was her current husband that she might legally be married to someone else. She had to pay me to untangle the whole mess that the other lawyer created. You see, a "low-cost" attorney can end up being very costly.
Instead of making price your chief concern, you should think about these things: Is my attorney a person of high character that will give me straightforward and honest advice? Will he be thorough and tie up all the loose ends to my dissolving marriage? Will he actually meet with me and draw up the paperwork, or will he pass those responsibilities off to a paralegal? Will he keep me informed throughout the process? Will he procrastinate and not make my case a priority?
The truth is that, no matter who you end up hiring, an uncontested divorce is not a very expensive legal proceeding. The difference in a high-priced lawyer and a cheap one will probably only end up being a few hundred dollars. Sound advice is to not let a decision as important as selecting an attorney hinge on a couple of hundred dollars. That is not to say that you should seek out a high-end lawyer or that you should avoid a low-cost lawyer. Just don't let cost be the predominant factor.
A final thing before I go. Credit for this article goes to Burlington psychological and counselling services. They're a capable Burlington based adolescent psychologist situated in Ontario. The concept for this post came to me while speaking with Kevin there. One thing led to another and we wound up discussing this issue in greater detail. Anyway, check their webpage out at http://burlingtonpcs.com. That's all for now!
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Posted in Law Post Date 02/07/2015