Learn about our Fees
Our family of lawyers, charge clients at an hourly rate; (either in increments of a tenth of an hour) or by blocks of work (for example, wills and estates, a court application, a consult, etc.)
Our hourly rates range from: $250 to $500/HOUR + GST
Please note that we offer free half hour consultations.
Wells Family Law does not take on Legal Aid cases. For Legal Aid cases please contact Legal Aid Alberta’s website or call 1 866-845-3425
Rates & Billings
No one wants their separation or divorce to financially devastate them or their family. At Wells Family Law, it is our goal to resolve family disputes in a cost-efficient way.
Wells Family Law, like almost all family lawyers, charge clients at an hourly rate (usually in increments of a tenth of an hour) or by blocks of work (e.g., a divorce, a Separation Agreement, a court application, a consult).
Hourly rates depend on various factors, but most commonly on the lawyer’s years of practice and experience. Wells Family Law lawyers understand what it feels like to have to trust that the person they are paying is not overbilling or charging for unnecessary work.
The following is our best explanation of how work is charged and what you can do to limit your legal costs. Hourly Rate of Lawyers at WFL ranges from $250 – $500/HOUR + GST
The work for which a client is charged is all work necessary to accomplish the client’s goals, these include meetings with the lawyer, phone calls or emails to and from the lawyer, correspondence between the lawyers involved and opposing counsel, attendance at a mediation, court or arbitration, preparation time, analyzing financial information, legal research, etc.
Wells Family Law lawyers also offer Flat Rate or Fixed Pricing in order to give the client a greater degree of control over their cost. This is applicable where the lawyer is not required to assist the client in negotiating a settlement or to advocate for them in court.
In some cases, clients have already attended mediation or some other dispute resolution process and already have addressed their issues before retaining their lawyer. In these cases, the client will typically pay for a review and advice on the settlement reached, the drafting of the agreement, and completing the divorce at a fixed price. If you are starting from scratch, the work charged starts with an initial consultation and continues until the work is completed.
Consultation and Case Review
The process usually starts with a case review, which includes an introductory meeting between the lawyer and the client to review their circumstances and interests. The lawyer will give wide ranging advice and legal information about how the entire process works, the client’s legal rights and obligations, applicable legal principles, their options, and possible next steps.
The Case Review takes from thirty minutes to three hours depending on how complex the situation is and how many questions the client has. The Case Review is either charged on a flat fee basis, or on the lawyer’s hourly rate.
Many clients find this the most valuable legal service they receive, as it gives them a good idea of their options, what the process looks like, and how they can keep things on a non-adversarial track.
Typical Ranges of Total Fees
The more important objective for Wells Family Law lawyers is that clients are happy with the work we do and wants to refer other clients.
It is very hard to provide a general or average cost as most cost is dependant on the client’s specific circumstances. However, if there can be said to be an “average cost”, it would involve payment of fees for the consultation, instructions and information gathering, questions from client and answers, settlement meeting, correspondence between lawyers, the drafting of a Separation Agreement, and the completion of any required consent court orders including the divorce.
Where there are fewer legal services required, issues are less complex or the parties are amicable, costs may be substantially reduced, perhaps to $3,000 to $8,000. Legal fees are very dependant on the complexity of the issues and the cooperativeness of both parties.
A case involving the above typically means legal fees from $8,000 to $50,000. Fees can be less where the lawyer’s role is limited. Where there are few settlement meetings, less complex matters, and clients are amicable, the cost will be at the lower end of the range.
Where matters are more complex, more meetings are required and conflict is higher, cost will be at the higher end of the range and could well extend.
Where matters require litigation or arbitration, or several mediation sessions, cost may move well above this range. However, once familiar with your case, your lawyer can provide a cost estimate based on the expected phases of the litigation.
In some instances, it is necessary to retain an expert, such as a psychologist to give advice about children and parenting arrangements, or accountants to give tax and other financial advice.
Other costs include court costs to file documents (e.g., filing a Statement of Claim, retaining a process server to personally serve the spouse, appraisals of houses, business valuations, etc.). In most cases, disbursements are not significant. They are, however, charged as a separate expense.
Limiting Legal Costs
No one can know exactly how the negotiation will unfold, whether it will be successful and, if not, how many court applications and litigation steps will be required.
However, if the parties are amicable and work together, the client has a lot of control over the cost. WFL bill’s every 2 weeks for the work done in that period, rather than on the basis of stages in the process. This allows our clients to be updated regularly on what they are being charged.
Methods of Payment
Most law firms will require the client to pay a deposit on fees called a retainer. The retainer is typically held on account and the monthly accounts are paid by clients on their credit cards. The retainer is typically applied to the last invoice and any funds remaining are then returned to the client.