96% of divorce cases in America are billed by the hour.

In other words, you are billed for every second an attorney works on your divorce. Every two-line email. Every two-minute phone call. Every single thing.

Paying by the hour is giving an attorney an open checkbook. You have no idea what the ultimate cost will be because when you ask, your attorney says, “Well, it depends on a lot of factors. I can’t really give you a specific number. We’ll have to see how things go.”

Again, open checkbook.

Why Divorce Lawyers Bill by the Hour

There are two major reasons, as I see it, why divorce lawyers bill by the hour:

  1. It’s good for lawyers’ pocketbooks.

They get to hide the cost of a case and charge for everything under the sun.

They also bill by the hour because it creates a specific incentive: spend more time (and therefore charge more money) by doing more stuff.

Not necessarily more stuff that benefits the client, but more stuff so they can bill and get paid more.

  1. That’s the way lawyers have done it for a long time.

Lawyers aren’t the most inventive people. They like to stick with stuff that’s worked in the past, and hourly billing has worked for them for quite a while.

But, as we all know, just because something’s old doesn’t mean it’s good.

Why Flat Fees Are Better

Thankfully, not every Utah divorce attorney bills by the hour.

At Brown Law, we do flat fees (or flat rate fees) for divorces.

Flat fees are fundamentally different — and better — than billing by the hour, and here’s why:

  1. No open checkbook: you know exactly what you will pay.

We break up our flat fees, so you know what each stage of your divorce case will cost. No more open checkbook, and no more guessing about what something will cost.

You know what mediation will cost because the price is right there in front of you. Temporary Orders: you know the price. Filing your divorce complaint: there’s the price.

  1. No monthly bills.

When you pay by the hour, you get a bill every month. Those bills are stressful. You don’t know if you’re going to pay $300 or $3000 dollars that month.

With flat fees, you don’t get a monthly invoice. You pay your flat fee and that’s it. No worry. No surprises.

  1. You don’t get charged for emails and phone calls.

From talking with thousands of people, I think the thing people dislike the most about hourly billing is being charged for emails and phone calls.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something like the following: “They charged me .2 hours for a two-line email. It couldn’t have taken more than 20 seconds to read that email.”

With flat fees, you aren’t charged individually for every little thing, so feel free to communicate all you like with your attorney.

  1. You can make better decisions about your case.

When your attorney hides the cost of your case, it’s hard to make good decisions.

For example, if you’re in mediation and your spouse is lowballing you on child custody, you might explore using a custody evaluator. But when you ask your attorney how much going through a custody evaluation will cost, your attorney says, “It depends on how much time it takes.”

Yeah, not helpful. You can’t make a good decision about how to move forward if you don’t know how much the process will cost.

With flat fees, you know how much you will pay your attorney for a custody evaluation, just like you know how much mediation costs, and temporary orders.

Knowledge is power.

  1. Flat fees give you control.

One of the major problems with divorce is people feel like they don’t have control over their lives.

Hourly billing adds to that lack of control since people don’t know what they’re paying for their divorce.

Flat fees allow people to look at their case, look at how much something will really cost, and make a good, informed decision about their divorce.

In other words, they have knowledge and they have control.

No hiding costs. No “It depends.” Just control over your life and your case.

That’s the why behind flat fees for Utah divorce cases.

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