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Family Law Costs: What Do Your Fees Cover

It’s no secret that Family Law proceedings can cost a fair amount, but quality advice and support is always worth the investment, especially when our families are involved. If you have just begun the process of finding a Family Lawyer and want to better understand the fees you can expect, we have outlined what those fees are and the inclusions. As with any legal representation, the course of action and the subsequent price will always vary, so use this article as a guide and reach out to our Family Law specialists for a more tailored fee breakdown based on your individual circumstances.

Cost disclosure estimates

The Uniform Law Act 2014 stipulates that cost estimates must be provided, and while simple in theory it is difficult to accurately provide a blanket estimate without taking individual factors into account. A Family Lawyer will always aim to resolve a matter without recourse to litigation, Of course if a resolution is not reached quickly and by consent then the costs will increase.  In the event of new and existing Family Law matters continuing, then there may be costs that were not considered in any initial cost estimate. Factors that may impact costs would be:
  • Further applications made to the Federal Circuit Court of Family Court (preparing and/or attendance)
  • Further court appearances
  • Meetings with your Barrister
  • Liaising with expert witnesses
  • Preparation of Barrister briefs, court documents and Affidavits 

Communication and support cost

Private Family Law practice will charge on an hourly basis, which is commonplace for Law professionals. With this in mind, it is important that clients understand that emails and telephone communication will incur a cost as a Family Lawyer is extending their time and advice. Cost estimates will factor in standard communication requirements, but if those needs exceed a reasonable amount of communication, then further costs may need to be considered. When receiving your cost estimate and having preliminary discussions with your Family Lawyer, gauge what sort of communication frequency you can expect. Generally speaking, there will be a meeting to finalise Court documents and to discuss instructions, but further meetings and conferences outside of this will contribute to increased costs

Third-party disbursements

Family Law covers a number of areas, and so the third party disbursements are going to vary depending on the scope of your situation. Clients seeking Family Law representation for property issues will have to incur fees for accountants, valuers, forensic accountants, application fees, Barrister fees, and other services related to that property matter. When looking at child matters, then the fees might include family reports, application fees, psychiatric assessments, and more. If your matter covers both property and children, then naturally those costs will be inclusive of more activities and services.  

Is it possible to keep costs down?

The most significant way in which clients can keep costs down is to be willing to mediate a resolution in a timely manner. Of course, this is not always possible and does not take into account the often complex scenarios discussed in Family court, but a prompt outcome can significantly reduce fees. Similarly, acting in accordance with the court and following directives will also stand you in good stead to avoid more fees.  Working with the professional team of Family Law specialists will also allow you access to the best resources and advice, thereby reducing the need for revisions and other activities that add to fees. If it’s the cost that is keeping you from proceeding with a Family Law matter, an experienced lawyer can work to provide the most accurate estimate based on the information you have. Clients should also think about the other fees and costs that might be associated with your legal proceedings. This may be childcare fees, costs of babysitting, time off work to appear in court and legal appointments, and other logistical considerations that come with having children and working towards a legal resolution. Your family lawyer can go over these specific fees with you so that you can appropriately forecast the overall cost and know where your legal fees are going.  Our Lawyers can work with you to reach an outcome for your family. Contact Oxford Partners today to understand what fees relate to your circumstances and how these fees will be itemised.