How We Bill:
- Retainers: In most cases, Plog & Stein requires a “retainer,” which is essentially an initial down payment or deposit for the work our attorneys will perform on your case. Initially, the retainer is your money and goes into our trust account, into your general fund. We bill on a monthly basis from the retainer or other funds held.
*General Retainer Rates:
- $2500+: For one of our experienced Attorneys to start or enter onto a new, non-emergency Family Law case. This includes both pre-decree matters and post-decree matters, such as a modification case.
- $5000+: For cases in which a contested hearing is scheduled to occur, or will likely occur, within 120 days of retention (in these instances, Plog & Stein will make an assessment of reasonable retainer amount in light of the complexities and issues pending before the court).
- $3500: For a restraining order case with no children.
- $4000: For a restraining order case with child issues.
- $10000+: For a Family Law Appeal, whether bringing or defending, in the Colorado Court of Appeals or Colorado Supreme Court.
*Retainers can vary depending on the issues in a case. Plog & Stein reserves the rights to adjust the retainer quoted depending on the facts of a case. At times, Plog & Stein may be willing to combine cases and accept a lower, combined retainer, again depending on the circumstances. Plog & Stein also reserves the right to accept lower retainers in instances it feels are appropriate, which might be done solely at the discretion of Plog & Stein.
- Hourly Billing: In most cases, the attorneys at Plog & Stein are working and billing at their respective hourly rates. Hourly rates vary among the attorneys. Attorney and paralegal work is billed in increments of an hour, based on the work performed.
Flat Fee and Unbundled Billing: Plog & Stein also offers unbundled hourly and flat fee attorney services. This does not include an attorney going to court or formally entering onto a court case, which would require a full retainer. Flat fee billing can include meeting with an attorney for an hour, for a flat fee, generally discounted to $200 for the first hour, for an associate, or $250 for the first hour with a partner. Additional flat fee services, after that first meeting, can include drafting of documents, such as motions, responses, or other documents in a case, for a flat rate. The cost will depend on the job to be done and the anticipated time involved. Follow-up consultations can also be done for a flat fee at the attorney’s normal hourly rate.
Other unbundled services that are not “flat fee” might include hiring us to attend mediation or settlement conferences with you, helping you prepare for court, providing you as-needed advice, or other services, short of entering onto a case and attending court. Unbundled services that are not “flat fee” are paid based on the attorney’s hourly rate and work will be billed in hourly increments, as would be done in a full representation scenario. At Plog & Stein, we strive to be flexible with the unbundled services we offer.
With unbundled services, whether flat fee or hourly billed, the attorney will consult or draft without formally getting onto a court case. In essence, the client pays as he or she goes, without being formally bound by a contract beyond for the piecework to be performed. However, keep in mind that with unbundled, flat fee or hourly billed services, that attorney is still bound to rules regarding attorney-client privilege and confidentiality.
- Consultation Policy: When a potential new client calls or emails, an attorney from Plog & Stein will always be happy to talk to the person for a few minutes to understand the posturing of the case and issues, as well as to provide insights as to what legal options or relief are available. For further, more in-depth analysis or discussion of a case, a potential client will need to come in for a first meeting or “consultation” session (which can also be done by telephone). If Plog & Stein is formally retained to enter onto or start a court case at the time of the consultation session, the fee for the consultation will be credited towards the retainer. For example, if a potential client comes in for a consultation session and pays the required $200, then decides to formally retain the firm to start their new divorce, then only $2300 additional would need to be paid to get them to the $2500 full retainer. For stand-alone consultation or advice sessions, in which formal representation in court does not ensue, we charge a discounted rate for the first hour, as set forth above in the Flat Fee Billing section.
- Expenses and Court Fees: In an Denver area divorce or custody case, there will be various expenses that arise. This can include filing fees taken by a court at the start of a case, as well as mandatory statutory fees required by the court for filing various documents. Plog & Stein will generally pay these fees out of retained funds or bill the client for these fees as the case progresses.Your Colorado family law case may also require other expenditures, such as the cost for subpoenas, service fees for serving documents, expert witness fees, appraisal fees, transcript or deposition fees, and mediation fees. Plog & Stein will generally just bill the initial cost of serving initiating documents a new case. Fees for other types of expenses will be generally paid by the client up front, whether to Plog & Stein or whatever outside, third person will be provided support services.Postage and long distance fees are also billed.
- Billing Questions: At Plog & Stein, we believe in open communication with our clients and welcome any and all questions regarding billing, fees, your contract, or how we bill. In rare instances in which there is a mistake on a bill, we are always happy to discuss and correct any errors we might have made. We pride ourselves on adhering to our word on billing matters.Having collectively handled thousands of cases over the years, we recognize that family law litigation can get costly. As such, we are constantly assessing each case from a cost/benefit analysis standpoint, with the goal of efficiency and cost effectiveness. We believe this is just good business. We try to be reasonable with our billing at all junctures, and to import logic and fairness into the billing process. We do expect compliance with the terms of the contract regarding invoices and payments. We also reserve the right, at the firm’s sole discretion, to make allowances in favor of the client in certain instances. Should you ever have a question about billing or your fee agreement (contract) do not hesitate to let us know.
- Billing: Bills are generated monthly, generally between the 1st and 15th day of the month. Billing, payment terms, billing terms will be as per the contract signed with Plog & Stein.
Understanding Attorney Fees
An important issue for many of our clients is the potential for an award of attorney fees. The cost of litigating a divorce or custody case in Colorado can be costly. Although Plog & Stein, P.C. strives to be cost-effective and efficient, the costs of your case can mount. Fortunately, the Colorado legislature has recognized the cost of litigating divorce, custody, and other family law actions by enacting various statutory sections.
In a divorce or custody case, the court can award attorney fees and costs to one party from the other for various reasons, such as:
- C.R.S. 14-10-119 – Attorney fees are authorized in instances where the parties are on an uneven financial playing field. This usually relates to large income disparity, such as instances in which one party makes $100,000 per year and the other party earns minimum wage. Section 119 can apply to all cases brought under 14-10, including post decree matters such as modifications.
- C.R.S. 13-17-101 – Attorney fees are awarded in instances in which one party in a divorce or custody case behaves in an inappropriate manner, thereby raising the cost of litigation for the other party. Fees under Title 13 are generally awarded for frivolous, groundless, or vexatious conduct in the litigation process. Fees can also be assessed against an attorney who engages in such behavior.
Attorney fees can also be awarded in a remedial contempt of court situation. The rationale behind such an award is that one should not have to expend fees due to another’s violation of court orders. Likewise, fees can be awarded in cases requiring enforcement of visitation or custody orders brought pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-129.5. Fees and costs might also be ordered in instances in which one party fails to comply with rules regarding discovery and disclosure leading to a “motion to compel.”
Our legal team can help you better understand the kind of situations that warrant the award of attorney fees and will assess your case for instances in which we feel you may be entitled to compensation from the other side.
Bill Pay Options for Plog & Stein, P.C. Clients
Retainers and bills can be paid on line, via the links below:
Plog & Stein also accepts cash, money orders, or certified funds. Personal checks are generally not accepted, though Plog & Stein reserves the right to make exceptions regarding personal checks.
For More Information, Speak With Our Denver Divorce Attorneys Today!
When discussing your case with our firm, be sure to bring up your potential request for an award of attorney fees from the other party. Though courts do not always award fees, seeking them in your divorce or custody case may be an appropriate move to help with the litigation costs you incur. We can also defend you against a request for attorney fees.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss your case, including attorney fees.