Common and frequently asked questions
What should I bring to an initial consultation?
In addition to the forms we distribute, you will also need to bring:
- Last 3 years of tax returns, both personal and business;
- Last 6 months of bank statements for all accounts you or your spouse can sign on, if available;
- A complete list of income and expenses;
- A complete list of assets and liabilities.
How are fees set in family law cases?
Each lawyer works on an hourly rate. The hourly rate varies among the lawyers in our firm and are based on their experience and expertise. Costs also depend on numerous factors, including (but not limited to):
- The willingness of your spouse/ex-spouse to cooperate in the information gathering phase of your case;
- Your opposing counsel’s willingness to cooperate in the information gathering phases of your case;
- The number and complexity of the issues involved.
The amount of time required will vary greatly from case to case and we do not charge a “flat” fee. We are prohibited by ethics rules from charging contingent fees except in circumstances limited to collecting unpaid support. We encourage frank discussions of fees and cost of litigation both before commencement of services and during.
Will my spouse be required to pay my attorney’s fees or litigation costs?
Under Oklahoma law, the trial court in its discretion may order either party to pay all or a portion of the fees and costs of the other. The courts are also charged with the responsibility of “weighing the equities” whenever a fee is requested. Ordinarily, this translates into Oklahoma courts requiring the parties to pay their own fees except where one party has been unreasonable either in the positions taken (requiring additional or unnecessary time expenditure) or in very limited circumstances, where one party simply has no ability to pay. It is quite rare that a court ever requires one party to pay all of the fees and costs of another party. Usually the courts apportion property so that unless someone has acted unreasonably in the litigation, the parties would be required to pay their own fees and costs. When the courts do require payment, it is ordinarily only for that portion of one’s fees that were necessitated by unreasonable actions or the other.
Is a contract required for your services?
Yes. Although we do not require a contract for consultations, if we are engaged to represent a client through litigation a contract is necessary. The rules of the Oklahoma Bar Association provide in cases where a lawyer has not regularly represented the client, the basis of the rate or fee shall be communicated to the client, preferably in writing.