One-off consultation / first meeting
We offer a one-off consultation for people who need advice on a range of issues. For example, if you are thinking of separating and you need advice on asset division, child or spousal support costs and child visitation. This is a one hour appointment. If you are able to, it is useful if you provide us with a completed relationship property questionnaire and a full background to your situation. We review this prior to our meeting so that our time together can be spent focusing on the key issues. Pre-separation is the time when we most often see people for a one-off consultation, when they are looking to make some big decisions and want to understand their rights and options. We will outline the steps you should be taking now to protect you and your family in the future. The cost for this consultation is $500 plus GST and we request payment at the end of the meeting.
Once you have engaged us, there are 3 different fee options
1. Fixed fee We offer a fixed fee, also known as a flat fee. This is where we agree a charge up front, for all the work we will do on your case. Fixed fees are best suited to the filing of court documents such as affidavits, settlement conferences or for court hearings when the case is for a set period of time. Most of our clients prefer to engage us on a fixed fee basis, so they know that no additional fees will be incurred if their case takes longer than expected.
2. Pay by the hour The alternative is to pay for our work by the hour. Our fees on this basis are: Jeremy Sutton $490 + GST per hour Law clerks and barristers $150 – $300 + GST per hour GST is normally only payable if you are based in NZ. This method is best for ongoing communications between the lawyers and the court, where there is uncertainty as to the next steps. For example, when court proceedings have not been issued.
3. Combination of fixed fee and pay by the hour In some cases, we will suggest there is a combination of the two methods.
The first meeting
At our first meeting, we will outline the options available to you for settling your case. We will also advise the relevant fee for each option and provide an estimate of the time to completion. Advice of the fee and the steps to settle your case, are normally provided to you in writing within 24 hours of our initial meeting. There will be two or more lawyers assigned to your case.
Once you have engaged us, we will ask you to pay a retainer for our services. This retainer will normally be placed in the trust account of the instructing solicitor, and fees are deducted from that trust account as the matter proceeds. We will bill you in installments on a regular basis, around every 3-4 weeks.
Some cases incur Court costs, for example, the Court will charge a fee for processing a divorce. These are costs are payable by our clients and are not included in our fee. We will also explain these amounts to you in our first meeting.
We are not currently accepting any legal aid work.
We accept payment of our fees by credit card, eftpos or cash at our office. You can also make a payment via internet banking. There is a 2% fee charged on credit card payments.
Keeping your fees at a lower level
The best way to keep costs low is to work with the separated partner to come to an agreement. The more amicable your relationship, the quicker and less expensive the process will be. You can do a lot of the preliminary work yourself. For example, if you are intending to apply for a Parenting Order, write out the history of your relationship and your proposals, including the contact you want your ex-partner to have with the children.
“The information posted on this website is prepared for a general audience, without investigation into the facts of any particular case. This information is no substitute for legal advice and does not create a lawyer-client relationship; you are advised to consult with a lawyer on any legal issue.”