Q: Do I need a lawyer and how much will it cost me?
A: Each and every potential client that walks through the door at the Fender Law Firm has their own unique set of circumstances, concerns and goals. The amount that your case could cost is dependent on the time and work that our experience suggests it is going to cost to help you achieve your goals.
At the Fender Law firm we offer a 30 minute initial consultation free of charge to:
- get an overview of your individual circumstances, including your goals,
- determine if we believe that we can be of service to you in resolving your issue,
- allow you the opportunity to ask the questions you may have regarding your issue, and
- discuss the fee arrangements and costs associated with our representation of you.
One of the first questions we will address is whether or not we believe that your issue will require our services. The South Carolina legal system is set up in a way that there are certain problems that can be taken care of without the necessity of hiring an attorney. These might be simple divorces where the parties were married for a short period of time, have had no children and have not accumulated any marital assets or debt. Based on the facts specific to your case and our experience in representing clients in similar situations, we will let you know if we believe that your case warrants the hiring of an attorney.
If it is determined that your issue would most likely require the services of our office, and we believe that we would be able to help you achieve your individual goals, we will discuss the fees necessary to retain our services.
Depending on the type of case, different types of payment is required.
- Flat Fees – at an amount to be determined is used when the issue is relatively simple or well defined.
- Hourly Rate – usually with a retainer fee that serves as an advance on the hourly rate. The funds are put into a trust account as services are rendered, the funds are withdrawn. You will receive periodic billing statements that will outline these withdraws
- Contingency Based Fees – are used in billing certain types of cases, for instance, personal injury. In a contingency fees arrangement, our firm takes no up-front fees from the client, but there is an agreement that states the firm gets paid a percentage of any settlement received.
At the Fender Law Firm you will always be kept informed about the status of your bill and if there are any questions, we are available to help resolve these issues.
Prior to the commencement of our attorney / client relationship, we will enter into an agreement that will outline the type and amount of our fees, as well as how our office bills for services.
There are some things that clients can do to help keep the cost of their case down. First and foremost, provide the law firm with complete and truthful information. Time and money is often times spent and ultimately wasted by the law firm operating under incorrect or false information. Remember, often times your attorney is only as good as the facts that you provide, and this information will be used in negotiations and determining the best way to proceed with your case.
Q: How Long Does it Take to get a Divorce in South Carolina?
A: This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on several factors. First of all, there are two routes to take in obtaining a divorce in South Carolina. The first is a divorce on no-fault grounds. To go this route the South Carolina law requires that you and your spouse must have been separated for over one year, in other words, you have not lived under the same roof for one year.
The second route to get divorced in South Carolina exists if there are fault based reasons for the court to grant a divorce. These may include Adultery, Physical Abuse, Habitual Drunkenness, or Abandonment. The alleged actions must be the cause of the breakdown of the marriage. Theoretically, if fault grounds can be established, and there are no defenses available for your spouse, your divorce can be finalized three months after filing, but rarely, if ever, does this happen this quickly because of all of the steps that must be taken prior to a final hearing such as discovery and mediation.
Give us a call at the Fender Law firm to discuss your individual situation.
Q: What is Mediation?
A: Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is not only highly successful in helping parties come to an agreement regarding their differences, but participation in this process is also mandatory in many South Carolina Counties before either party may request a contested final hearing in certain types of matters. At the Fender Law Firm we will discuss mediation with you and answer any questions that you may have.
Q: How is Child Support Calculated?
A: Child support is generally calculated by entering several pieces of information into a formula known as the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines take into consideration each parent’s gross income, the existence of other children in the home, the cost of work related child care expenses, the cost of medical insurance premiums for the child and extraordinary medical expenses. Child support may also be affected by the number of nights the child spends with the non-custodial parent. Under certain circumstances the Family Court is authorized to consider a wide range of factors and may deviate from the guidelines.