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Flat fees in Domestic Relations
Dear Sam and Group,
I practice in Cleveland, Ohio and primarily focus on domestic relations
matters and criminal law cases. Having practiced for more than 30 years, I
have read the literature on flat fee billing and value billing in divorce
cases and have tried to implement flat fee billing at one time or another.
Due to the pitfalls in divorce cases, it is not prudent to utilize flat fee
billing in divorce cases unless, 1) The case involves a shot term marriage
with no children or 2) You have a very sophisticated client. Sophisticated
means your client has been to the alter more than one time. In Ohio, if your
client is seeking for her/his spouse to contribute fees, there is a
requirement to present testimony setting out several factors, the most
important of those factors being time allocated and hourly fee charged.
Unlike divorce or other domestic relations cases, all my criminal cases are
charged flat fee. Depending on the client, I might have to set up tiers,
i.e. plea versus trial, although my preference is to use a single flat fee.
In the courts I practice in, criminal cases move much quicker and have less
pitfalls. You get burned once in a while but overall it works for me.
Elliott I. Resnick