Fees, Billing, & Accounts

1 | My practice is not restricted to Family Law.

2 | My fees are based on the following elements:

  • the time spent on you behalf
  • the complexity of the issues
  • your potential emotional and monetary exposure
  • the degree of resistance encountered
  • the extent to which any work needs to be performed on an emergency basis
  • the result accomplished, and the extent to which the expertise of this firm contributed to a successful outcome

None of these elements is capable of a precise arithmetic assessment and no such assessment is attempted. Fees are generally based on a factor of my hourly rate and the time spent. Any amount that exceeds the number of hours multiplied by the hourly rate is the result of the weighing of the other elements mentioned.

3 | To determine fees, I keep records of the time spent on your file. These records are kept to the nearest one tenth of an hour, i.e. every 6 minutes, for all activity on your case, including consultations, conferences, telephone calls, e-mails, drafting documents, reviewing notes and documents received and doing legal research. Each hour billed to you is based on actual work done on your particular case.

4 | My present hourly rate is $525.00 per hour and is subject to HST. My law clerks’ fees are billed at 1/2 of my hourly rate.

5 | It may be necessary to increase my hourly rate to meet rising costs and to reflect increased expertise. Your retainer is subject to my right to make such adjustments.

My new year commences on January 1st, and unless you are advised otherwise my fees will be increasing annually.

6 | As of April 1, 1995 all clients commencing a court application will be billed a civil litigation levy surcharge. The transaction levy surcharge is payable by my firm to the Law Society of Upper Canada and is comprised as follows:

$73.45 inclusive of HST
This amount will be automatically added to your account as a disbursement.

7 | It may be sometimes necessary for me to consult outside experts to assist in the preparation and presentation of your case. The two most obvious examples of these are health care professionals (for example, a doctor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist), or an accountant. I may need to consult a health care professional to provide relevant medical information or to conduct a custody and access assessment. Outside accountants may be necessary to assist in preparing and presenting claims for support and property division. It is to be understood that I am permitted to obtain this assistance for you, at prevailing rates, at my discretion.

8 | Disbursements are my out-of-pocket expenses for engaging outside experts, and such items as courier services, photocopying, long distance telephone calls, fax charges, postage, court filing fees, service of documents, and transcripts of examinations. These items are shown separately on my accounts, and are charged to you at cost, in addition to the fee. Most disbursements are subject to HST.

9 | A retainer is required in the amount set out in the schedule below and is paid to my firm in trust, for deposit to your credit. This amount is paid on the understanding that it will be used to satisfy my accounts for legal services and disbursements owing at the time your account is rendered. The amount is arbitrary to some extent, and should not be taken as an estimate for the completion of the work in your particular case. Before the issues are clarified, and before I know the degree of resistance to be encountered, I cannot accurately predict the amount of work to be done, nor the time needed to complete it. Further payments as a refresher on the retainer are required to ensure that the balance in trust at any given time is sufficient to cover the fees for work in progress and the cost of disbursements. When the work on your file is completed, any balance in trust will be refunded.

10 | For certain straight forward matters I have a block fee. Below is a fee and retainer schedule.

 

FEE RETAINER
Initial Consultation

(Maximum 1 hour)

$550.00
Uncontested Divorce

  • no children
  • no financial statement
$950 $1,500
Disbursements (approx.) $700
Uncontested Divorce

  • children
  • financial statement
  • minutes of settlement
$1500 $1,600
Disbursements (approx.) $700
Separation Agreement

  • minor amendments
$2,500 $1,000
Disbursements (approx.) $50
Separation Agreement Cohabitation Agreements and Marriage Contracts requiring negotiation NO BLOCK FEE $2,500
Contested matters including custody, support and property NO BLOCK FEE $5,000
Contested matters of an urgent nature or which are unusually litigious NO BLOCK FEE $7,000

ALL OF THE ABOVE NOTED FEES AND DISBURSEMENTS ARE SUBJECT TO 13% HST UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED

On uncontested divorces the balance of the fees and disbursements are to be deposited with me when you attend to sign your affidavit and prior to the date for the motion for divorce. On agreements or contracts the balance is to be paid at the time of the execution of the agreement or contract.

The above fees are subject to change upon written notice to you. The court disbursements are subject to change without notice.

The fees set out for the uncontested divorce and separation agreement apply only IF THERE ARE NO NEGOTIATIONS AND IF THE MATTER IS TRULY STRAIGHTFORWARD AND AGREED UPON BY BOTH PARTIES. If the matter starts out uncontested and becomes contested, the file will be billed accordingly on an interim basis.

11 | I render interim accounts on a regular basis, usually every 30 – 60 days(time permitting), for fees and disbursements incurred to date. Fees as a general rule are based on the time spent, but where appropriate, will include an additional charge based on the elements referred to earlier. Payment of interim accounts must be made upon receipt. A further retainer will be requested if the file is ongoing. The amount of the retainer will vary according to the nature of the file. Where the work is ongoing in the file, I require a retainer at all times.

I wish to advise you with respect to procedures for outstanding or delinquent accounts. INTEREST PURSUANT TO THE SOLICITOR’S ACT IS PAYABLE ON ALL ACCOUNTS OVER THIRTY DAYS.

If you have any questions with respect to the preceding billing information, please do not hesitate to ask.

REFERRALS

12 | I understand that involvement in a family law matter can be very stressful. I would be pleased to refer you to an appropriate agency or individual in the community if you request.

CONFIDENTIALITY

13 All information in my office is completely private and confidential. All of the details of your case will be handled with the utmost confidentiality and respect for your privacy, by myself and any clerk or secretary employed by me. The privilege of confidentiality between a solicitor and his client is, in law, a privilege which belongs to the client. Therefore, it is up to the client, only, whether or not that privilege is to be waived.