Many times, people who agree that a marriage is over and have agreed upon the terms of a Decree of Divorce sometimes called a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage need help to make sure that their documents address everything required and that they meet all the legal requirements. These are referred to by various names, "Agreed Divorce" "Waiver Divorce" "Publication Divorce" "Default Divorce" or "Uncontested Divorce". It should be pointed out that a divorce action is also called a dissolution of marriage.
All are basically similar that in an "agreed divorce" much of the work in a contested divorce is unnecessary. This does not mean however that all of these types of divorce are easy to do and do not need an attorney.
All too often Mr. Lynn has had to help a client fix a problem or problems in a Divorce caused by poorly written forms purchased from a website or from a paralegal. Some problems are minor and can be fixed relatively easily. Some problems cost one side or the other a large amount of money and sometimes, the mistake can't be fixed.
An Agreed Divorce is best for parties who are able to sit down and agree on the terms of their divorce, dividing assets and debts fairly, making agreements regarding child custody, visitation, and support.
Mr. Lynn will represent only one party in an agreed divorce. Mr. Lynn will ask questions about the parties, their financial situation, children (if any), and parenting of each party. He will review the agreement that the parties have reached and advise his client if the Agreement is fair and if it appears to have dealt with all the issues. Mr. Lynn may advise of additional areas that require agreement. If the client does not know some important financial information Mr. Lynn may advise the client not to proceed until that information is produced.
Some of the family situations that call for Divorce documents that are prepared by an attorney are:
Only Lawyers admitted to practice in Oklahoma can appear in Court with you to assist you. A paralegal can't represent you in court. After all, would you want a dental hygienist filling cavities or extracting your wisdom teeth?
MR. LYNN WILL NOT ACCEPT A CASE FOR A WAIVER OR AGREED DIVORCE WHERE THERE ARE CLAIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WITHOUT INQUIRY IN DEPTH AS TO THE FAIRNESS OF AN AGREEMENT.
Currently, it costs $252.14* to file a Divorce actions with an attorney. There is a small fee to have the Clerk issue a Summons in the case should the other side not wish to appear voluntarily. The cost to serve depends on the type of service. The sheriff charges $50.00*. Publication Service in case of an absent party will result in fee-based upon the newspapers billing rates and the length of the notice.
The costs to prepare, file and present an agreed divorce can change depending upon unforeseen circumstances. Because an attorney has an ethical obligation to competently advise or represent a client in all matters that are connected with the attorney's employment, Mr. Lynn does not represent people on fixed fee basis. He may estimate costs and fees but the final bill is always based upon the time spent.
Flat fees can result in overpayment of the attorney or under-representation of the client. If a client pays a $1,000.00 flat fee to solve a matter thinking that a short court appearance will be needed and the matter is resolved after one letter, the attorney has almost certainly been over paid for the time spent. If an attorney agrees to complete a divorce for $1,500.00 for an agreed decree involving custody and support of children without a clause that allows for a change to an hourly fee if the agreement fails, and the agreement breaks down over custody, the attorney has little reason to do the necessary work for his client to obtain the proper result which can result in an unjust result.
In a real case, an individual was seeking a divorce. The attorney quoted a flat fee. When the spouse quit his job, something that should have triggered the attorney to seek additional relief for his client, the attorney did not do the extra work. If the lawyer sought the relief that his client was entitled to, the lawyer would have lost money because of the necessary time that the attorney would spend. The lawyer did not spend the time! Rather than advise the client that the spouse's quitting a job to avoid child support could be fixed by the Court by the "imputing" income to the spouse the attorney did not do the extra work which was not covered by the flat fee and proceeded with an agreed decree costing his client thousands in support. (Note the spouse went back to the same job after the divorce and still paid no support) The client has had to hire a new attorney to fix the problem at an increased cost.
Remember the old adage, "you get what you pay for."
Mr. Lynn does make use of prepared templates and computer programs to minimize time drafting the necessary documents.
Many times, parents of children born out of wedlock need to formalize their parenting agreements as to custody, visitation and support. Formalizing these agreements by entering orders of a court help prevent misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Court Orders for the payment of support share the burden of the costs of raising children and Orders for visitation help keep both parents involved and willing to assist with the financial support of the child.
Presently it costs $142.70* to file a Paternity action with an attorney. There is a $5.00* fee to have the Clerk issue a Summons in the case should the other side not wish to appear voluntarily. The cost to serve depends on the type of service. The sheriff charges $50.00*. Publication Service in case of an absent party will result in fee-based upon the newspapers billing rates and the length of the notice.
There are two different major type of guardianships. Guardianships of children and Guardianships of adults who are for whatever reason unable to manage their own affairs, either temporarily or permanently.
A Guardianship of Children is necessary when a parent or parents are not able or they are unfit to take care of a child. Parents who are temporarily unable due to health, financial or other reasons are often willing to agree to a guardianship to a family member. Parents who are alleged to be unfit are more inclined to dispute the unfitness unless the guardianship is in connection with a Juvenile Court action.
The costs for Guardianship depends on whether or not the ward (the subject of the guardianship) receives some type of social security disability. If they do, the filing is free.
When family members of a Senior Citizen request a guardianship of their Senior relative without presenting medical documentation of a significant disability, Mr. Lynn must meet with the senior citizen to discuss the matter with them.
* Court and Sheriff fees can and do change. Fees have changed recently and will change again November 1, 2016.
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