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Divorce, legal separation, child custody, child support, spousal support/alimony, property and debt division, divorce mediation, collaborative law and other family law services are available through 1-800-DIVORCE in all major cities throughout the United States and Canada.

 What You Need to Know About Divorce Lawyers With Free Consultation

When you are facing the stress and expense of a divorce, it is natural to think that one of the first things you should look for is a free consultation with a local divorce lawyer.

Should You Want a Free Consultation?

Free consultations are heavily advertised by divorce lawyers all over the web. That’s because a free consultation is often a better deal for the divorce lawyer than the divorce consumer.

But “free” must be good, right? “Free” CAN be good, but “free” may not be what you want. That’s because in most divorce cases your goal should be to keep your overall cost low, not just one cost component, such as the initial consultation. The complete cost you will pay for your whole divorce is more important than a free consultation up front.

Uncontested Divorce – Probably NO Free Consultation

There are two categories of divorce – contested and uncontested. By some estimates, uncontested divorces are now 75-80% of all divorces.

An uncontested divorce is simply any divorce in which you and your spouse/partner will not contest or legally dispute any issue in your case. It doesn’t mean that either of you are happy. It doesn’t even mean that there are no disputes between you. It just means that neither of you will be disputing any issue legally. Any actual disputes are considered by BOTH of you NOT to justify a much higher traditional divorce lawyer retainer fee on a contested case.

An uncontested divorce is definitely the best way to go, if possible.

Contested Divorce – Get a Free Consultation

Contested divorces are those in which you and your spouse/partner will be disputing at least one issue. All contested cases will eventually become uncontested if both parties remain alive long enough.

Contested cases become uncontested by either mediation, negotiation and/or litigation until no disputes remain. They are expensive and they will generally involve a retainer fee of $3500-$7500-$10000 and way up (depending on the lawyer’s experience level, how good s/he claims to be, the lawyer’s interpretation of the facts of your case and how much money you have, which you will be telling the lawyer in advance).

After the retainer has been eaten up (don’t worry, it will be) at maybe $300-$450 an hour, you will be billed hourly at usually the same rate until the case has been settled or one of you runs out of money or dies.

Know What Trends Favor You!

Right now, divorce law practice is extremely competitive.  There are way too many divorce lawyers and way too many lawyers who say they could handle divorce if only someone would hire them. It is a buyer’s market that favors you, the divorce consumer. But you have to recognize and avoid the traditional pitfalls while taking advantage of the newer trends that are your friends.

One of the current developing trends in US divorce law practice is lower flat-fee unbundled document review legal service packages. Those packages are perfect for uncontested divorces. In this way, many divorce law practices have become non-litigation practices.

The divorce lawyer structures several flat-fee packages depending on the facts of your case and the services you want the lawyer to perform and those you would rather do yourself. For example, you might be prepared to file your legal documents yourself at your local court and to arrange for service of process on your spouse rather than to pay a divorce lawyer to perform those relatively easy but time consuming tasks. 

You simply pick the uncontested divorce package that suits the facts of your case and your budget. If your divorce remains uncontested and no unexpected issues arise, you will already know your total cost up front.

Such unbundled packages will contain a consultation component. For example, a package may contain 2 or 3 15-minute phone/zoom calls or a fixed number of email responses from the lawyer. You can purchase more consultation if you need it.

However, unbundled legal packages for uncontested divorce will likely not be offered with a free consultation up front. At least, not unless the unbundled package is not as cheap as it should be.

It is very difficult, in a competitive market, for a divorce lawyer who would like to remain in business, and you DO want your divorce lawyer to remain in business, to offer BOTH a free consultation AND a low cost flat-fee package in the same case. If you only get one of those, it’s definitely the low-cost flat-fee package that you really want.

What If You’re Not ABSOLUTELY Sure Your Case is Uncontested?

So what to do if you are reasonably sure that your divorce is and will remain uncontested but you do have a question or two you’d like to be answered by a lawyer BEFORE you proceed. Often such answers determine whether your divorce will remain uncontested.

You have three choices. You can either (1) try to find a divorce lawyer who offers free consultation, (2) pay for a consultation or (3) you can hire the low-cost unbundled divorce lawyer and then just use one or more of your phone/zoom calls to ask your questions. Yes, you will have paid more money than the cost of a paid consultation, but the alternative was to pay for BOTH a $200-$300 30-minute consultation and an uncontested flat-fee package.

If you opt to try the free consultation route, BEWARE. You may receive a small amount of actual legal advice if the lawyer believes that is necessary to keep you on the phone. 

However, for the practical economic reasons stated above, a divorce lawyer who offers free consultation is not a low flat-fee unbundled uncontested divorce lawyer. S/he is a traditional retainer fee and hourly treadmill lawyer.  The traditional lawyer’s entire purpose in a “free consultation” is to get you to hire him or her at a huge retainer fee. That’s all. Why would a lawyer in business give away unnecessary free information or advice to a consumer who hasn’t yet hired him or her?

Also, the lawyer is going to be much better than you at the “game” of free consultation.  The lawyer will likely have done this dozens, if not hundreds, of time. They are listening to your innocent explanation of your case for two things: indications of how much money you have and what are your greatest fears in the case.

Their sole purpose is to scare the crap out of you about something that MIGHT happen in your case (but almost certainly won’t) UNLESS you hire them. Don’t fall for it.  It’s a dishonest and expensive trap. You only need this traditional lawyer if your case is known to be contested or unexpectedly becomes contested.

How To Handle What MIGHT Happen

A headache may be a brain tumor, but it probably isn’t. You don’t hire a brain surgeon (traditional lawyer) as soon as you get a headache. You take an aspirin and lie down (unbundled uncontested package). 

The intelligent way to handle what MIGHT happen in your case is to know about the possibility in advance and then watch to see if it begins to happen. The uncontested divorce lawyer will advise you of any REALISTIC potential problems in your case in one or more of those included phone/zoom sessions after you’ve hired him or her for a flat-fee package.  S/he does that realistically because s/he has no need to scare the crap out of you.

S/he has already brought you through the door at a lower cost.

If the potential problem does occur, then you take care of it through bigger and more-expensive packages offered by that same lawyer. However, you don’t pay more unless there is an existent reason for doing so. You don’t pay more just because a lawyer tries to scare you.

 On the other hand, if your case will be contested (or if technically uncontested but also contains domestic violence issue or threats of domestic violence), forget about low flat-fee unbundled legal services packages. Under those circumstances, whether you like it or understand it or not, you will need, and be best served by, a traditional full-representation lawyer as describe above with a high retainer fee and eventually the billable hour treadmill. That may not be a welcome recommendation, but we assure you that it is a good one.

PLEASE NOTE: All 1-800-DIVORCE law firms continent-wide are individually owned and operated. Because of the reasons stated above, 1-800-DIVORCE takes a completely neutral approach to whether a local divorce lawyer offers free consultations or not. We are much more interested in whether that local divorce lawyer offers low flat-fee unbundled packages in uncontested divorce because they are more beneficial to you, the divorce consumer. 

Your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer may offer a free consultation or may not. Ask them if a free consultation is offered under the facts of your case, but do not be surprised or dismayed if they do not make that offer. That may not be a bad thing at all. Be sure to ask also about low flat-fee unbundled services for uncontested divorce.

Oh yeah. And You’ll NEVER Forget Your Divorce Lawyer’s Phone Number, Whether They Offer Free Consultation or NOT!

But there’s more! In the future, whenever a friend, colleague or relative needs similar assistance, you won’t be saying to them, “My divorce lawyer was great. I can’t remember his name but he has an office somewhere in town. I’ll try to find his email.” Instead, you will be able say one thing,  “Just call 1-800-DIVORCE. That’s what I did!”

The 6 Best 1-800-DIVORCE Lawyer Hiring Tips

Keep Your Divorce Local

Your divorce is local.  Keep it that way. Your 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer knows your local courts and judges and their unique policies and practices.  

Keep Your Divorce Professional

Your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer is highly educated and trained in the law and is professionally licensed by your state.  

Keep Your Divorce In-House

While all 1-800-DIVORCE law firms are independently owned and operated, most 1-800-DIVORCE lawyers are trained and skilled not only in drafting divorce pleadings,…..

Keep Your Divorce Realistic

Many 1-800-DIVORCE law firms offer unbundled services.  That means you do not retain the lawyer in the traditional sense to handle…

Keep Your Divorce Under Control

Most 1-800-DIVORCE lawyers are experienced and skilled in the cost-effective methods of virtual law practice. This is even more so since C-19.

Keep Your Divorce Affordable

Most nationwide online divorce providers charge you $300-$3500 just to prepare the most basic state divorce papers.

A non-lawyer online divorce provider will likely be located far away and will be clueless about your state’s laws and your local Rules of Court. Online divorce providers claim to know how to handle divorces in all 3000+ counties in the US – an impossibility.

You can make an appointment to see your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer if the need arises. 

If you hire a non-lawyer online divorce provider, it will be the blind leading the blind. And when things go wrong, which they will, you will never get face time with that online provider and you will rarely be able to reach them on the phone or by email. Find a local divorce lawyer. Find the best divorce lawyer near me.

If you hire an unregulated online divorce outfit for $300-$1000 and end up paying for their mistakes forever, that’s NOT a cheap divorce.

Divorce is tough enough already! Don’t go it alone. Find the best  divorce lawyer near me through 1-800-DIVORCE.

Your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer is required to maintain a professional and confidential relationship with you.  S/he is required to handle your case with the highest ethical standards.  S/he is required to take continuing legal education and professional responsibility courses.

Non-lawyer online divorce providers are NOT staffed by lawyers.  They are not licensed or bonded.  They get on-the-job training only! You will have no effective recourse should you be treated dishonestly or incompetently by an online provider.

Search for “online divorce problems” and you will have plenty to read.  Many online providers are truly terrible.  A few are downright fraudulent. If you get caught with a bad one, you will need a lawyer, and much more money, just to get your case sorted.

Don’t take that risk when a local solution exists at a similar cost.  Use 1-800-DIVORCE to find the best divorce lawyer near me.

…including emergency orders, disclosure laws, negotiation of settlements and trial work but also in mediation or collaborative law – should your case be suitable for those methods either now or later on.

Non-lawyer online divorce providers only provide the most basic divorce papers. For you to obtain any additional services through a non-lawyer, they would have to make a cold referral to a lawyer in your area.

Why not start off with the best divorce lawyer near me, such as your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer, who will already know the facts and issues of your case if additional services become necessary?

Use 1-800-DIVORCE to find the best divorce lawyer near me.

…every single aspect of your case, which you may not need in an uncontested case where you and your spouse will not be disputing any issues in the divorce or the divorce itself.

Traditional legal representation, where the lawyer handles every single aspect of your case, including court filing and service of process, can easily carry a retainer fee of $3500-$7500+ – even for an uncontested case.  And once that retainer fee is eaten up, you go on a billable hour treadmill – often at $300-$450 per hour.

Traditional (or full) representation is NOT as cost-effective because you are paying a lawyer to perform simple actions that you can do for yourself just as effectively.

In an unbundled representation (sometimes called, “limited scope representation”), you use the lawyer only where you need him or her: for a case strategy session, for document preparation and/or review, for a legal rights checkup and/or an occasional email or phone call, when necessary, to clarify a point or two.  

Unbundled packages are a much smarter and more cost-effective approach – particularly if your case is uncontested. And you still have all of the benefits of a professional relationship with the lawyer. And of course, full traditional representation is available should you prefer it at any time.

Be sure to ask your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer about the availability of unbundled flat fee services.

Whether unbundled or not, it is always a good starting point to use 1-800-DIVORCE to find the best divorce lawyer near me.

C-19 has definitely forced more lawyers to adopt more legal services using ever-advancing technology.

The delivery of legal services online is standard – with technologies such as video-conferencing, cost-effective digital marketing and the use of powerful specialized software to track cases and crunch the huge amounts of financial data and paperwork involved in modern divorce and family law cases.

As a result,  the lawyer’s work-product and response times are far better than in traditional representation.  Your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer is NOT your grandmother’s divorce lawyer!

Be sure to ask your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer about the availability of cost-reducing and efficient virtual law practice techniques.

Forget EVERYTHING you thought you knew about hiring the best divorce lawyer near me.

They don’t prepare your local county docs.  

The largest online provider does not even offer a Marital Settlement/Termination Agreement – the most important document in your case.

$300-$3500 is a remarkably high fee for what little is provided. And no, that $3500 fee for a non-lawyer online divorce provider is not a misprint.

For $300-$3500, you also get no legal advice.  No one looks at your case professionally or from the perspective of your own personal interests.  No one assesses your future legal and financial positions consequent upon your divorce.  No one advises you of your rights during your case in order to protect and ensure your future or that of any children.  

With an online provider, you are essentially on your own, paying $300-$3500 for a very few prepared docs.

Again, all 1-800-DIVORCE law firms are independently owned and operated. However, most 1-800-DIVORCE law firms offer free consultations – often on 1-800-DIVORCE – always a good first step to explore your rights and the likely outcome of your case.  

Most 1-800-DIVORCE law firms employ some combination of today’s two major family law practice trends: (1) virtual law practice; and (2) unbundled services tailored to the facts of your case.

The result is that your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer can often offer you a professional, licensed, efficient uncontested divorce service in the range of $1000-$2500, depending on the facts of your case.  This is a far more valuable offer than any unlicensed unregulated document seller can provide.

1-800-DIVORCE X 11

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Keep 1-800-DIVORCE in Mind

If you’ve made the difficult personal decision to terminate your marriage or to seek other critical family law relief, you should proceed at your pace and at your comfort level.

So continue to think and please keep us in mind. We know you’ll remember 1-800-DIVORCE.

Remember also that you want a bold competitive divorce lawyer who stands out from the me-too lawyer-crowd. You don’t want a lawyer to look after your legal and economic future if s/he doesn’t even compete and look after his or her own future.

1-800-DIVORCE humor