Marivonne R. Essex, "The Red Headed Lawyer"
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The Truth About Legal Fees

Posted July 19th, 2021 | by The Red Headed Lawyer

One of the first bits of wisdom I ever received from my grandfather was “you get what you pay for.” He grew up during the depression and probably learned the hard way that you won’t get something for nothing – there’s always a cost built in somewhere. While we have all become skeptical of grandiose claims, it’s still tempting to grab at those freebies. In my experience, obtaining the best outcome in a divorce case requires an up-front investment. Allow me to tell you why as I provide the benefits of hiring the Essex Firm for your family law needs.

Managing Stress

If you research the list of life’s most stressful events, divorce comes in second (right behind the death of a spouse). No one takes the death of a marriage lightly either. It involves a cascading series of critical decisions, such as how assets should be divided, what kind of support is warranted, and how to provide for children. Each of these questions has life-long implications and could tie you up in knots for weeks – taken together, it could seem like an impossible task. I have 30+ years of experience in family law, and you definitely want experience in your corner during this trying time. I know what works, I know Texas law, and I’ll get the job done with the fewest surprises while keeping stress levels low.

Managing Emotions

It is certainly easy to get lost in emotion during a divorce, and when you do, responses are “in the moment” rather than forward-looking. Arguing about how you feel may seem satisfying at the time but it doesn’t get you any closer to resolving the matter at hand. I will help you ask yourself the tough questions, like is the marriage really over? Are there religious aspects to consider? What will be needed for children of all ages (and sometimes for elderly family members)? I will also help you identify actions and language intended to wound rather than move the parties toward resolution in accordance with the law.

Knowing the Law

Texas law states that property in a divorce case should be done in a way that is “just and right.” The courts will ultimately decide this question, but I will represent your best interests during the division process. First, we will classify property as marital and non-marital. Then, we will assign values – this can be pretty easy (a 401k balance) or more complicated (a family pet). Last, we will come up with a division plan. We will also review documents like prenuptial agreements and consider questions like the length of the marriage and if alimony is applicable. The industry in which one or both spouses work can also be extremely pertinent. Here in the Houston area, there are industry-specific questions for medical practices, for interests in working oil wells or leases, and for the military. You will get the entire benefit of my 30+ years in this practice.

All-Inclusive Cost

Yes, we charge a $350 consultation fee and recognize some practices don’t. But here’s why we do it, and why it is in your best interest to pay it. We know the information we need to accurately assess your unique situation, and we start our consult with these questions. By the time the consult is over, you have real legal advice that is yours to keep. If you choose to hire us, the consult fee is applied as a credit to your total cost. But because we ask the right questions, at the end of the consult we also know enough about your case that we can offer you a flat fee for our services. No hidden fees, no nitpicky charges for emails or extra questions or returning calls or copying. Our fixed price equals one less thing you need to worry about during a very stressful period. We value your time and we value ours too. This is why it is more expensive to settle some divorces – the more income, the more assets and the more possessions a family has, the more there is to discuss and the longer it will take. This is always reviewed during the initial consultation.

You Do Get What You Pay For

At the Essex Firm, I bring my 30+ years of experience to every client meeting. We review all the facts, all the concerns and scenarios, and then I can provide a fixed cost quote for the entire process. No watching the clock and consolidating emails needed – we are just here to represent you and obtain the best possible result. If you don’t want to pay a consultation fee, I’m sure there are practices that will oblige you. But if want to get this done in the least time with the least stress and no surprises, please feel free to schedule an in-person or online appointment.