I start Part II with a general advice that I often give my clients: The final decision to reach a final agreement rests with you because you are the one who has to live with it. No one else is going to have to deal with that decision and no one else should make that decision for you. As an attorney I see it as my job to explain the consequences of the terms of a separation agreement by explaining the advantages and disadvantages of those terms so my client can make an informed decision. But after understanding the consequences, the client is the one who has to decide whether s/he is comfortable with that decision.
With that said, one of the benefits of reaching and signing a separation and property settlement agreement that I alluded to in Part I is lowering your legal and attorney’s fees. Everyone has heard of outrageous legal fees that a family member or a friend spent on their contentious divorce case. In Maryland and (other states) attorneys are prohibited from entering into a contingency fee agreement with clients in divorce and custody cases. That means your divorce attorney should not and cannot enter into an agreement with you that will be based on a percentage of the marital assets and/or alimony that you may receive. As a result, many divorce lawyers charge their clients based on an hourly fee schedule. Obviously, if you are able to reduce the number of hours that your family law attorney works on your case then you will have lower legal fees for your divorce case. As an experienced family law attorney in Maryland I would be remiss if I did not mention that many cases are settled by reaching a separation agreement that is reached on the day of the trial or just a few days before the trial. Unfortunately, by then many hours of legal work were already spent by your divorce lawyer and lowering your legal fees will be limited to the time that your lawyer would have had to spend to attend the trial and for post-judgment matters, if any.
You should also keep in mind that certain cases and certain issues require hiring an expert witness, which could come at a significant cost too. A separation agreement that at the very least is fair and reasonable will help reduce your legal fees significantly.
This article is a Part of series of articles by Kamkari Law regarding Separation Agreements in Divorce Cases in Maryland. For additional information and to have full context please read my additional articles on this subject.
Author: Shane Kamkari, Esq. is an experienced divorce attorney whose offices are based in Bethesda, Montgomery County Maryland. Shane has handled and litigated hundreds of divorce cases in courts of many counties in Maryland since 1998. The areas in which Kamkari Law practices are Montgomery County, Frederick County, Howard County, and Prince George’s County.