Table of Contents

Calculation of Fees

The estimation of fees for a family law matter is no easy task. Essentially there are three factors which determine the cost in a family law matter:
1. Level Of Complexity
Given that family law requires the redistribution of assets and income, it brings in several other areas of law.

In virtually every family law matter, we are dealing with standard family issues of support for children or spouses. The division of property will often include real estate law, pension law and the income tax implications relating to that. For persons who are self employed, considerations of corporate law, employment law and the regulations, both Federal and Provincial, that deal with those corporations may also come into play. Consequently, the greater the degree of the level of analysis, the greater the costs are likely to be.
2. Conflict
The relationship of the parties will always be a determinative factor in the cost to complete a settlement.

Though much of the determination of family law issues revolve around the practical redistribution of income and property, the reasons behind the dissolution of the marriage will often play a significant role in determining the level of cooperation and conflict between the parties.

Often, the parties to a separation are in different stages. One party may have been contemplating the separation for a significant period of time while the other is in denial.

The higher the degree of conflict between the parties, the more likely additional time will be required to effect a resolution.
3. Organizational Skills Of The Parties
The more organized a party may be, the less it will cost to complete the matter.

For example, we will be asking you to complete a Financial Statement. If you complete that Financial Statement comprehensively and provide accurate and consistent documentation to back up the assets and liabilities declared in the Financial Statement. The cost to complete the financial analysis will be modest, particularly if you provide a tabbed and indexed file or binder of your disclosure. Conversely, it will cost considerably more to complete a financial statement if you deliver if you provide us with a plastic garbage bag stuffed with miscellaneous statements and bits of paper.

We often suggest that you set up a binder in which you organize email, correspondence and financial documents. we also suggest you keep notes of all our meetings and telephone conferences. As indicated above, we bill according to time expended. If you ask us the same question five times, we will bill you five times for the same answers.
Litigation
In the event that the matter goes to litigation, it is important to note that litigation can assume a life of it’s own. Litigation is enormously expensive and should be viewed only as a last resort. Once a Court process begins, with the accusations, allegations and mutual blame that is necessary to fuel what is essentially an adversarial process, it is often difficult to stop. It is well within the realm of possibilities that litigation can go well into five figures, even on a relatively uncomplicated matter.

Consequently, it is very difficult to provide a blanket or ball park estimate of fees without an analysis of each individual matter. Each marriage is unique and consequently, there are resolutions for the dissolutions of a relationship are also unique.
Mediation
Mediation is more often than not the most cost effective way to reach an agreement. In most cases, in order to be successful, the parties to mediation should be on reasonablely good terms and capable of working together to find common ground. Mediation is difficult to provide where the parties are of unequal bargaining power, there are control issues between the parties or there is a history of abuse or violence.

Again, the cost mediation services will vary according to the factors listed above. However, due to the fact there there is one primary mediator and each parties’ legal counsel are providing advice on an “as needed” basis, the costs are more modest.
Collaborative Family Law
Generally speaking, the costs of Collaborative Family Law fall between that of the standard resolution model of negotiations between counsel and the costs of mediation.
Fees and Retainers
We generally ask for a retainer to be provided when a file is opened. The retainer is based upon an estimate of the fees required for the tasks to be completed. We usually will ask for a retainer sufficient to cover the costs anticipated for a particular Court process or for the work anticipated for the coming month.

Any unused retainer funds shall be returned to you upon completion of the matter.

Many clients will authorize the use of a credit card or auto debit to avoid any disruption in work to be completed.

We will keep a record of the time spent on your file and will apply an hourly rate of $380.00 for the services of Gerald Yemensky for non-mediation matters and/or $395.00 for the services of Gerald Yemensky with regard to medation and arbitration matters and/or $325.00 for the services of Alison Campbell, and/or $285.00 for the services of Karla Policelli and/or $195.00 for the services of Jennifer Williams. The hourly rates are intended to be a "control" based on our overheads and costs of carrying on practice. Please note that the time engaged in telephone conversations and correspondence will be docketed and charged. To keep you advised of developments, you will receive copies of pertinent correspondence and documentation, both sent and received.

Disbursements will be additional to fees. These are the actual out-of-pocket expenses which we incur on your behalf.

Please note that both disbursements and fees are subject to HST which is payable when an account is rendered. Consequently, it is imperative that appropriate retainers be provided as necessary.

It is our practice to bill the account on a monthly basis and provide you with a full report of all charges, fees and work done on your file at that time. We encourage you to feel free to discuses with us any issues that arise from your review of the account.

It is an unfortunate reality that legal services and access to the legal system is very expensive. The costs of maintaining a practice are prohibitive and these costs are reflected in the fees we must charge. As such, accounts are due when rendered. It is with regret that we must inform you that it is only in the rarest of circumstances that we can continue to provide services on a file in the event that an account is in arrears for a period greater than 30 days. Accounts receivable become a cost to the practice that, in effect, must be carried by all of our clients. We do not feel that this is fair to our other clients.