Friday, May 26, 2017

Do I Need to Attend a Parenting Class?

If you have a shared minor child and plan to be divorced in the State of Georgia you will likely be required to attend a parenting class or seminar. Requirements, schedules, and fees vary by county. “The superior court judges, under whose authority the program shall function, may require any or all parties to attend an educational seminar of no more than four hours in any domestic relations action before the court.” Georgia Superior Court Rule 24.8(B).

The goal of this program is to assist the parents in understanding the impact of divorce on children, reduce potential conflicts, and offer practical solutions to future problems. ” “The seminar focuses on the developmental needs of children, with emphasis on fostering the child's emotional health during periods of stress.”

Information on local county parenting classes are listed below:

Alcovy (Newton and Walton Counties):
  • Fee: $25.00, cash or money order
  • Attendance: Divorce action must be filled with the Court prior to attending the class
  • Completion: Must be attended by both parties within 60 days of the filing date of the divorce
  •  Location: Social Circle Public Safety Building in the Community Room, 138 E. Hightower Trail, Social Circle, Georgia 30025 
  • Dates: 2nd Thursday (Plaintiff) and 3rd Thursday (Defendant) of every month 
  • Time: 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
  • Schedule, based on filing date: 
  • Additional information:

Gwinnett County:
  • Fee: $40.00, cash or money order
  • Attendance: Can be attended at anytime
  • Completion: Must be completed within 31 days of service of the original complaint upon the original defendant
  • Court Note About Attendance: “Appropriate action, including but not limited to contempt, may be taken upon a party's failure to successfully complete the seminar.”
  • Location: Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Conference Room A West Wing, 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046
  • Dates: 1st, 2nd, and 4th Thursday a.m. sessions and 3rd Thursday p.m. session 
  • Times: 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. / 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. 
  • Schedule: 
  • Additional information:

Be sure to check with the filing Court for your parenting class information, requirements vary by county.

Contact the Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC to discuss your family law case, all new consultations are free. Call or email me directly today: 770-466-2700,

What are the Fees for Divorce?

Divorce fees vary by state, county, and law firm. In all divorce cases in Georgia, you will have a filing fee paid directly to the Clerk of Court. Filing fees in Georgia vary by county, below is a list of local Superior Court filing fees:

If you have a shared minor child with your spouse, you may also be required to attend a parenting class/ seminar for an additional Court fee. Programs and fees vary by county. See my post on parenting classes here:

Finally, you will have attorney fees for your divorce. Divorce situations vary greatly from family to family which in turn impacts your attorney fees. “Be sure to get your fee arrangement in writing from your attorney before you enter into any attorney-client relationship.”

The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC offers flat fees for uncontested divorce cases. This process allows you to know your fees ahead of time. Although the firm attempts to provide flat fees for most services, every case is different and may not completely fit into the schedule provided below:
  • Uncontested Divorce Document Production - $1,000
  • Uncontested Divorce with Child(ren) Document Production - $1,500
If your divorce turns into a contested divorce, meaning that you can not reach an agreement with your spouse, then The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC works on a retainer fee agreement. Your starting retainer will be based on your case and is billed against at $200/hour (rates, May 2017 Every contested divorce is different and it is difficult to determine final legal fees, however, it is important to get an estimate from your attorney before you enter into any attorney-client relationship.

Contact the Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation and obtain a quote for your legal needs. 770-466-2700,

Friday, May 19, 2017

Are There Different Types of Legal Fee Agreements?

Yes. “There are a variety of different methods through which a lawyer might charge for legal services, and usually the type of case dictates the type of fee agreement.” Lawyer fees are generally either flat, retainer, or contingency.
  • Flat Fees: Seen when litigation is not involved, provides a set price, often used with document production or review cases. “Some lawyers feel that a flat fee arrangement lets everyone relax and makes for a better attorney-client relationship. You won’t feel reluctant to call or email with a question, and the lawyer can take the time necessary to listen to your concerns and explain things to you without feeling like the meter is running.”
  • Retainer Fees: Used in litigation cases, acts as a deposit, billed against by attorney at an hourly rate, total fees can vary. “The money is placed in an account separate from his operating account, and he bills his time against it as the case progresses.”
  • Contingency Fees: Used in litigation cases, often in Plaintiff's cases, not used in family law cases, total fees can vary. “The lawyer's fee is based on a percentage of the amount awarded in the case. If you lose the case, the lawyer does not get a fee, but you will still have to pay expenses.”

The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC offers all of the above fee agreements depending on your case and legal needs. See website for flat fee pricing and hourly rate.

“At the outset of your case -- and certainly before you officially hire your lawyer -- you need to understand how the attorney will be paid, and get a ballpark estimate of the total cost of the attorney's services and related expenses.” Be sure to get your fee arrangement in writing from your attorney before you enter into any attorney-client relationship.

The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC offers free initial consultations for all new clients. Contact me directly to schedule your consultation and discuss which legal fee agreement is best for you: 770-466-2700,