As you know, we are father and son divorce attorneys located in Augusta, Georgia, (and the Martinez, Evans, and Grovetown, Georgia areas). Every day, we handle a number of both uncontested and contested divorces, which involve a number of different issues, ranging from questions about child custody and child support, to child visitation and property and debt division matters.
As divorce lawyers, we also are keenly aware that many of our Georgia divorce clients are going through a difficult time, financially, due to the economy and their divorce. As a result, we sometimes get telephone calls from prospective divorce clients asking if we would be willing to take their divorce case "pro bono," i.e. for free.
The goal of this post is to attempt to explain why it is difficult for a Georgia divorce lawyer to agree to take a divorce case pro bono, or for free. One reason is that it really isn't just for free. In other words, the divorce lawyer would actually lose money, if he or she took the case pro bono. Let me explain. Even if the divorce lawyer charges no legal fees, the divorce lawyer would still actually go in the hole, if he or she must dig into their own pockets to pay for the divorce costs, including divorce filing fees, service fees, court reporter fees, guardian ad litem fees, and on and on!
Another reason why divorce attorneys generally don't take divorce cases on a pro bono basis involves the amount of time which some divorce cases take. In other words, if a pro bono divorce case takes up a large percentage of a divorce attorney's time, over several months, then it makes it more difficult for that attorney to pay the law firm's overhead. Put another way, time spent by a divorce attorney on a "free" divorce case could have been spent generating funds to pay the office overhead from "paying" cases. This may sound cold, or callous, but, simply put, like in any other business, if a family law law firm cannot pay its overhead, then it cannot keep its doors open to help anyone!
As a result, in my opinion, generally, it simply is not practical to ask or expect a Georgia divorce lawyer to take your divorce case pro bono. Instead, we recommend that you seek help from family and friends with the costs of your divorce. We also suggest that you try to work out some sort of reasonable retainer and payment plan with your divorce lawyer.
We, at the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC, attempt to work with prospective clients concerning reasonable fees and payment plans, whenever possible. We also offer very affordable rates -- one-half to one-third what some divorce attorneys charge -- especially for uncontested divorces, (even with children). In addition, we offer free consultations and answer questions from callers about divorce and child custody cases every day! (Many other divorce lawyers charge a fee for a consultation). Finally, nearly every day, we also offer practical, tips, "pro bono," in this divorce blog, for you to discuss with your own divorce lawyer -- for free!