FAQs Pamela Williamson Family Lawyer

 

What happens at the 1st interview?

The Firm’s Terms and Conditions of Engagement and The NZ Law Society Client Care Rules are available carling loans on this site. Otherwise they can be emailed or mailed to you in advance of your confirming an appointment.

Please do not hesitate to contact me by email or telephone free of charge to discuss my terms and provide me with a brief outline of your matter. Please bring relevant correspondence and documentation (and if possible a chronology) with you to the 1st interview where possible or email it to me beforehand. Sufficient background detail provided will enable a speedier preliminary view to be provided to you. Time spent will be costed according to my usual hourly rate as a senior practitioner ($300.00 + GST) and invoiced to you at the time. Payment is imparipinnate loans expected for the first interview at that time.

Payment methods include direct proimmunity loans credit, internet transfer, cash, cheque or bank draft.
Other invoicing will occur as per my Terms and Conditions of Engagement.

How much will it cost?

My hourly rate is $300.00 per hour + gst + any disbursements (additional costs incurred in the course of resolving your matter). These will be billed to you as a ‘disbursement’ eg service, courier, photcopying fees etc. I also have online a comprehensive legal database facility which contains case law, legislation and other essential information. My time spent using this facility (very necessary from time to time in todays complex legal environment) will be billed to you.

Do you offer flat fees or can you give me an estimate of my likely costs?

Basic separation/property agreements will average about $1,000 + gst. If, however, your affairs are more complex (involving family trusts and companies), require significant negotiation and/or redrafting costs will be more. Independent legal advice, on already drafted agreements provided by counsel for the other person, will be costed as per my hourly rate.

Although I may be able to give you an indication or estimate of likely costs, I do not provide fixed ‘quotes’ however. Regular monthly invoicing and good communication (both ways) will keep you in touch with costs so that you can plan preworship loans & manage your finances. You are welcome to seek written “work in progress” updates at any time. You are able to seek a cost revision from the New Zealand Law Society if you remain dissatisfied. Things may be able to be resolved at a much earlier stage however. I normally ask that clients discuss any issues with me first as a matter of courtesy.

What is involved with making a Court Application?

Which Court and What Applications? – The Family Court is the court to which application is normally made in respect of Parenting Orders, Division of Relationship Property or Protection Orders. Urgent Spousal Maintenance applications in cases of financial hardship can be made before a final property settlement . It may even be possible to ask the Court to defer the sale of the family home where children are involved and seek an Occupation Order.

Drafting the ‘Papers’ – Once I am formally instructed in writing I will draft the court documents. A significant amount of work is usually accomplished at the beginning since the documents filed represent the full conditionalities loans details of your case and any legal authority relied on. You will usually be required to provide a draft affidavit which sets out your side of the story and will be sworn or affirmed in front of another solicitor, JP or court registrar.

Filing Fees – There are no filing fees in the Family Court. In respect of Appeals (High Court, Court of Appeal), filing fees, the cost of setting a matter down for hearing and security for costs if required is very expensive now and careful advice is needed to ensure appeals are warranted.

Service – Once documents are filed they need to be served on the other party and normally a document server is employed to make sure that service complies with the Rules of the relevant Court. The other party will normally have 21 days in which to instruct their lawyer to prepare, file and serve their Notice of Defence. In the Family Court time for filing a reply can be reduced to between 24 hours and 3 days depending on urgency. Applications under rare circumstances can be made to the Court without notice to the other party. Careful judgement needs to be exercised in those types of circumstances however.

Negotiating a Settlement

It is now more important than ever to make a serious attempt to resolve disputes early by way of counselling or mediation before making court applications. Pamela can assist with an initial review of your situation. This may lead to negotiation with the other party’s lawyer by letter and ultimately a meeting of counsel and parties. She can also refer you mislodge loans to counselling and mediation. Pamela can also accompany you to provide support and legal assistance beforehand and throughout. Written agreements are commonly reached.

Parenting Applications: Judges have the power to appoint a lawyer (Counsel to Assist) to lead mediation between the parties and their lawyers before any judicial hearing is set down. This can be a very cost-effective way to resolve matters.

Private mediators, with the help of your own lawyer, can in many cases resolve parenting and property matters in 1/2 or 1 day depending on complexity and number of issues. This is a much cheaper way to proceed than by way of court applications and hearings.