FAQ

Start by connecting with us. You can call direct at 780-705-6776, you can email at kim@mcbainbutzlaw.ca or you can book a complimentary 30 minute phone call with Kim.
It is difficult to predict the cost of your matter because a variety of factors are involved and every matter is very unique. For most family law matters, we charge an hourly rate. In some limited circumstances, we may offer flat fee rates. Please contact us so that we can discuss rates with you.

You have a lot of control over both the tone of your matter and how it will ultimately proceed. You can help keep costs down by:

  • being efficient with your communication to our office,
  • minimizing conflict with your spouse or significant other and working hard to keep matters out of court;
  • educating yourself about the process;
  • seeking help from other professionals (e.g. a counsellor) when you need it; and
  • taking care of yourself during this stressful time.

As part of your initial consultation, we will review some key ways for you to help you keep your legal fees manageable.

If you’ve ever consulted with a lawyer, you may have heard the term “retainer”. A retainer is a lump sum amount of money that a law firm asks you to pay up front before work actually starts on your file.

We will ask you to provide a retainer to our firm before we take on your case. The amount of the retainer will vary depending on your particular circumstances. We will base our retainer on our assessment of your situation, taking into account the complexity of your case, the degree of conflict between the people involved and any upcoming or anticipated court dates.

We hold retainers in our trust account until the completion of your file. This means that we do not use retainers to pay regular monthly bills provided that you pay your monthly bills within 10 days of receipt of the invoice. When you receive your last invoice from us, we use your retainer toward the payment of your final bill. Any remaining amount after payment of your final invoice will be returned to you.

We routinely have people call our office indicating that they already have an agreement with their spouse and they just need a lawyer to “sign off on it”, effectively giving the agreement what is sometimes called a “rubber stamp”. When a lawyer reviews an agreement with you, separate and apart from your spouse or his or her lawyer, and provides advice, it is broadly called independent legal advice.

This requirement for independent legal advice comes from the Matrimonial Property Act (Alberta), which is the legislation that provides the road map on how to divide property when married couples in Alberta separate. In order for your agreement dealing with property to be legally enforceable, both parties must consult their own lawyers. A lawyer providing independent legal advice will explain to you the nature and effect of the agreement, and also other possible options or outcomes that you may not have thought of when you were drafting the agreement. In order to provide this kind of advice, we require financial information from both spouses and a copy of the proposed agreement. In some cases, we may be able to offer you a flat fee. Please give us a call to discuss your particular situation.

Resources

The old adage that knowledge is power is also true in family law matters. The more educated you are about the process, the easier it will be. We’ve compiled some basic resources for you to get started.

Parenting Courses

Child Support and Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP)

Government of Alberta Programs and Services