What costs are involved in an “hourly-fee” case?

Most cases involving litigation involve only the payment of a court filing fee to start the case (usually less than $100) and a fee to serve the other party with the complaint (usually about $50 to $75). These fees are not required, of course, if the other party started the case and has already paid them.

Unlike many law firms, we do not charge for the paper used for in-office copying and the receipt of facsimile (fax) communications. We also do not separately charge clients for telephone, fax, and e-mail communications, other than for the time spent by the attorney or paralegal in handling such matters.

As to attorney travel time to and from court for appearances, our firm does not charge the attorney’s hourly-fee rate for this time. This applies whether the trip is to the Fairfax County Courthouse, where most of our cases are tried, or to those farther away in Stafford County or Loudoun County.

In complex cases involving hotly contested issues, clients may have to pay third parties, such as court reporters and expert witnesses, when early settlement is not possible. Examples of such issues in family law cases are the amount and duration of alimony, the custody of minor children, the division of property.