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Do you charge a consultation fee?

Yes. This office charges a non-refundable consultation fee for a consultation with a licensed attorney in family law cases. Check for our current rates here.

However, this office is proud to offer free consultations to active duty law enforcement officers. 

 

 

- Why don't you offer a free consultation?

This office charges a consultation fee for family law cases for several reasons.

 

We say our consultation fee is a symbolic fee because it is a fairly small amount given what you can expect to pay for representation by any attorney in a family law matter. The payment of a consultation fee indicates to us that you are serious about hiring this office and can afford representation. It also show us you respect and value our time.

 

Since family law is an area of law where the majority of parties represent themselves in court, many people that cannot afford an attorney or have no real intention of hiring an attorney contact this office. Many are looking for free legal advice and step-by-step instructions on how to do things without paying an attorney. As this is a busy law practice with many clients who value and pay for our services, people who are blatantly looking for free legal advice take away from our ability to serve our many paying clients and reduce the spare time we have to spend with our families. 

 

If you cannot afford to retain an attorney, we suggest you contact the family law self-help center in your county. 

 

- Why do some other family law attorneys offer a free consultation and you don't?

You should truly ponder this question. How often do you get something for free that is that great? And why would a business person want to give you something for free that they charge hundreds of dollars an hour for? Here are the answers to those questions.  

 

Generally speaking, what you're likely to get out of a free consultation in a family law case is something along the lines of an infomercial (those long commercials you see in the middle of the night on TV where they try to sell you on their product) where an attorney tries to convince you to hire them without giving you any real substantive legal advice. Think about it for a moment. If an attorney could teach you how to do things on your own within the time constaints of a consultation (which isn't likely), you wouldn't need to hire that attorney. Have no mistake about it, law offices are for profit businesses. During a free consultation, expect an attorney to attempt to persuade you to give them a substantial amount of money. 

 

As soon as an attorney who is offering a free consultation catches on that you can't afford the large amount of money they want or are looking for information on how to do it yourself, expect that attorney to immediately lose interest and to rush you out the door learning nothing more than how much it costs to retain them. 

 

In family law (unlike other areas of law) it is NOT the industry standard to offer free consultations (this is because most people cannot afford an attorney and, therefore, must represent themselves in family law cases). Most reputable family law attorneys charge a consultation fee to avoid wasting their time giving consultations to people without the financial ability or intent to hire them. That said, you should wonder why an attorney would choose to give away their services for free while many others, like this office, do not. 

 

If you pay for a consultation at the Law Offices of Justin Kirk Tabayoyon, you won't get a sales pitch on how cheap things will be or how great your outcome will be. Things might not be cheap or this office's opinion about the outcome of your situation might not be what you wanted to hear. Whatever your situation, you will get an honest assessment of your case from an attorney and solid legal advice during a consultation with this office. The business philosophy of this office is that when a sales pitch does not meet reality, clients are disappointed. And when clients are disappointed, that isn't good for business in the long term. We don't want disappointed clients. We want referrals. If anything, expect this office to underpromise and over deliver in terms of results.

 

Expect our legal fees to be expensive (yes, that's the truth) yet highly competitive with what other lawyers in the area are charging. We are sorry to burst your bubble and be honest with you that it is highly unlikely you will find a laywer that is both good and cheap. On the other hand, it is very likely that you will find lots of lawyers that are expensive and not that good. This office routinely encounters other lawyers who are not that good at what they do. While there are lots of family law attorneys out there, there are only a few that this office would recommend if we were unable to accept the case. If you hire this office you won't get that virtually non-existent, mythical lawyer that is both good and cheap, but rest assured you're hiring a good lawyer and getting a good value for your dollar compared to what you might spend at another law firm. 

 

You will get true legal advice even if you don't retain this office. This office will explain to you how much your legal fees might be without trying to sell you on hiring this office. If you can't afford an attorney, a licensed California attorney will give you legal advice on how to proceed within the time limit of the consultation. 

 

Okay. I understand why you charge a consultation fee and that you cannot tell me how much my case could end up costing without a consultation. But I'm not sure if I can afford your services. What is the minimum I can expect to pay? 

See our answer in this FAQ.

Do you offer a phone consultation?

Yes. For your convenience, this office provides an over-the-phone family law consultation with a licensed attorney for a non-refundable consultation fee at our standard hourly rate. 

 

You may pay for your phone consultation using a debit or credit card by clicking on the credit card logos at the bottom of the webpage you are viewing.  

 

Once you have paid for the consultation, please call to schedule the consultation. You may also call in advance to determine availability prior to paying. And you may email us documents in advance to review during your phone consultation. 

Do you charge a flat fee or by the hour? 

For family law cases, this office generally, but not always, requires an advance payment and we charge for time and expenses against that advance payment. Generally, we do not offer flat rate services in family law cases. For some types of cases, this office offers a flat fee up to a certain amount of hours.

 

It is very important for clients to understand whether they have a flat fee retainer agreement or not. Most family law clients do not. Often clients billed hourly, despite being advised and having a written contract to the contrary, incorrectly assume (or decide in their own mind) the initial payment made was a one time fee for their case and/or will cover everything. Don't make that incorrect assumption. If you are not 100% clear on this point, ask. Often people who incorrectly assume (or decide in their own mind) their initial payment will cover everything also waste their resources and use up all their money and are left without an attorney at the more crucial points in their case. To avoid being in that situation, see How can I keep my costs down?

 

 

- How much is my case going to cost? Why can't you tell me before I pay for a consultation? 

There is no one-size-fits-all answer about how much your case is going to cost from start to finish. Actually, it's impossible to know at the outset. The price of a divorce, for instance, can vary greatly from client to client using the same attorney. The cost of your legal representation depends on you, your situation, and (unfortunately) the opposing party's actions. What starts out as a simple case can very often turn into complex litigation. (See how can I keep my costs down?)

 

- Do you offer Payment Plans? 

Yes. On a case-by-case basis, we offer payment plans. If we agree to extend a payment plan, we most likely will require an inital deposit followed by regular payments to supplement that deposit or pay down your balance due. We may ask that you agree to let us automatically deduct payments from your bank account using an ACH transfer.

 

Please do not ask about a payment plan when first calling. We will only discuss a payment plan at the end of a paid consultation - after we know the basics of your legal situation.

 

- Do you Offer Free or "Pro Bono" Services?

NO. It takes many years of education to obtain a license to practice law. And that education is very expensive. Most attorneys leave law school with student loan debt equivalent to a home mortgage. Operating a law office is very expensive. Overhead and labor costs are high. Every moment we spend working on one client's case is a moment we can't spend on another's. Every moment we spend working is a moment we cannot spend with our family. And our time is limited. This results in what is known in economics as opportunity costs. Therefore, we do not provide any free services. 

How can I keep my costs down? 

Clients often fail to realize their behavior has a substantial effect on the cost of their family law litigation. 

 

Unnecessary phone calls and emails are the number one way that family law clients run up their bills without benefiting their case. Generally, written communications consume much more time than verbal communications. 

 

Communications are costly. A simple one-minute phone call or email is not as simple as you may think. Each communication, for instance phone calls and emails, is billed at a minimum charge. Please understand that each communication entails retrieving your file, making notes in your file, and a making a billing entry. To keep your costs down, be proactive and follow our instructions without creating unnecessary communications. Unnecessary communications cause an increase in your bill without providing you any additional benefit. 

 

If we ask for information or documents from you, provide that quickly and all at once -- not in 10 different emails over 5 days. Send us one email with everything attached or drop off one package at our office. Don't create additional communications by requiring us to follow up with you because you did not provide the information we need to help you. 

 

Do your best to limit the information you provide in communications to what is relevant. Keep it short and to the point. Remember the old saying "time is money". The time it takes to communicate irrelevant information is a waste of your money. If you just need to blow off some steam by talking to someone, the personnel at this office are a costly listening ear. 

 

One line emails and quick questions are a good way to unnecessarily increase your bill. Before you send an email or call the office, consider whether the question you have or information you want to deliver is worth the minimum charge for that communication. If it is not, wait until you have multiple things to communicate about and do it all during one continuous communication as opposed to several short communications that each have a minimum charge. 

 

Organize your documents. If you bring us a pile of unorganized documents, it takes our time - and your money - to organize it. 

 

- Why do you charge a minimum of 12 minutes (0.2 hrs)  for phone calls and emails?

Most clients don't realize that a quick phone call or worse, a one line email question, is not that simple for a professional law office.

 

Often, we must review the notes in your file or the documents in it in order to understand and respond to your question. For every phone call, email, or other action in your case we must access your file and make notes. We make notes in your file after we get off the phone with you. Even for email exchanges we must make notes in your file.

 

If whatever question or information you have for your attorney is not time sensitive and can wait until the next court date or phone call from your attorney, then hold off. You save money when you have longer conversations with your attorney as opposed to many short emails and phone calls. Generally, written communications consume much more time than verbal communications. 

 

 

Unnecessary phone calls and emails are the number one way that family law clients run up their bills without benefiting their case. 

 

If whatever question or information you have for your attorney is not time sensitive and can wait until the next court date or phone call from your attorney, then hold off on it until then. You save money when you have long verbal conversations with your attorney as opposed to many emails and short phone calls.

 

- Do you charge me just to email you documents you need for my case? 

No. However, this office does charge for the time spent organizing, printing, filing, and reviewing the documents you deliver. 

Can you get the other side to pay my attorneys fees? If so, will you take my case without a deposit?

The California Family Code does provide a mechanism to seek attorney fees and costs based on, among other things, a disparity in income. However, that does not mean this office will take your case without an initial deposit. In fact, in most cases we will not. 

 

An award of attorney fees and costs is uncertain at the outset of your case. Often the court will "reserve" the issue of attorney fees and costs until the end of the case. And even when attorney fees and costs are ordered, very often the other side simply does not pay, which requires more work to compel payment. 

 

If the other party has a high income or substantial liquid assets, this office may take your case on a limited scope basis to pursue attorney fees and costs, but likely would still require a small deposit to pursue an order for attorney fees and costs. If the court denies the request, reserves the issue, or the other side does not pay despite the court order, you would have to come up with a deposit or payment plan. 

Probably not. How would you react if your employer demanded that you keep working but told you it was not going to pay for your work? What quality of work would you perform if you were forced to work for your employer without being paid? This office works hard for our clients and does everything we can to obtain our clients the best possible result. In turn, this office expects to be paid in full for our services. Don't expect your attorney to continue working for you if you don't pay as agreed. 

 

There is a common misperception that attorneys are rich or make a lot of money from each client. It takes many years of education just to obtain a license to practice law. And that education is very expensive. Many attorneys leave law school with student loan debt in an amount equivalent to many home mortgages. Operating a law office is very expensive. Overhead and labor costs are high. California has tons of ridiculous cost-increasing regulations, and big government steals through taxes roughly half of the hard earned money we make each year. After the government steals about half our money, we have our own families and children to provide for with what is left over. Every moment we spend working on a client's case who does not pay is a moment we can't spend on another client's case that does pay. Every moment we spend working is a moment we cannot spend with our family. And our time is limited. This results in what is known in economics as opportunity costs. Therefore, if you can no longer pay you'll need to represent yourself. However, most people can afford to continue to pay - especially on a payment plan. 

 

It is this office's experience that many clients who say they cannot afford to pay their bill can still afford luxury cars, expensive vacations, weekly fine dining experiences, new furniture, cable television, etc. (Don't forget your attorney will likely have much of the information about your income, expenses, and assets.) Often ability to pay really boils down to priorities. If your attorney is not a priority to you, you should not expect to be a priority to your attorney. If you are not willing to sacrifice luxuries for legal representation, you have made the decision that luxuries are more important than legal representation to you. That's completely fine. But don't expect your attorney to sacrifice their family time or forego the opportunity to represent another client who is willing to pay and values legal representation over those same luxuries.

 

Now, an attorney client relationship is a little different than an employer-employee relationship. There are some professional responsibilities this office will not neglect. This office won't leave you without representation such that it would unduly prejudice you. However, should you fail to pay as agreed, this office will ask the court to be relieved as counsel at the first available reasonable opportunity. 

 

That said, if you run out of money, this office may agree to continue working on your case if you set up an agreeable payment plan. However, this office is very unlikely to offer a payment plan to a client that did not listen to our advice and needlessly ran up their bill with the unreasonable expectation that this office would continue working after the client couldn't afford continued representation (See How can I keep my costs down?). Divorce is an expensive process usually. But this office is very proactive at encouraging clients to keep their costs down. 

Your firm practices criminal law and represents victims of police misconduct, do you also represent law enforcement officers? 

Of course!!! Mr. Tabayoyon has multiple family members who are police officers, sheriff's deputies, and/or correctional officers. 

 

This office has represented police officers, sheriff's deputies, correctional officers, federal special agents, military police officers, and/or parole officers in their family law cases. This is a pro-America, pro-liberty law firm, not an anti-law enforcement law firm. If you're a law enforcement officer -- from any local, state or federal agency -- that needs help with a family law matter, please don't hesitate to call this office for help. This office is proud to represent members of the law enforcement community. 

In fact, this office wants your business so much, we will waive your initial consultation fee if you identify yourself as an active member of any law enforcement agency and mention this offer on our website at the time you schedule your consultation by phone. Give us the opportunity to help you.

Do you offer a phone consultation?
What are your fees and charges?
How can I keep my costs down? 
Can you get the other side to pay my attorneys fees? If so, will you take my case without a deposit?
If I run out of money will you keep working on my case? 
Your firm practices criminal law and represents victims of police misconduct, do you also represent law enforcement officers? 
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