Questions & Answers

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Are your consultations free?

Yes! We invite you to meet with us for a complimentary new client case evaluation, the first 60 minutes of which are free of charge. If you would like to speak with us further, our rate is $125 per half-hour. Above all, we believe in transparent pricing, with no hidden fees. We recommend you start by scheduling an initial free phone consultation here.


How do I schedule an appointment?

The Atherley Law firm has implemented a do-it-yourself online scheduling system that allows our clients to easily schedule a specific time to speak directly with or meet with an attorney based on schedule availability. Instead of playing phone tag, leaving voicemail messages, or sending emails, potential and current clients can now schedule meeting times, phone consultations, or in-person case evaluations directly on our website.


Can you provide legal advice on the phone?

Any questions regarding legal advice are answered during new client case evaluation. We only provide legal advice on the phone to our existing clients. If you are interested in a case evaluation, we recommend you start by scheduling an initial phone consultation here.


What type of fees should I expect?

Atherley Law Firm arranges flat fees, retainers with an hourly fee, and contingency fees. Generally, the type of fee arrangement offered depends on the specific practice area. The cost of your case will be discussed with you during the initial in person case evaluation. For more detailed information about our fees, take a look at our affordability section found here.


How do I pay for your services?

We encourage our clients to pay directly through their emailed invoice or to utilize our convenient, and secure client payment portal, found in the client services section of our website. However, we accept various types of payment, including all major credit cards, PayPal, cashier’s checks, e-checks, and money orders. We accept in-office payments, mailed payments, as well as credit card payments processed over the phone.


Do you offer payment plans?

In certain situations, we do offer payment plans to our clients. We do this on a case-by-case basis, so please ask for more details. The decision to offer a payment plan is generally based on the complexity and type of case.


How can I stay updated on the progress of my case?

Once you’re a client of Atherley Law Firm, you’ll have access to our secure client portal. This will allow you to stay updated on your case in real time. Through our client portal, our clients can securely check on the progress of their cases 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere. Our cloud based, interactive client portal allows Atherley Law Firm clients to easily and conveniently access important case information, view files and documents related to their case, pay their invoice, and communicate directly with attorneys through secure messaging by using the web or their smart phone.


What are your business hours?

Our business hours are Monday – Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00pm. We also provide weekend, and evening appointments, scheduled by appointment only.

IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS

Do I need an immigration lawyer?

The immigration process is complicated and in many cases you will need to hire an attorney in order to adequately protect your interests and represent you before a governmental agency. Immigration laws often change. Many people that file their own applications with the USCIS or an embassy are denied, and end up losing hundreds and in many cases thousands of dollars in government fees.


Can I handle my immigration paperwork on my own without an attorney?

Yes, some people are able to successfully undertake the challenge of completing complex immigration paperwork. However, keep in mind that improper documentation, lack of documentation, mistakes, and other common errors can cause a denied application, bar to immigration, or even worse, trigger the initiation of removal and deportation proceedings. If you have completed your immigration paperwork but need an attorney to review your immigration petition before you submit it, Atherley Law Firm offers an affordable attorney document review service.


How can I qualify to get a green card?

There are several ways to acquire permanent residency in the United States, which include family petitions, investment, employment visas or a successful defense in removal proceedings To become a permanent resident, an applicant must meet the basic requirements including, being admissible to the United States, being eligible for an established immigrant category, having a qualifying immigrant petition filed and approved, and having an immigrant visa immediately available.


What are the benefits of becoming a U.S. Citizen?

Many benefits can be derived from obtaining United States citizenship. These benefits and privileges include the ability to petition for other family members, the right to vote in elections, right to hold public elected office, eligibility for certain government benefits, and ability to visit or live in other countries for extended periods of time without losing legal citizenship status.

FAMILY LAW QUESTIONS

How long will it take to complete my divorce in Florida?

This depends on numerous factors, including the state of the relationship between you and your soon-to-be former spouse, and whether you are seeking a contested or uncontested divorce. If the two of you are able to settle your divorce amicably on your own, or settle during mediation, the process will go much faster than if you need to engage in litigation. Contentious child custody, child support and alimony issues, and court backlogs, could also slow down the process.


How is the child support amount calculated in Florida?

Child support calculations are based on the income of both parents. However, a variety of factors are considered along with child support guidelines in order to establish the proper child support amount. A court will consider the specific circumstances of each party and usually will not deviate much from the presumed amount produced by the Florida Child Support Guideline formula.


What happens if my former spouse or partner fails to pay child support?

If your child’s other parent is in violation of your original child support agreement, you may seek an order of enforcement from a court. This may hold the delinquent parent in contempt of court if he or she continues to fail to make payments. In some situations, the court may issue wage garnishment to help collect the money owed to you on behalf of your child.


Is it difficult to modify a child custody or support agreement?

It can be difficult, but it is possible. To do so, you must demonstrate that a substantial change in circumstances has caused the need for you to adjust the terms of your original agreement. This may be the case if you’ve lost your job, changed careers or have had to move for a reason outside of your control.

PERSONAL INJURY QUESTIONS

Do I have a personal injury legal claim?

The circumstances surrounding your injury and the severity of your injury help to determine whether or not you have a viable claim to recover compensation for your expenses and losses. If another party is responsible for your injury due to their negligence, you may have a claim with merit. Many personal injury lawsuits reach a settlement agreement before trial. However, in those cases where a settlement cannot be reached, going to trial is often necessary.


How much is my personal injury claim worth?

Each personal injury case is different. The determination of your case’s value is based on the details of your case including available evidence, severity of your injuries, insurance limits, medical records, statements, and other details of your case. Florida law allows for compensation from the at-fault party found liable for your injuries. This compensation may include the recovery of past medical bills, future medical bill, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering.


When should I contact a personal injury attorney after an injury?

Following your accident, you should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Waiting to file a claim can weaken a potential case. When you work with an attorney from the Atherley Law Firm, we thoroughly investigate your personal injury claim and make sure that the at-fault parties are held liable for their actions.


How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida?

Florida law generally gives personal injury victims fours years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Failure to file within this four year time frame, known as the statute of limitations, can prohibit the victim from recovering compensation for their injuries.

MEDIATION QUESTIONS

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process for resolving disputes that allows the involved parties, with the help of a mediator, to come to an agreement to settle various issues within the dispute. The goal of mediation is always to reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. Mediation provides a unique opportunity for individuals in a dispute to jointly resolve issues and reach a voluntary agreement themselves, potentially without court involvement. Essentially, if parties involved in mediation are able to come to an agreement, they will determine the outcome of their case instead of allowing a judge to decide for them. In mediation, you are the ultimate judge! Generally, mediation has four potential outcomes, a full agreement, partial agreement, impasse (no agreement), or an agreement to reconvene at a later date to further mediate. In the event the mediation is not successful, the matter will settled before the court.


What are the benefits of mediation?

Mediation offers many potential benefits including, a considerable cost savings compared to going to trial, mediation is usually a faster process that going to court, parties involved in the mediation make the decisions instead of giving the power to a judge, and the process is voluntary and confidential.


Will the mediator decide my case?

No! The mediator’s role is to facilitate an agreement between the parties involved in the mediation. This includes assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives. Mediators are there to guide the process by encouraging the parties to have open dialogue and listen to one another.


Will my divorce case go to mediation?

Most Florida divorce cases must go to mediation before an official hearing time can be scheduled with the court. At the Atherley Law Firm, we can either represent one client in mediation as the attorney, or conduct a mediation scheduled between the parties as a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator.

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