Frequently Asked Questions
How quickly can I get an appointment?
We can typically get a client in same or next day! We know that legal issues are stressful and waiting for an appointment adds fuel to the fire!
Do you offer weekend and after-hours appointments?
Yes! Most appointments are scheduled during our normal business hours. We are open 8am-5pm, and schedule appointments between 8:30am-4:30pm. We can and will make exceptions to work around a client or potential client’s work schedule with earlier, later, and weekend appointments!
Do I need a lawyer?
What is a free consultation?
Most Attorneys offer – Leigh Law included – free consultations. This is a 10-15-20 minute meeting in person or over the phone where we ask questions to determine your issue and figure out if we can help you! During a consultation we are determining what services are needed and how much it will cost to provide. You as the client are determining if you like and think you can work with and trust us as your attorneys.
A free consultation is not an opportunity for you to obtain specific advice so you can represent yourself. If you want to represent yourself, be upfront and ask for an hour of paid time to obtain specific advice and paperwork on what you should do to proceed alone! We specifically offer those services and are not offended to provide limited or behind the scenes help!
Leigh Law offers a lot of services. Are you a jack of all trades, master of none?
Leigh Law is a general practice law firm and we attempt to help as many people as we can. Some areas of the law are very specific and do not lend themselves to a general practice law firm, incluidng bankruptcy, workman’s compensation, or education, medical malpractice, or voter lawsuits. We do not offer services in these highly specialized areas; instead we refer you to attorneys who do!
Our areas of practice are very much related. We are very, very good family lawyers and a large percentage of our practice is in the area of domestic relations and family issues. Business, consumer protection, contract, debt collection defense, real estate, and estate planning are all very much inter-related and are based on the same principles of law.
In some areas such as medical malpractice or large personal injury cases we associate with other law firms to work together. Sometimes the upfront costs are high or there is a lot of work to be done and working with other lawyers on the cases allows us to better serve the clients while still meeting our high expectations and defray the litigation costs. These are typically cases which are on contingency fee basis so the client has no upfront costs associated with hiring us and none of the lawyers get paid unless we win!
What do you mean "Services for Any Budget"?
There are many folks in need of legal services but who cannot or do not want to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees. We offer services to fit any budget – advice and guidance, document preparation, hearing attendance on an a la carte basis, allowing clients to pick and pay for services wanted and declining services not wanted or needed- kind of like a buffet, only you pay just what you take instead of the whole thing!
We offer flat fees, payment plans, a la carte options all th way to full-service – we can do almost anything to get you help to fit your budget and to not be totally lost in the legal system.
How much do I need to start?
This depends on where you are in the process. If you come to us early, then we can get started and set a payment plan with less down. If it’s an emergency situation or things are happening quickly then you might need most or all of it up front. Typically, clients put 1/2 or 1/3 down and set up a payment plan for the balane over 60-90-120 days. We are very flexible with our clients and customize payment plans as necessary and as possible within the confines of the specific case.
How fast do I have to finish paying?
This too depends on your case. We work on your case in direct proportion to how quickly you pay and if you keep your payment arrangement. We will not finalize a case until you’ve paid in full. We won’t set hearings if you haven’t reached benchmarks in your payment schedule. We work as much as we can with all of our clients, but we have to work on paying cases first!
Are all cases suitable for flat fees?
No, not all cases can be billed on a flat fee basis. Most cases we can determine about how much time we will have in the case and assess a flat fee, particularly in the areas in which we practice most often. Sometimes, it is impossible to know if we will have 10 or 100 hours in a case – these are mostly litigation cases that are going to go all the way to a trial. In these instances, we have to bill by the hour. This is the fairest way for you and for us. This means that you provide a retainer payment to us and we keep track of all of our time and bill based on our time involved. We provide a monthly statement so you can see what work we’ve done specifically, what amount we’ve billed, and what you have left in your retainer.
Are all cases suitable for payment plans?
No, sometimes your case is so far along in the process before you come to us or it is an emergency situation that there is no time for payment plans. If extensive work is required immediately in your case, then you will be required to put all or most of the fee with the office up front. We evaluate each circumstance individually and tailor our offerings to the specific needs of each client and situation.
What is the difference between fees and costs?
Fees are what you pay to us – the attorneys – for our legal services. Costs are expenses which are incurred during the case but are paid to someone or something else, such as court reporter costs, process server costs, filing costs, summons costs. We keep careful track of fees and costs. We do not add to costs and clients are usually responsible for the costs associated with their cases.
Our office does not add to flat fees quoted for any in-office administrative costs such as copies or printing in our office, phone fees, credit card acceptance fees, fax fees, or paper-handling fees and the like.
There are many lawyers here - which one is mine?
Great Question! We have several lawyers, but all are salaried employees, unlike most firms. We work on cases together to ensure everything is completed to the highest level of quality and service as possible. Most clients will have a lead attorney but that doesn’t mean others won’t work on your case too. This is very beneficial for the clients – you are getting all the lawyers’ collective experience on your case!
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Family Law Questions
How much does a divorce cost?
The price of a divorce depends on what services you need and how much time and talent the attorneys use in resolving your divorce.
Are we fighting over custody? visitation? Many financial assets? Our divorces start as little as $500 if you have no property and no children, including attending the court hearing, if required. We have various divorce packages and most clients fall in the $2000 package. We allow payment plans on all our packages. We don’t charge for services you don’t want or need, so we charge for things as they are needed as cases progress.
What is an uncontested divorce?
There are roughly eight (8) broad possible areas of dispute in a divorce. In most divorces, people are not disputing in all 8 areas. Divorces are on a continuum of “being contested.”
A completely uncontested divorce is a divorce in which the parties are not disputing in ANY areas – everything is resolved and the parties are cooperating and will sign paperwork to obtain the divorce through the court system. Many times clients think they have an uncontested divorce, but it turns out they don’t!
Can I give up my parental rights?
Yes, and no. All parents have rights and obligations, which are not dependent on each other.
The State has an interest in insuring that all children are financially supported. If there is a step parent that will take over, then it would be a step parent adoption. If the other parent wants you to give up your rights too, there would be a possible single parent adoption. But it would be very difficult – if not impossible – to accomplish if you are wanting to give up your rights to avoid paying support to the other parent.
Does joint custody mean I don't have to pay child support?
No. Child Support is determined based on your income relative to the other parent’s income and your time spent with and money spent on the child(ren). Joint Custody can sometimes mean you don’t pay support, or it can just reduce your support from what it would be if the other parent were primary custodian.
What is a QDRO?
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders are special legal orders required after a divorce to divide investment or retirement assets. The orders are separate from Divorce Decrees, complicated to draft, and unique to each situation. They are often needed in divorces, but many family attorneys are unable or unwilling to handle them. If you are already divorced and need a QDRO, call Leigh Law to get the retirement to which you are entitled.
Do I need a protective order?
If you are in fear for your life or safety, then yes! You don’t need a lawyer to obtain an emergency protection order, but then you have to attend a hearing to get a permanent order. That’s where it gets tougher. It’s important that you get it right the first time. Leigh Law has the experience to help you obtain the order for several years to protect you and your children.
My ex has filed a protective order against me! This is dumb. I'll just explain to the judge what happened.
A protective order is quasi-criminal and lasts for years. It shows up on a background check and affects your right to own a weapon or even have bullets in your possession. The law is clear on the requirements to obtain a protective order – let Leigh Law defend your rights and protect you from a dramatic ex making wild accusations.
You only get one chance, so make sure you defend it right the first time!
Should I get alimony/Spousal Support?
Should I involve DHS?
Generally, No. We can file emergency petitions and motions with the court and generally obtain the same relief that DHS can obtain, although there is a significant expense. The Department of Human Services is the largest state agency and is poorly run. Once DHS is involved in your life, it is difficult, stressful, time-consuming, and expensive to get out from under the control of the State. You don’t want DHS involved in your life if you can possibly help it.
What is district court?
Traffic and misdemeanor charges are frequently brought in what is called District Court. While District Court is an avenue to resolve issues with limited attorney’s fees, there is no jury. If you are found or plead guilty in District Court you have thirty days to file an appeal to Circuit Court, no questions asked. Once appealed, the case starts all over again in Circuit Court. It’s a complicated process to appeal and you must follow the rules strictly.
What is a DWI?
You can be convicted of DWI if you are intoxicated and are in actual physical control of a motor vehicle OR if you have a blood alcohol level above .08 and are in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. Even without a blood alcohol or breath test, you can be convicted if the State can prove your intoxication based on other evidence such as field sobriety tests or witness testimony.
What does intoxicated mean?
It means being affected by alcohol or drugs to the degree that your reactions, motor skills and judgment are substantially altered and you therefore present a clear and substantial danger of injury or death to yourself or others.
Will the police lie to me?
Police will definitely lie to you and it’s is 100% legal. Never believe anything the police tell you, don’t answer any questions, call Leigh Law!
If I'm innocent, why do I need a lawyer? Doesn't that make me look guilty?
Many times, it’s a numbers game. Demanding a lawyer is smart. Trusting the police is not smart. Innocent people can and do go to prison.
You definitely need a lawyer, especially if you’re innocent. The toughest part of criminal defense work is that the client trusted the police and consented to be interrogated without counsel. Don’t do that! Let Leigh Law Roar to your Rescue!
Real Estate Law
Do I need a real estate agent to sell my house?
No. Real Estate agents often do little more than list the house on the MLS, and show the home to interested buyers and charge a 6-7% commission. If your house sells for $100,000, then you would pay $7000.00!
You can easily list your house on a free website – Zillow.com or Realtor.com – and show it to interested buyers yourself! Once you find a buyer, Leigh Law can meet with you and advise on how you can sell your house yourself, help you finish the sale by drafting a purchase contract, advising and arranging closing, inspections, for a flat fee, not dependent on your sale price. We provide services well beyond what a real estate agent can provide and save you thousands of dollars.
The more expensive your house, the more you save with our flat fee “for sale by owner” legal package.
I'm being foreclosed on. What can I do?
If you’re being foreclosed because you have not made your payments, for whatever reason, there is little we can do for you except negotiate a modification or payment plan to get caught up, if you are financially able. If you have made all of your payments and the bank or mortgage company has made a mistake, then there is a lot we can do for you to stop the sale and resolve your problem!
I am buying or selling a house on a “rent to own” or “land contract,” do I need a lawyer?
A house is usually the biggest purchase Americans make in their lives. Land Contracts and “Lease to Own” arrangements are by far the most common area where we see folks get taken advantage of or have problems that cost them literally thousands of dollars.
A little preventative advice and counsel could save you countless hours of stress, worry, and money.
What if the person selling you the house doesn’t actually own the house? Or someone else has an interest in the property or a judgment against it? What if the person selling it to you died unexpectedly? There are many contingencies to plan around that you may not even think about!
Debt Collection Defense
What is the difference between a debt collector and an original creditor?
A debt collector is a company or person, including a lawyer, who purchases or pursues the collection of a debt that did not start with that company or person. An original creditor is the company or person that originally obtained the debt. If you seek services from ABC Doctor’s Office and don’t pay your bill, then the doctor’s office could hire a lawyer to sue you. The doctor’s office is the original creditor. If the doctor’s office sells your debt to XYZ Company, and that company attempts to collect from you by calling, sending letters or suing you, XYZ Company is a debt collector.
What is arbitration?
Arbitration is private court. It is a binding procedure that is provided by private companies and the litigants have to pay out of pocket for the “arbitrator” (judge) to listen to the evidence and make decisions. This is typically included in most credit card contracts and can be used to the advantage of the debtor.
I bought a vehicle or motor home and it doesn’t work, what can I do?
The Lemon Law in Arkansas is complicated and specific. The Lemon Law only applies to new vehicles and vehicles purchased with a warranty. If you bought a used car with no warranty, there is nothing we can do under the Lemon Law. You might could pursue a fraud case if you can prove the dealership lied to you in the purchase. This is expensive, time-consuming, and frequently unsuccessful. Particularly if you purchased at a smaller car lot, with very little or nothing down, then there are some more realistic and financially easier options than suing the car lot to take the car back.
I’m being harassed with telephone calls and letters about a debt, what can I do?
Save all correspondence and voicemails. Record conversations if you answer the phone (it is legal to record a conversation without the other side knowing). There is a short statute of limitations in suing for harassment based on letters and phone calls, so get advice right away. Particularly if you have not yet been sued for a debt or the debt is not yours or accurate.
My parent died & I'm an only child. Do I need to open probate?
Likely not. Probate is an expensive and time-consuming process. If we can avoid it, we should. In a situation where you are the only relative or all the relatives/siblings are getting along, we can very likely avoid the probate process with other documents and procedures.
My aunt died many years ago and left me her house. I've been living in it for years but now I want to sell it. Help!
It is not uncommon for folks who own houses to not have what is called “clear title” to sell the property. We can help! It will take some time, but there are many different ways we can go about getting clear title for you to sell or gift or leave to someone else!
Should I appeal my case?
Most cases should not be appealed. Statistically, most appeals are not successful. The burden of proof is high on appeals – usually what is called “abuse of discretion” – and that is difficult to prove. Our consultations are complimentary to determine if your case is worth appaeling, when considering the time, expense, and stress.
How much does it cost to appeal?
If you are appealing an adverse decision, depending on the facts of the case and basis of the appeal, the fees range from $10,000-$20,000. If you won and the other side is appealing, then representation in the appeal will again be dependent on the case but will range from $5000-$10,000.
When I was crashed into, I though I was fine. Now my back hurts so bad, I can barely get around. Is it too late?
No, it is not too late, but might affect your case in court depending on how long you waited. You should always go to your doctor (not a physical therapist or chiropractor) to be evaluated. Follow your doctor’s advice.
The person who ran into me doesn't have insurance. Am I out of luck?
It depends on what kind of coverage you have. If you have just “liability” (the least expensive), then yes. If you have uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage, then you might be able to make a claim on your own policy.
Some bogus claim against me has been "substantiated" and now I'm on the Child Maltreatment Registry. What can I do?
If you are within the thirty day time frame, we can appeal! We frequently prevail in administrative appeals of child maltreatment registry findings. If we are past the appeal time, we can petition to have you removed from the registry.
I have a couple rent houses and I'm losing money on them. Now I need to evict someone. Can I do it without breaking the bank?
This depends on what county you are in. Some counties will not allow the use of the criminal eviction statute anymore. More rural counties do. We can help you with an eviction or we can handle the eviction for you. The costs are high for civil evictions, which is frustrating for landlords. Don’t delay on evictions; as soon as a tenant hasn’t paid or is otherwise a problem, consult with us to determine best steps!
Leigh Law, PLLC
2800 Percy Machin Drive
North Little Rock, AR 72114