Frequently Asked Questions
How quickly can I get an appointment?
Potential Clients can schedule a phone appointment with a Lion Lawyer 24/7/365. Those appointments are available same or next business 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! 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?
Yes, you almost always need a lawyer. Our legal system is not designed for people to represent themselves easily or adequately. Even if you can’t afford or don’t want to hire a lawyer to handle your whole case, you should strongly consider getting some advice & counsel.
What is a free consultation?
Most attorneys offer – Lion Legal Services included – free consultations. This is a 10-15-20 minute discussion 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!
Lion Legal Services offers a lot of services. Are you a jack of all trades, master of none?
Lion Legal Services 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, including 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 cafeteria, you pay just what you take instead of the whole thing!
We offer flat fees, payment plans, a la carte options all the 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 balance 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 more likely 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 $800 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 $2200 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. We almost always encourage clients to start as low as possible and work up if needed.
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 ensuring 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 protection 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. Lion Legal Services has the experience to help you obtain the order for several years to protect you and your children.
My ex has filed a protection order against me! This is dumb. I'll just explain to the judge what happened.
A protection 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 Lion Legal Services 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?
Spousal Support (also known as alimony) is not a penalty for breaking a marriage contract. It exists to maintain your standard of living after you separate from your partner and continue supporting yourself. There are many factors which influence your ability to obtain spousal support, including one party’s need versus the other party’s ability to pay, length of marriage, education and income disparity, and division of duties during the marriage.
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.
Criminal Law Questions
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 Lion Legal Services Roar to your Rescue!
Real Estate Questions
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, Lion Legal Services 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 and coordinating with the Title Company, for a flat fee, not dependent on your sale price. We provide services well beyond what a real estate agent can provide and our legal analysis and involvement can 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!
Most foreclosures are completed statutorily – meaning there is no court date. You will receive certified mail notices and postings of a sale date. It is critically important you hire help to stop the foreclosure BEFORE the sale date. Even if you were wrongfully foreclosed, it is infinitely harder after the property is sold.
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 Questions
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.
Consumer Protection Questions
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 appealing, 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.
Personal Injury Questions
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.
Administrative Appeals Questions
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!
I'm being evicted, what can I do?
Honestly, probably nothing. You can represent yourself and maybe buy some time, but hiring a lawyer is likely a waste of money. In the scheme of things, you’re better off moving on whatever money you are thinking of spending on a lawyer. See our blog post about evictions from the tenant’s side for more information about this.
Can I be evicted for something other than not paying my rent?
Yes, any breach of the lease, including allowing folks to live there that are not authorized (not listed on the lease or are felons, for example), you are a nuisance, the police are called. Evictions are usually based on lack of rent, but do not have to be.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a formal process which resolves disputes and avoids court. The parties are integral in crafting the solution & tend to be happier with the results.
Mediation is a form of “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” which is a fancy way of saying it is an alternative to the traditional model of letting a judge decide in Court. It is much less stressful, less time consuming, and often much less expensive.
Studies show that parties are happier and tend to follow agreements reached through mediation than when ordered by the Court. The process is professionally facilitated and the mediator has hours of formal trainings and life experience to move parties toward a resolution. It is not therapy or counseling.
Do I need a mediator?
Maybe! If you have an attorney, you should consult with your attorney when deciding if your case is suitable for mediation.
Mediation works best with both parties want to resolve the dispute. If you don’t have an attorney, give us a call to discuss if your case is right for mediation. We will reach out to the other party & help schedule it if so!
Can the Judge make me go to mediation?
Yes! Many judges require mediation before the case is allowed to be set for a final trial.
If your judge orders mediation, there is nothing you can do except go to mediation and participate in good faith. You really might be surprised at the success. Keep an open mind!
We offer flat competitive rates when your judge is forcing you to try mediation before trial. You never know, with the right skilled mediation firm (us, of course!) mediation could be successful!
How quickly can I schedule a mediation?
usually about two weeks out, but faster if necessary!
Do you offer weekend and evening mediation times?
Yes! We understand the demands of working, parenting, and life in general. We are happy to accommodate our clients as much as possible and with a little advance planning, mediations can be scheduled on weekends and evenings to help all parties involved at no additional charge.
How is mediation different from court?
Mediation is less formal and doesn’t have any specific evidence rules. It is not as intimidating or nerve-racking as court, either!
Mediation is private and confidential, unlike court which is open to the public. Mediation allows the parties to participate in crafting a resolution that works instead of being forced to abide a judge’s decision which was made without input from the parties.
Studies show that cases resolved through mediation are more likely to stay out of court in the future the participants are much happier and tend to follow the agreement better in mediation.
Mediation does not replace court and if not successful, the case will progress to trial in front of a judge. It’s not an either/or choice. Mediation is just one avenue to resolve your dispute and avoid the time, expense, and stress of trial.
Do I need a lawyer for mediation?
No! They can be helpful – or they can get in the way!
Lawyers are not required to resolve a case through mediation. In fact, Lion Legal Services has lawyers on staff that can handle the legal procedural issues to finalize your case if you do resolve it through mediation and you don’t have a lawyer.
How much does mediation cost?
Less than court & lawyers, guaranteed!
Traditional mediation is typically billed hourly and can be extremely expensive, making it out of the budget of most litigants – arguably the litigants that need mediation the most.
Lion Legal Services offers rock-bottom prices!
$500 for two hours, $750 for a half a day and $1250 for a full day. These are total prices, with no hidden expenses, split between parties however agreed or ordered by the Court.
Does Lion Legal Services participate in the Access & Visitation Program?
Yes, we do.
There is a federally funded program available to domestic relations clients which provides no cost or reduced cost (depending on income) mediation services to resolve child custody, visitation, and child support issues for first time participants. It is designed to increase parents’ Access and Visitation to their children.
If your case qualifies for the program, let us know in advance and we will work with the Administrative Office of the Courts for billing purposes. You or your lawyers must make application and become approved to participate in the funding. If you don’t know how to do that, let us know and we will help you apply.
Are all cases suitable for mediation?
No. Mediation can be a waste of time and money in some cases. It’s a fact sensitive analysis. If you have a lawyer, you should conduct this analysis with him or her. If you don’t, give us a call. We can help you decide if mediation is suitable for your case.
How long does mediation last?
Well, mediations tend to last longer when the mediator is billing hourly. Our system is on a flat fee model – with a minimum 2 hour scheduling and up to a full day or more.
We always work through lunch! Lunch breaks the momentum so no one leaves a mediation until we settle or decide it’s futile.
If you’re scheduled for a half day but mediation is making meaningful progress, the parties have the option to progress into a full day if the calendar allows.
What do we do after mediation?
If you have lawyers involved, those lawyers will finish your case and let the court know it was resolved in mediation. If you don’t, we will help you with the procedural requirements to resolve the case once you’ve reached a mediated agreement.
Is the Mediator neutral?
Yes!! As mediators, we have an equal and balanced responsibility to assist each mediating party and cannot favor the interests of any one party over another, nor should the mediator favor a particular result in the mediation. The mediator’s role is to ensure that parties reach agreements in a voluntarily and informed manner, and not as a result of coercion or intimidation.
As mediators, we cannot otherwise be involved in the case or represent other parties in the litigation.
Attorney Ad Litem Questions
How do AAL Interviews work?
We conduct all parents and children interviews, in person, at our North Little Rock offices. The parents are responsible for travel of themselves and the children to our offices.
Age appropriate interviews are conducted with the children, inside and outside the presence of the parents.
Other witness interviews are typically conducted electronically.
Who decides if work beyond the Cub Package is needed?
The final decision on what services are provided is solely up to the certified Attorney Ad Litem, not the parties or the attorneys. If the AAL in his or her professional judgment and guided by the ethical rules and statutes governing Ad Litems, provides services, the parents are responsible for the fees incurred.
What Factors does an AAL Consider?
An attorney ad litem shall determine the best interest of a child by considering such custody criteria as:
(1) Moral fitness factors: integrity, character, compassion, sobriety, religious training and practice, a newly acquired partner regarding the preceding elements;
(2) Stability factors: emotional stability, work stability, financial stability, residence and school stability, health, partner stability;
(3) Love and affection factors: attention given, discipline, attitude toward education, social attitude, attitude toward access of the other party to the child, and attitude toward cooperation with the other party regarding the child’s needs;
(4) Other relevant information regarding the child such as stated preference, age, sex, health, testing and evaluation, child care arrangements; and regarding the home such as its location, size, and family composition.
Supervised Visitation & Exchange Questions
What are the types of supervision?
There are different ways to supervise!
All supervisions include the supervisor conducting a reasonable visual inspection of the visitor, ensuring the visitor is not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
Regular supervision: supervisor is in the building within earshot during the visitation, with occasional (not constant) video surveillance/checking in. Door to visitation room is always open.
Sight supervision: The supervisor constantly watches the video surveillance feed during the visitation. The supervisor is not in the room and cannot hear.
Sight & Sound supervision: The supervisor is physically in the room during the visitation and can see and hear everything. The parent is never left alone with the child.
When are supervised visitation & exchanges offered?
Anytime it’s needed, including weekends, holidays, and after hours.
Are there any other rules?
Payment must be paid in advance for all visitations. Discounts for more than 5 hours purchased.
We understand this is an extra expense not anticipated and will work with parents to make visiting with their children affordable and in compliance with a Court Order.
No-call, no-shows are charged full fee.
If rescheduled with at least 24 hours notice (or the last business day before the visitation), then no charge to reschedule the session.
Lion Legal Services provides a written report of each visitation or exchange.
Where do we visit?
We are set up with several private, quiet visitation rooms. They are equipped with tables and chairs, sofas, recliners, cable TV and are under video surveillance. There is a kitchen/eating area if parents wish to bring food to share meals during their visitations.
Can Lion Legal Services be the AAL & Supervisor in the same case?
Yes! An Attorney Ad Litem represents the children and not the parents. The ethical obligation is for the AAL to make recommendations and advocate for the best interests of the children involved in the case. Ensuring that supervised visitation is smooth and drama-free coincides with that obligation.
It is unlikely the AAL him or herself will supervise the visitations; employees of the same firm will conduct the supervisions.
How does Supervised Custody Exchange work?
Parent one can drop the children in a fifteen minute window and the children wait in one of the visitation rooms. The parent fills out a drop-off sheet and identification is copied. Parent one leaves, knowing the children are safe and supervised.
Parent two must pick the children up in a fifteen minute window. The parent fills out a pick-up sheet and provides photo identification.
No messages may be exchanged between the parents through the staff of Pride Professionals.
This ensures the children are safe and supervised and prevents the parents from having to see or speak to each other.