FAQ

In order to become my client, you need to either email mj@mjgoodwin.com or call the office at 864-375-0909 and set an appointment. If your case is one that my firm can help you with, you will be scheduled for an appointment with Ms. Goodwin or Mr. Pruette, and if Ms. Goodwin or Mr. Pruette chooses to accept your case, you must pay the agreed upon retainer fee before any work is begun on your case. Please note that the fee for initial consultations with Ms. Goodwin or Mr. Pruette is $100 per half hour. Retainer fees are quoted based on the complexity of the case.

Ms. Goodwin’s services are billed at $350 per hour. Mr. Pruette charges $250 per hour. Paralegal and support services are billed at $100 per hour. The actual retainer charged will vary depending on the situation and the work necessary to meet your goals. You can expect a minimum retainer of between $2500 and $7500 for most Family Court matters..

Most people need a lawyer to help them get a divorce. This is true even for very amicable, friendly, uncontested proceedings. You will have to make many very important decisions under highly emotional, stressful circumstances. Even divorce lawyers hire a lawyer when they terminate their marriages. For criminal case and civil “injury” cases, you definitely need a lawyer.

No. The Judge can only rule on the issues presented to the Court. The Judge cannot and will not give you legal advice or “look out” for you.

No. A lawyer cannot represent both spouses and are prohibited from advising a couple about their legal rights. An attorney has a duty of loyalty to her clients. Therefore, an attorney cannot give legal advice to two people with differing interests. You and your soon to be ex-spouse have differing interests, no matter how amicable the divorce is.

I do not speak with relatives or friends. Nor do I allow them in client conferences with me. There is a very good reason for this. Everything you say to me (or to my staff) is a privileged communication. That means that I cannot be used as a witness against you; nor can my staff. However, that privilege is broken if any other person is present for our conferences. I have an ethical obligation to keep your secrets. I will not allow anyone else in our conferences for this reason.

No. There is a $100.00 fee for my 30 minute consultation. The reason for this is that legal services are just that, a service. You are paying for a lawyer’s time and attention when you hire a lawyer. Often times, when potential clients go to an attorney for their “free consultation” it will seem like one of those vacation condo sales jobs. The attorney spends the entire session trying to evaluate whether or not the client will pay the retainer fee at the end of the “free consultation”. That attorney can’t really give the client what the client needs: a listening ear and good, solid legal advice. You would not be here if you did not need help. You don’t need a sales pitch and you don’t need empty promises. My goal is to assure the client that they are not obligated to me for anything beyond the $100 fee for the 30 minute consult. It gives me the chance to really listen to them and give them my true, unvarnished legal and professional opinion of their case and their situation. It allows me the chance to say: this is what I recommend, whether you hire me or not. I may even advise you that you don’t need an attorney! It is my hope that you find this approach valuable and perhaps even unique. It does you, the client, no good for an attorney to tell you what you want to hear, even if it’s not the truth, in the hopes that you will pay a large retainer fee at the end of the session. I do not do business that way. If your matter involves more than a thirty minute consult, you will be expected to pay for the additional time at the rate of $100.00 per half hour. I do offer free consults for car wreck injury cases, wrongful death cases, Social Security cases and Worker’s Compensation cases. Established clients are afforded one free consultation on any new matter.

Any agreement regarding buying or selling any item with a significant value and possible liability issues should be covered by a legally binding agreement. This protects you in the future. For example, if you buy a horse and later find out that it has serious medical issues, if you have a contract specifying exactly what occurs in that situation, you are in a better position to recover your loss. If you are keeping someone else’s horses on your property, a boarding agreement will spell out exactly what the rules and stipulations are, as well as what happens if the horse gets hurt or hurts anyone else.