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Struggling South Florida Divorce Lawyers Offer Discounts, Accept Credit Cards

Posted Nov 20, 2009 9:09 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Business is off by as much as 35 percent for some South Florida divorce lawyers, spurring discounted rates and creative payment plans.

The economy is forcing many lower-income couples to put off divorce, lawyers tell the Miami Herald. Sometimes a couple can’t afford to live independently, or one spouse relies on the other for health insurance, or they owe more on their home than it is worth.

Lawyers who serve this clientele are hurting, and now they are offering discounts and accepting credit cards for the first time, the story says.

“I laugh when people say the recession is over,'' Hollywood divorce lawyer Caryn Grainer told the newspaper. “I have people who find out what the consultation fee is and then they don't make the appointment,'' Grainer said. “They're too embarrassed to cancel.”

The story says lawyers are trying to lure clients with these options:

• Pacheco Perez Ortiz in Miami charges sliding-scale fees, and offers a payment plan: pay half now, and pay half later.

• Aventura attorney Charlotte Karlan offers 20 percent discounts for the military, and case-by-case discounts for others. “This is the worst I've ever seen business,'' she says. She has practiced for 25 years.

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