Successful Los Angeles based litigator Jamie Kurtz was married at 29 and divorced at 30 just five months later. Her business partner, family lawyer Courtney Glickman also divorced at 30, and had two young children.
Both felt the process could have been easier—and way less expensive.
“When I got divorced, it just didn’t work out, we had nothing to split up and we walked away,” Jamie says, adding that her and her ex still ended up spending a ton of money on divorce attorneys who charged hourly, and that it was completely disheartening and unnecessary.
She knew Courtney though the family law circuit and as the two discussed their respective divorces, they decided to combine their talents (Jamie for going to court, filing motions, and Courtney for her family law specialty), and start their own firm, called Simply Divorced, in May 2015. It has since proven successful for people who don’t have the time, money, or enough anger to drag things out in court.
“As friends of mine got divorced, they didn’t know how to change your name, move, and I knew how. I thought there has to be a way to have a more relatable law practice and deal with the new wave of young people dealing with divorce,” Jamie says. “I called Courtney up I said ‘I have this idea that there should be a way to help people who are young and don’t want to spend all their money on attorney’s fees and have someone to guide them through the process.”
The two started by sending out an email to family and friends and they ended up gaining a list of people who were getting divorced.
“It started very organically, with referrals,” Jamie says. “It’s working because we both can relate to parties getting divorced and everything in between and how difficult it can be dealing with custody, money, all of it.”
The two do the same thing as attorneys who charge $500 an hour, but they simplify the process. The reason they are able to lower their rates is because they file the initial judgment (which starts the divorce process) having already worked out the terms between the soon-to-be exes. The terms already hashed out, the judge stamps off on it and it’s complete.
“The reason we can do a flat fee is because we’re helping them settle the divorce terms without leaving the terms up to a judge, which requires multiple trips to court,” Jamie says.
The duo’s flat fee divorce service starts at $3,500 if both parties are agreeable to the terms. The price goes up if there is something the couple won’t agree on and the women do need to take it to court.
If they end up in court they charge hourly for that, but the goal is to help people stay out of court and make the painful process much easier. To understand what a sweet deal they are offering, when Jamie and Courtney went though their divorces, they faced one lawyer who won’t take a divorce without a retainer of $7,500—and that’s just to get her, it doesn’t involve her doing any work. After that she costs $400 an hour. Another high profile divorce lawyer they know charges a $20,000 retainer then $650 an hour to end your marriage.
“We want to be the relatable firm that people can afford to start your life over,” Courtney explains. “We do everything. We represent one party, because legally that’s how it works…One of the spouses comes to us, then we work with the other spouse’s attorney. We file the initial petition, we help the client with exchanging financial information, which is a necessary step. We negotiate with the other side.”
The two say that in the current “app culture” they are in high demand because people want things done fast. They keep costs down by not letting the divorce get to trial and having to prepare for a full on court case.
“We negotiate, present to the court, and it’s already done,” Jamie says. “It’s efficient and everyone knows whats going to happen.”
Jamie Kurtz is a member of the State Bar of California and the L.A. County Bar Association. Courtney Glickman graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans with a BA in Philosophy, after which she attended Whittier Law School.
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