This is a very good question asked by many individuals heading into a divorce. Most people do not enter into a marriage expecting to be in the position of needing money for a divorce. While they may spend tens, if not hundreds of thousands on their wedding, in their anticipation of this memorable day they are considering this a happy occasion, unlike finding money for a divorce.
There is however, a fairly simple answer to the question above. While the wedding is a grand celebration which may include all your family and friends, a divorce is an investment in you and your children, often for years into the future. It is about finding the best possible solution so that your immediate family is protected and cared for, and for that you need the best representation you can find.
So why is there such a difference in retainer fees? First, let us look at exactly what a retainer fee involves. The retainer to a Divorce Attorney is a sum of money given to your chosen lawyer to represent you. A Divorce Lawyer may not ethically work for you without first obtaining a retainer. This sum of money is put into a separate account and remains your money until it is used for your legal expenses. As the work is performed by your Attorney, the money earned is then taken from the retainer and paid to the firm. The Attorney bills hourly to work on your case. You should receive a statement from your Attorney no less than every month so you know exactly what is happening with your money.
Divorce Lawyers retainers can range from $1,000 to over $20,000 or more. Once you have had a consultation with your prospective Lawyer, he or she should be able to ascertain what your total may come to. This is not an exact science, but the more experienced the Attorney is in divorce law, the better able they are to come up with an amount they feel your divorce may cost. For example, if your case involves a high net worth, a business interest owned by either you or your spouse, or a child custody dispute the ultimate costs may be higher. Again, keep in mind that this cost is an investment in you and your children’s future. It is only fair to you that the Lawyer give you their honest assessment, rather leading you astray with a low retainer because they either don’t know enough divorce law, or they plan on asking you for more money over and over and over.
Another consideration is whether the Lawyer you are considering is experienced enough to handle your case. Every divorce case is different, and needs to be treated as such. A less experienced lawyer, wile may have a low retainer and low hourly rate, may take twice as long to work on your issues because of their lack of experience. In that case you have saved nothing at all. An experienced Divorce Lawyer on the other hand, is virtually up to the minute on changes to the complex divorce laws. As a consequence, the time spent on “catching up” on these changes is drastically reduced, as you will see in your hourly billing.
If you have questions, or wish to discuss the details of your case with an experienced Divorce Lawyer, call Edens Law Group at 908 879 9499 for a consultation.