What Does a Typical Divorce Lawyer Fee Agreement Look Like?

Posted on 8/17/2017 by Robert Relph in Fee Agreements
What Does a Typical Divorce Lawyer Fee Agreement Look Like?

The following represents fairly standard paragraphs often found in fee agreements between attorneys and clients, which agreements the attorney and the client will both sign, and by which both will be bound. As we have pointed out, a fee agreement between the attorney and client is always necessary to have a clear understanding of the contractual relationship between the two. The client should carefully review the fee agreement before signing it, and feel free to ask questions of the attorney regarding the agreement prior to its signing. It is further advisable for the client to periodically review the agreement as part of maintaining a productive attorney-client relationship.

Fee Agreement

  1. Basic Financial Conditions and Limitations. Client agrees to pay Attorney a retainer fee of $00. Should the balance of Client's retainer drop below $.00, the Client shall pay a further retainer of $00. The client understands that the retainer fee will probably be less than and is not intended to constitute the total fee. Attorney shall bill against the retainer fee at the hourly rate set forth in Paragraph 2. Client understands that the hourly rate applies to, but is not limited to, research, investigation, drafting documents, conferences, telephone calls, travel, court appearances, and missed appointments. This representation is at the trial level only and will not include appeals, post-judgment or other ancillary proceedings. If this matter is scheduled for hearing, trial or arbitration, Attorney shall have the right to ask for a trial or arbitration deposit from the client. If the Client desires access to the client’s file, Attorney may charge for his services in retrieving the file (if in storage), in assembling and searching the file, and in copying the file.
  2. The hourly rate for Attorney is $ 00.00.
  3. Additional Financial Conditions. In the event the time/expense billed shall exceed the retainer fee, Client agrees to pay for such excess time at the rates set forth in Paragraph 2. In the event the time/expense billed is less than the retainer, Client shall be reimbursed accordingly. Client agrees to reimburse all court costs and other expenses advanced in connection with Client's case.
  4. Moneys due. Fees and expenses shall be billed monthly, and shall be payable upon receipt of statement. All statements will be presumed to be correct unless objected to by the Client in writing within 15 days of their receipt. Thereafter, interest shall accrue on any unpaid balance at the rate of 7 percent per annum, computed monthly. If any fees and costs are due and owing to the attorney pursuant to this agreement, Client grants to the attorney a lien on any funds and property (including real estate) received as a result of attorney's representation or held by the attorney for the benefit of the Client, arising out of the subject matter of this representation, to secure payment of those fees and costs.
  5. Billing issues. If Client wishes to discuss any billing with Attorney, Client may do so by making an appointment or a telephone call, and without being charged for any conference or conversation regarding the billing.
  6. Attorney’s Right to Withdraw From Representation. Attorney may withdraw from this matter if the Client fails to make payments required by this agreement; if the Client has misrepresented or failed to disclose material facts to Attorney, or lies under oath; if the Client chooses not to follow the advice of Attorney or violates court orders, or if the Client insists upon pursuing a course of action that Attorney considers imprudent, unethical or in contravention of any agreement reached with opposing parties, attorneys or the Court.
  7. Confidentiality. It is understood by the Attorney and the Client that their relationship is confidential, however there are exceptions to this rule which will be explained upon the Client’s request.
  8. Substitute Counsel. Client agrees that in the event Attorney is retained to substitute for another attorney(s) in this matter, Attorney takes no responsibility for actions performed by the previous attorney, nor will Attorney give opinions concerning the appropriateness of actions or representations by prior attorney.
  9. Client Provided Documents. Client understands that the Client will be required to provide documents and information to the Attorney to assist the Attorney in properly representing the Client in the proceedings. The Client further understands that the Client is responsible for providing accurate documents and information to the Attorney, and that the Attorney has the right to rely on the accuracy and completeness of the documents and information provided by the Client to the Attorney.
  10. Unspecified Time and Lack of Guarantee. Client understands that it is impossible at this time to specify the exact nature, extent, and difficulty of the contemplated services and the time involved, nor can the attorney guarantee the total for his services. Attorney shall exert his best effort at all times to represent Client's interests and rights. Client agrees that Attorney has made no promises or guarantees regarding the outcome of Client's case.