Attorneys Fees & Costs
Every attorney sets his or her own attorney’s fees, retainers, and payment arrangements, and has his or her philosophy about billing. Please link to the individual lawyer for more information, or contact his or her office directly.
You should expect any experienced attorney to quote you a retainer to handle minimum charges. A retainer is a down payment toward fees, court costs, and expenses. Retainers may be quoted based on the complexity of the case, nature of the legal issues, or subjective matters that the attorney feels are relevant. Most Family Law matters are billed on an hourly basis, plus court costs, and some expenses - giving you an estimate for total fees is very difficult, because it is very dependent upon the reasonableness of both parties and both lawyers.
In Family Law, fees are usually awarded on the basis of one party's need for fees and the greater ability of the other party to pay. Frequently, fees for both sides will be paid from a common community source if one exists.
Contrary to popular belief, it is rare for the court to require one party to pay all of the fees of the other, unless there is a great disparity of incomes or assets, or misconduct by someone in the case. Making frivolous requests, hiding assets, misrepresenting facts to the court are some reasons a court may order one party to pay a lot of the other's expenses relating to the litigation.
If you have specific questions about whether you may be obligated to pay or entitled to receive attorney’s fees, you should discuss them with a qualified lawyer.