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Understanding your Legal Fees in a Divorce

By Ullian Associates of The Law Firm of Ullian & Associates, P.C. on April 23, 2015

It is important to discuss and understand all aspects of your legal Fee Agreement with your divorce attorney before you sign it. You should know each attorney's hourly rate, the types of services they bill for, what their minimum billing period is, the expenses you will be charged for, and when you are expected to pay your bills. Additionally, most divorce attorneys require a retainer to be paid at the outset of the case. You should know how this retainer will be applied to your legal bill, what happens when it is used, and what happens to the money if your case is over and funds still remain from the retainer.

Sometimes at the end of a divorce case a client disagrees with their invoice and the amount that is due. If that is the case, you should first raise this concern with tour attorney. If the matter cannot be resolved, then you can seek to have your matter heard by the Massachusetts Bar Association's Fee Arbitration Board instead of filing a lawsuit. You can have an attorney represent you at the hearing if you choose. The sole issue to be decided by the Fee Arbitration Board is what amount of attorney fees are fair and reasonable. You present your case in front of either a one or three person panel. If there is one arbitrator, it is an attorney and if there is a three person panel, there are two attorneys and one lay person. The panel will make a decision as to how much, if any, should be paid to the attorney. For more information on the process visit the Massachusetts Bar Association's Fee Arbitration Board's website here.

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