For many clients, it is important to understand how attorney’s fees are structured and how a lawyer typically accepts payment. Although there is no guarantee that any two attorneys will handle their fees in the same way, a majority of attorney follow there are some standard fee guidelines.
Attorney Fee Deposits
Most divorce attorneys require a fee deposit at the outset of your case. The amount you are billed each month is deducted from your deposit. Each time the deposit is depleted, you will likely be asked to replenish it.
Method of Payment
In Arizona, you are allowed to utilize marital assets to pay your attorney’s fees. Many attorneys also accept credit cards, and it is also acceptable to use a community credit card to pay your fees as well.
There are circumstances, however, when a party to a lawsuit may not be able to access community funds because an account or income stream is “controlled” by the other party. Short of borrowing from friends or family, you may petition the court to gain access to such funds or request an order that your spouse pay your attorney’s fees. If requested, the court may also divide liquid assets equally at the outset of a case.
Potential for Reimbursement?
At the end of your case, the court may order that one party reimburse the other for attorney’s fees incurred. In Arizona, the court is directed by law to review two specific factors in determining whether a party should be ordered to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees and costs:
- The financial resources of the parties, and
- The reasonableness of the positions taken by each party during the case.
Your attorney can explain your chance of obtaining or recovering attorney’s fees in your particular case. Contact us at Hallier Stearns PLC for more information about our attorney’s fees.