How Do Sacramento Divorce Legal Retainer Agreements Work?

by | Aug 12, 2013 | Firm News |

One confusing aspect of hiring a Sacramento divorce attorney is understanding the concept of a legal retainer agreement.  Often times parties hear the retainer cost and assume that is all that the case will ever cost them.  So if a Sacramento divorce attorney tells a prospective client that his legal retainer is $3,000, the prospective client may be tempted to think that his divorce case will cost up to $3,000 and then the Sacramento divorce attorney will not charge him anymore.

This is a misconception about Sacramento divorce cases.  A legal retainer is a contract between the attorney and the client to provide ongoing Sacramento divorce legal services in return for payment of the attorney’s hourly rate.  The retainer is simply a fund that is available for the attorney to bill as he works on the client’s case.  If the retainer fund runs out during the course of the case, the client has the obligation to replenish the fund with new money in order to keep the attorney in the case.  The attorney will not continue work on a case that does not contain available funds to pay for his services.

The reason Sacramento divorce attorneys charge a legal retainer that is renewable when empty is because there is no way to determine in advance what a case will cost.  It depends completely upon how many times the parties go to court, how interested each party is in litigating over issues, how many issues there are to litigate, the things that come up during the middle of the case that must be handled, how unreasonable one or both of the parties are being, and how quickly settlement is reached or how long the final trial takes.

If you are involved in Sacramento divorce and you want to discuss representation and our legal retainer options, please give our experienced family law attorneys a call.  We offer a free half-hour consultation in which we can discuss your case and demonstrate how we may be able to help you.