Besides paying your professional fees to your Oakland County child custody lawyer , you you’ll also have to pay any legal expenses incurred. These expenses are direct costs your lawyer pays during his or her work for you.
Sometimes, you’ll pay the expenses upfront, and sometimes you’ll simply reimburse the attorney afterward. Some expenses are fees paid to third parties, while others are specific to the law firm. These expenses are incurred in addition to the custody lawyer’s professional fees, so you are usually charged for them separately.
Some examples of legal expenses:
– Filing fees meant for the court clerk’s office.
– Expenses in the process of subpoena.
– Writs of execution or wage assignments.
– Payment for court reporters, to take depositions.
– Payment for court reporters, to prepare transcripts.
– Expert witness fees and expenses.
– Phone calls.
– Copy expenses.
In family law cases, legal expenses can be incurred quite rapidly. An Oakland County child custody lawyer is always aware that they can be sued for malpractice, so they are very happy to use many different types of experts to back up their points of view, including appraisers, accountants, psychiatrists and actuaries. When you use experts, you’ll need to pay for the time it takes to prepare them, their testifying time, and the time it takes them to travel to and from their court appearances.
Fee Retainers and Agreements
When you hire an Oakland County custody attorney, you sign what’s called a “fee agreement,” or contract. This agreement describes just how much you’ll be charged and for what services.
Typically, this contract will include the lawyer’s hourly rate or other type of rate arrangement, as well as any additional legal expenses you’ll pay. This fee agreement is very important, and if you don’t read through it carefully, you might be unpleasantly surprised.
When you sign the contract, you’ll often have to pay a retainer fee. This retainer fee is something you pay a letter in order that they take your case. Usually, it’s a lump sum amount, between $1000 and $15,000, usually.
In general, retainer fees are credited against future work a Oakland County child custody lawyer is going to do for you. This means that when the lawyer first begins to work for you, he or she will spend the money in the retainer. When that money is used up, the lawyer begins to bill you.
Many Oakland County custody lawyers also insist that the retainer fee be nonrefundable, and that they can keep any amount they don’t actually spend on the case. Other lawyers insist that a portion of the retainer fee, such as 80%, is nonrefundable. Regardless, you can usually negotiate this particular point.
Once you know how much you’re going to pay, you have to determine how you’re going to pay.
A law firm can use any billing method it wants to, but most lawyers allow clients to pay monthly installments.
For the client, this type of monthly billing lets payments be spread out evenly over time. It’s also a much easier way to keep track of expenses if you request an itemized bill from a lawyer.
For lawyers, sometimes monthly billing poses problems, because oftentimes, the work they do doesn’t match up with how much they’ve been paid thus far. This means that they might have to do most of the work without being paid, and then wait in the end to be paid. This means that some clients may not pay at all.
An Oakland County child custody lawyer may have little choice about monthly payments, unless their reputations are so stellar as to be highly in demand. Most clients don’t have the money to pay the entire fee upfront at once, and must resort to monthly payments.