I Want To Retain An Attorney. How Much Will It Cost?

Everyone seeking a divorce wants to know the same thing: "How much will it cost?"

The only honest answer any family law attorney can give to that question is: "I do not know."

I will do everything on my part to control costs, work to settle your case and limit litigation as much as possible. However, I only control one-half of any of my cases. It is the other half that I do not control that makes me have to admit that I do not know how much your divorce will cost. If you meet with a family law attorney who tells you that your divorce will only cost a specific amount of money, that means one of two things:

(1) The attorney has little or no experience practicing family law, or

(2) The attorney is just trying to get your money.

If you decide to hire me, you will be asked to sign a retainer agreement and pay a retainer fee. The retainer fee can range from $750 to as much as $10,000 based upon the complexity of your case. Most initial retainer payments are between $1,500 and $2,500.

Whatever the amount of your retainer payment, it is still your money. It is deposited into a trust account monitored by the Illinois Supreme Court. At the end of each month, you receive a detailed billing statement explaining exactly what services were provided and how much you were charged.

If I do not earn a retainer payment, it is returned to you. Usually, if there are no serious complications with your case, the initial retainer payment will cover most, if not all, of the legal fees and costs.

The other thing you will need to know about attorney fees is what is known as "minimal billing" or "standard billing." There are several other euphemisms for what is basically a way to charge you for an hour for what really takes five minutes. I will charge you only for the time actually spent on your case. I will also advise you so that you obtain the maximum benefit for services provided.