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Tag: legal fees

Why is a lawyer charging me $1,500 for a court order?

I do not know. Ask your lawyer. And ask sincerely. Feel free to be frank, but ask sincerely.

If his/her answer does not make sense (and you’re being honest with yourself and not trying to act as though you don’t understand), then say so.

If, after your lawyer takes another stab at explaining the bill, your lawyer’s answers still honestly don’t make sense, it may be that you were overcharged.

If you honestly believe you were overcharged (and you aren’t simply making false claims of being overcharged for the purpose of taking advantage of your attorney), then say so. If your attorney agrees (whether he/she will admit it or not), your attorney may reduce your bill.

If your attorney will not reduce the bill despite your complaints/requests for a reduction, then you may have good cause to take the matter up with the bar association and/or with a court.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/Why-is-a-lawyer-charging-me-1500-for-a-court-order/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Where can I find a pro bono lawyer when being charged with contempt of child support in MN?

You may have a very difficult time finding free legal representation, BUT you may have a much easier time getting advice as to how you can and should proceed and how to defend yourself effectively. 

Many lawyers don’t have the time or desire to represent people in your position for free (it’s a mess, lawyers don’t have a lot of free time to give their services away, and lawyers don’t like doing work for free—it’s hard enough collecting their fees from the clients who ostensibly agreed to pay them), but many lawyers will volunteer at legal clinics to provide legal information and some basic advice or guidance. Law school often run such clinics as well. 

There are organizations that provide free or discounted representation under the right conditions (the main factor being that you can prove you clearly cannot afford to pay for an attorney’s services). 

Contact your local bar association and the law schools nearest you to find out where these clinics and charitable legal services organizations are (find out if they hold clinics or consultations remotely (like via Zoom). Ask about other services that may be available free of charge or at a discounted rate. 

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277  

https://www.quora.com/Where-can-I-find-a-pro-bono-lawyer-when-being-charged-with-contempt-of-child-support-in-MN/answer/Eric-Johnson-311  

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How long will an attorney work on your case if you can’t afford to pay them any more? This would be for a divorce, and they start to realize that they’re not going to get money from the other spouse. 

Good question. 

It depends mostly upon whether your attorney has a big heart and/or no head for business.

Generally, an attorney who takes your case without being paid as he/she goes but defers payment in the hope that he/she will be paid out of what you collect from your spouse is probably not a very intelligent or competent attorney. Some attorneys (usually new ones or desperate ones—and desperate ones are often new ones) will work a case, even if a client stops paying for his/her work, long after the client stops paying. These kinds of attorneys do this in the desperate hope that the client will eventually pay or because they believe that by getting stiffed, they are heroes/martyrs. In truth, however, these kinds of attorneys are simple fools because clients who have stopped paying (not fallen behind but got caught up—those kinds of clients are fairly common, and we’ve all been a little short sometimes, so it’s good when a creditor will cut us a little slack, as long as we don’t abuse the creditor’s good will) almost never, ever resume paying or paying their past due balances. 

To be sure, sometimes a client honestly runs out of money, and when that occurs, the attorney must understand that he/she cannot stay in business working for people who don’t pay for his/her services. There is a class of clients who are simply grifters; they seek out the easy marks and when they find them, they exploit them. These are people who deliberately plan on paying an attorney some money up front to get a case going (and to get the attorney mentally and emotionally invested in the case), who then stop paying but keep the attorney slaving away by telling the attorney things along the lines of, “Oh, I’ve had some hard times, but I will pay you just as soon as I can, so keep working and I’ll pay you eventually, I promise,” or “Once you win me that chunk of money, I’ll pay you out of that,” or, “Please help me! I need this so badly! Think of the children!!!,” stuff like that. Such clients are poison. 

Some lawyers (I was such a lawyer once) believe that non-paying clients are better than no clients, so they keep working for non-paying clients in the pathetic (but all too human) belief/hope that the client will be so happy with the great work the attorney does that the client cannot help but finally pay the bill out of gratitude and decency. Such lawyers are chumps. Other attorneys get a sense of nobility from working without pay “to help a struggling client” and to “make my little corner of the world a better place”.

Now don’t get me wrong: attorneys will, at times, volunteer to help those who are poor, but there’s a difference between choosing to work without pay and being duped into working without pay. There’s nothing noble about being a sucker. 

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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How long will an attorney work on your case if you can’t afford to pay them any more? This would be for a divorce and they start to realize that they’re not going to get money from the other spouse.

It depends mostly upon whether your attorney has a big heart and/or no head for business. Generally, an attorney who takes your case without being paid as he/she goes, but defers payment in the hope that he/she will be paid out of what you collect from your spouse is probably not a very intelligent or competent attorney.

Some attorneys (usually new ones or desperate ones—and desperate ones are often new ones) will work a case, even if a client stops paying for his/her work, long after the client stops paying. These kinds of attorneys do this in the desperate hope that the client will eventually pay or because they believe that by getting stiffed they are heroes/martyrs.

In truth, however, these kinds of attorneys are simple fools because clients who have stopped paying (not fallen behind but got caught up—those kinds of clients are fairly common, and we’ve all been a little short sometimes, so it’s good when a creditor will cut us a little slack, as long as we don’t abuse the creditor’s good will) almost never, ever resume paying or paying their past due balances.

To be sure, sometimes a client honestly runs out of money, and when that occurs, the attorney must understand that he/she cannot stay in business working for people who don’t pay for his/her services.

There is a class of clients who are simply grifters; they seek out the easy marks and when they find them, they exploit them. These are people who deliberately plan on paying an attorney some money up front to get a case going (and to get the attorney mentally and emotionally invested in the case), who then stop paying but keep the attorney slaving away by telling the attorney things along the lines of, “Oh, I’ve had some hard times, but I will pay you just as soon as I can, so keep working and I’ll pay you eventually, I promise,” or “Once you win me that chunk of money, I’ll pay you out of that,” or, “Please help me! I need this so badly! Think of the children!!!,” stuff like that. Such clients are poison.

Some lawyers (I was such a lawyer once) believe that non-paying clients are better than no clients, so they keep working for non-paying clients in the pathetic (but all too human) belief/hope that the client will be so happy with the great work the attorney does that the client cannot help but finally pay the bill out of gratitude and decency. Such lawyers are chumps.

Other attorneys get a sense of nobility from working without pay “to help a struggling client” and to “make my little corner of the world a better place”. Now don’t get me wrong: attorneys will, at times, volunteer to help those who are poor, but there’s a difference between choosing to work without pay and being duped into working without pay. There’s nothing noble about being a sucker.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/How-long-will-an-attorney-work-on-your-case-if-you-cant-afford-to-pay-them-any-more-This-would-be-for-a-divorce-and-they-start-to-realize-that-theyre-not-going-to-get-money-from-the-other-spouse/answer/Eric-Johnson-311?prompt_topic_bio=1

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How is it possible that people go bankrupt during divorce in the USA? Isn’t it a 50/50 split?

How is it possible that people go bankrupt during divorce in the USA? Isn’t it a 50/50 split?

It’s not “the divorce” that causes people to go bankrupt, it’s the financial strain that a divorce case either causes or exacerbates.

Here are the top three reasons why divorce and bankruptcy so often go hand in hand:

  • People can literally go bankrupt by incurring debt for legal fees. Contested divorces can easily cost $50,000 and only go up and up from there. Few people have that much discretionary spending money, so they go into debt to finance their divorce case and then find themselves unable to pay the creditors, so they file for bankruptcy.

Many people are insolvent or near-insolvent before they or their spouses file for divorce, and so:

  • some people don’t file for bankruptcy because they don’t want their family to suffer the effects of bankruptcy, but if their spouses file for divorce and break up the family, then the reason/motivation to put off filing for bankruptcy no longer exists.
  • for other people the financial support from their spouses are the only thing that keeps bankruptcy at bay. Once their spouses are out of the financial picture, they can’t put off bankruptcy any longer.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/How-is-it-possible-that-people-go-bankrupt-during-divorce-in-the-USA-Isnt-it-a-50-50-split/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Can I ask a lawyer, “Would you elaborate your legal fees?”?

Of course you can ask the attorney to explain the basis for his/her legal fees and services pricing.

Any attorney worth his/her salt and who has the requisite amount of humility and empathy will be willing to provide you with such an explanation. Indeed, any attorney that would be offended by a request to elaborate on the bases for his/her billing rates and services pricing is probably an attorney who has something to hide with regard to fees (and perhaps other flaws and failings).

Sure, you can ask a lawyer to give you quote for a flat fee or an estimate of fees or a promise not to charge up to a certain amount. That does not mean that the attorney must negotiate with you or make concessions as to what he/she charges, but an attorney is certainly not prevented from negotiating billing rates and prices with you.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/I-want-to-get-an-offer-from-a-lawyer-Can-I-ask-Could-you-please-elaborate-your-legal-fee-for-handling-the-case-for-us/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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If one spouse insists on divorce, shouldn’t he/she pay all legal fees?

Not necessarily “wrong,” but rather unlikely (not impossible, but unlikely, but read on to see what exceptions may apply).

It may be reasonable of you to argue to the court that since you did not want a divorce (and presumably because you did nothing to justify your spouse filing for divorce) it would be unfair for you to be ordered to pay for the attorney’s fees and court costs your spouse incurs in seeking a divorce from you. you have a good chance of convincing the court that your spouse should bear his/her own attorneys fees and court costs incurred in his/her efforts to obtain a divorce from you.

But would it be reasonable for you to ask the court that your spouse pay yourattorney’s fees and court costs that you incurred in the divorce case? that’s a more difficult question to answer because there are so many variables that can exist.

Here are a couple of examples I can think of where a court might award you your reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs against your spouse in a divorce action, regardless of whether you filed for divorce or whether your spouse did:

(the statutes that I cite are out of the Utah Code because I practice divorce law in the state of Utah)

Utah Code § 30-3-3. Award of costs, attorney and witness fees — Temporary alimony.

(1) In any action filed under Title 30, Chapter 3, Divorce, Chapter 4, Separate Maintenance, or Title 78B, Chapter 7, Part 1, Cohabitant Abuse Act, and in any action to establish an order of custody, parent-time, child support, alimony, or division of property in a domestic case, the court may order a party to pay the costs, attorney fees, and witness fees, including expert witness fees, of the other party to enable the other party to prosecute or defend the action. The order may include provision for costs of the action.

(3) In any action listed in Subsection (1), the court may order a party to provide money, during the pendency of the action, for the separate support and maintenance of the other party and of any children in the custody of the other party.

So Utah Code § 30-3-3 provides that your spouse could be ordered to pay your attorney’s fees and other litigation costs, if you could show that you need your spouse to do so to enable you to defend yourself and/or prosecute your counter suit against your spouse in the divorce action.

The criteria the court considers when determining whether you are worthy of having your spouse pay your attorney fees and other litigation costs are primarily – arguably exclusively – financial in nature.

Otherwise stated, if your spouse makes substantially more money than you do, and you don’t make enough money to support yourself and have enough left over to pay for an attorney and other litigation costs, the court may order your spouse to give you money prospectively to cover your costs as the case unfolds, and the court can award you a judgment for the amount of attorney’s fees you have incurred at the end of the case.

Another basis for obtaining a judgment against your spouse for your attorneys fees (just your attorneys fees) is found in Utah Code §78B-5–825.

  • § 78B-5-825. Attorney fees — Award where action or defense in bad faith — Exceptions.

(1) In civil actions, the court shall award reasonable attorney fees to a prevailing party if the court determines that the action or defense to the action was without merit and not brought or asserted in good faith, except under Subsection (2).

(2) The court, in its discretion, may award no fees or limited fees against a party under Subsection (1), but only if the court:

(a) finds the party has filed an affidavit of impecuniosity in the action before the court; or

(b) the court enters in the record the reason for not awarding fees under the provisions of Subsection (1).

So if your spouse engaged in bad faith and vexatious litigation tactics, which cause you to incur unreasonably high attorney’s fees, the court could award you attorney’s fees under §78B-5–825.

Finally, a divorce court has broad equitable powers that it can invoke to award attorneys fees and other sanctions against your spouse, if the Judge finds that you have a need for your spouse to pay these expenses and/or because your spouse’s inequitable conduct justifies an award of attorney’s fees and litigation costs to you.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/If-one-spouse-is-insisting-on-divorce-is-it-wrong-to-insist-he-or-she-pay-all-of-the-legal-fees/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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