Yes, some divorce lawyers will offer payment plans. While it is not the typical pay structure for these legal professionals, it can be beneficial for some of their clients to have increased fiscal flexibility. Below MM Law looks at what the possible payment structures are for this type of lawyer and how to approach them in order to possibly succeed in a payment plan.
The Types of Divorce Lawyer Payment Structures
Every divorce lawyer will require a retainer payment at the outset of their services. This creates a legal agreement that allows them to afford you the full power of the relationship, like lawyer-client confidentiality and so on. This fee is non-refundable and a one-time cost.
After the initial retainer payment, divorce lawyers will likely estimate the total or anticipated cost of their services. Of course, this can vary widely depending on the unique circumstances surrounding the case. For instance, costs can skyrocket if litigation becomes necessary between both parties. No matter the case, however, a general estimate of the costs will be outlined once the legal professional has a solid grasp of the situation.
This estimate could be an hourly rate, where the lawyer assumes a certain number of hours while still leaving themselves room to charge more if things take longer to finish than expected. Another version of the estimate could be a lump sum cost, totaling all the anticipated costs for a set of services rendered. However, there may also be another option.
A contingency fee is much more common in personal injury law than it is in divorce law but may be a way for a divorce lawyer to charge their client. In this system, the divorce lawyer will not receive payment until a certain condition is met, like the successful conclusion of the divorce. This can be helpful for dependent spouses who may not have access to funds until a settlement is reached.
Finally, there is the option of a payment plan. In this payment structure, the lawyer will receive regular installments from their client, allowing them to pay off the cost of their services in smaller, more manageable increments. How can one go about getting this type of payment structure for their divorce?
Honesty & Respect with Your Divorce Lawyer
Like most people, divorce lawyers are friendly and understanding to those who don’t appear to be deceiving or taking advantage of them. This means that if you are experiencing financial strife or other problems, you may be able to ask for their assistance and accommodation of your unique situation. So long as you are upfront and honest about the reasons that you are requesting a payment plan, the right lawyer is likely to lend you a hand to ensure that your divorce can be carried out successfully.
In some cases, you may not get the ideal payment plan you’re hoping for, but a compromise could still be reached. Sometimes this could be a reduction in the retainer fee or a different form of payment. Ultimately, however, this decision will be made in collaboration with you and your lawyer of choice.