How Does A Santa Clarita Divorce Retainer Work

How Does A Santa Clarita Divorce Retainer Work

Okay, I am writing this article mostly because of the clients who have called me after spending thousands of dollars on their divorce with an attorney and are not even close to being divorced.  This is not a jab at attorney, but rather at the folks who did not take the time to read the retainer agreement when they signed up with their divorce attorney of choice.

How A Retainer Works

Just about any divorce lawyer you talk to is going to want an upfront retainer fee before they will do any work on your case.  The retainer fee is also called a deposit.  A good way to look at a deposit is as your first payment toward the fees that will be charged for any work done on your case.

A retainer amount depends on a couple of factors such as the attorneys hourly rate and the complexity of your case.  But in most cases, the retainer amount will be the going rate for you community and what they think they can get out of you before you walk down the street to the next building full of divorce attorneys.

I was reading an article in a self help book and it says that retaines are usually around $10,000 to $15,000.  I disagree. In my experience working in major law firms in Santa Clarita, the retainer amount is usually around $5,000.

But either way, that money goes fast when you attorney is charing you $40o per hour.  You do the math.  How many hours of work are you going to get on the $5,000?

The retainer you pay goes into the lawyers trust account and it is withdrawn from the trust account as the hours are worked and the fees are charged on your case.

Once the deposit is gone, the attorney will either send you a bill each month for the additional charges or ask you for a new deposit.

What A Retainer Is Not 

A retainer is not the total of your costs or the estimate of what it will cost to complete your divorce.

I have had too many people call me telling me their attorney blew through $5,000 and nothing has been done.  They thought that the $5,000 was the total cost of getting divorced.  It wasn’t.

You have to use common sense here.  There is no way an attorney can tell you the total cost of getting a divorce.  They may provide you with an estimate, but that is all it will be.

The only way to know your total costs of divorce are to work with a fixed fee service.  There are no attorneys to my knowledge that do this.

Our divorce service, however, operates on a fixed fee basis.  What we quote you for your divorce will be the total cost to get you through the divorce process.  No hidden fees or hourly rates here.  Give us a call to find out how affordable our rates are.