What is a Retainer?

A retainer is the fancy legal word for upfront money to hire an Attorney.

Most Attorneys, especially in the Divorce and Criminal realms, require an upfront retainer, or money paid in advance of services.

I require such an upfront retainer. The amount will depend upon the difficulties that the Attorney sees in your case.

The difficulties include things like how long was the marriage, what is the likelihood of spousal maintenance being paid by either party, how long is that spousal maintenance likely to be paid, or how long should it be paid, are there minor children, is there a strong possibility that the parties will fight over custody of the children and visitation issues, how much debt exists, especially in contrast to the parties' income, how much assets to be divided, does the Client have realistic goals in mind with regard to all of these issues or is the Client reaching for too much or perhaps too little, has there been domestic violence in the case, do any restraining orders exist?

Any one or more of these issues increases the difficulty of the case, and increases the likelihood that the case will not settle. That is why the Attorney usually needs to speak personally with the Client in his or her office, before quoting what that retainer will be.

95% of divorce cases do however end up in a negotiated settlement.