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What is a Retainer and How Does it Work?

Retainer fees are common among divorce attorneys, but many clients have questions about what a retainer is and how it works. In short, a retainer is a sum of money paid up front for a lawyer’s services. ​​The fees charged are an estimate of the fees needed to start your family law matter.

As the attorney provides services to the client, the cost of those services are deducted from the retainer. The retainer is applied to various expenses associated with handling the case, such as the lawyer’s hourly fees, court costs, and other administrative expenses related to the family law matter.

Will the retainer take care of everything related to the case?

The retainer is an estimate, and while your attorney will try to estimate as closely to accurate as possible, things may come up during the course of your divorce that end up costing more than what was initially estimated during the case evaluation. If the retainer is depleted, you will be asked to replenish it.

If additional funds are still left in the retainer after your case has been handled, the funds may be returned; however, be sure to thoroughly read and understand your lawyer’s retainer agreement prior to engaging their services, as each attorney assesses fees differently.

How much does a retainer cost?

Retainer costs vary case-by-case depending on their complexity, but an average retainer fee for a Florida divorce is typically between $2,500-$7,000. When hiring an attorney, it’s important to ask questions about how they charge and what is included in their retainer fee so you aren’t caught off guard with additional surprises or expenses.

For questions about Florida family law issues or to schedule a case evaluation, contact us today at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group.