Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers - Do you have a Representation or Fee Agreement with Yours?
March 29, 2012
Trusting your Rhode Island divorce lawyer is one thing. Turning over control of your life and your financial stability to that lawyer lacks common sense.
Virtually every client who is retaining or engaging the services of a divorce lawyer to represent him or her in a divorce matter should have a signed fee agreement with that lawyer. That while I understand that sometimes both the lawyer and the client may have intentions of preparing and executing such an agreement it may get delayed in the shuffle if the client is in need of services as quickly as possible, it should not be forgotten entirely.
A signed retainer agreement, fee agreement or engagement letter is crucial to both the lawyer and the client. It is the foundation of your agreement and for the most part it should spell out the client's major responsibilities and obligations to the lawyer and the lawyer's responsibilities and obligations to the client. In shorthand, it tells the lawyer what he or she is receiving out of the fee arrangement or agreement. It also tells the client what he or she is receiving from his or her lawyer out of the very same fee arrangement or agreement. For the most part it is the foundation of the relationship between the RI divorce lawyer / attorney and the client.
What happens if you don't have an agreement with your lawyer? Frankly, you could have a time bomb waiting to explode.
I'll explain why in tomorrow's article.
For now, you should know that the agreement should contain all the major terms of what the ri divorce lawyer and the client have agreed to, including the price, how things will be charged, what things will be charged, what things will not be charged, and what the scope of the matter is.
Many people often have misconceptions about what the divorce lawyer must do for them. As a result, a client may make demands on the attorney that are unreasonable or simply aren't possible, but just as it is said in retail stores that "the customer is always right" the client often believes that the same is true for them. Frequently this is not the case! This is precisely the reason that a fee agreement between the lawyer and a client when representation in a court is involved is so crucial. This is especially true when it comes down to payment and terms of what the payments cover.
Lastly, the Fee Agreement between the RI divorce lawyer and the client should be signed by both the lawyer and the client for the sake of clarity. When both parties sign the contract for services for payment between them, then if either party ever has to proceed to court to enforce the agreement that absent a claim of forgery the court usually knows that the lawyer and the client have each agreed to the terms in the fee or retainer agreement. The signature of each party is always one of the most important parts of the agreement.
Read tomorrow's article for an example of what can happen when there is no fee agreement between the parties.
All my Best to All Who Go Before the Rhode Island Family Court,
I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall ... "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."