Legal Fee FAQs

Massachusetts Legal Fee

Do you have legal fee questions?

We have compiled a list of questions we hear regularly from our clients regarding legal fees and have provided the answers below.

What Types of Payment Arrangements do you Offer?

  1. Retainer Fee Structure (Hourly Time Based Billing)
    • A retainer fee is simply a down payment to cover some of the divorce or family law attorney’s fees and the other costs of the case. Most lawyers bill this way and charge for their services by the hour.  They use their hourly rate to calculate the retainer fee by multiplying it by the expected number of hours they will work.  Some lawyers will also use different hourly rates depending on the nature of work. For example, a lawyer may charge $270 per hour for legal research and $350 to appear in court. However, some lawyers also have a flat rate to simplify billing for their clients.
    • Time based legal fees earned on retainer are used for most of the matters that we handle. Our office uses the latest technology to track and record all client work in detail. At the end of every billing cycle the client has the opportunity to review the bill prior to incurring any fees.  We offer competitive billing rates, and the rate is dependent on the complexity of the matter.
  2. Flat Fee
    • We offer limited assistance representation. In some cases, you do not need to answer the question: how much is a retainer fee for a divorce or family law lawyer? You may not need to pay a retainer for a divorce lawyer. Some lawyers may charge a flat fee instead of an hourly rate. This set amount covers the entire case.
    • The fee depends on the type of case and may change depending on circumstances. For example, a divorce attorney may charge $2000 for an uncontested divorce, with the provision that they will charge by the hour if it switches to a contested case in the middle of proceedings.
    • Flat fees are relatively uncommon because they require both parties to be in complete agreement on all the terms of the case.
    • Be sure to read reviews of a law firm online before engaging in dealings with them, and read the fine print before signing a fee agreement of any kind. A retainer fee for a divorce lawyer may be the better option if you are unsure about what the flat fee covers.
  3. Consultation Fee
    • A consultation fee is a fee paid in advance for any meetings needed to discuss your case if we have not yet been retained to represent you.
    • Fixed fees are available for most legal matters.
    • The fee is dependent on the specific matter. The fee is arrived at after we understand the client’s needs and services requested.
    • Fixed fees are available for both contested and uncontested matters. The fee is paid in advance and includes all agreed upon items. Fixed fees allow the client to not worry about the expense of a divorce throughout the process. Additionally, some clients prefer knowing that they will not be individually charged for every separate contact with the firm.
I Don't Want a Divorce or to be Involved in a Family Court Case; Why Should I Have to Pay for it?
Why Do Lawyers Charge the Fees That They Do?
How Much Does a Divorce or Family Court Case Cost?
Is There Anything I Can do to Help Keep the Costs of my Case Down?
Can I Make my Spouse Pay my Lawyer Fees?
Why does my lawyer charge me every time we talk on the phone or I send an e-mail?
What if I can't pay for appraisers and other experts?
Why do I have to pay a lawyer to force my ex-spouse to comply?
What If I Can’t Afford A Lawyer?