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Hiring a lawyer for family court

Yonkers, NY |

I am going back to family court as a respondent. I am still owe my lawyer a balance from my precious court proceedings. He will not take my case until I pay the balance and put a larger retainer fee. Is this standard practice? Should I just hire another lawyer? I have a feeling that I will be in court for a long time since it is a modification and violation hearings. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Why should the lawyer represent you if you owe him money? Lawyers have financial obligations too.

    The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


  2. Yes, it is standard practice, it's shocking that you would ask such a question, since it is common sense. If he did the work, you should absolutely pay your attorney. He has a right to charge you a higher retainer, if you haven't paid him, he has no faith that you won't do the same to him again. Why should he continue to represent you, if you owe him money? Would you continue to go to work at your job, if your employer tells you that he will not be able to pay you for the work that you did the week before? Of course not. Pay the attorney, since it will cost you more to bring another attorney up to speed on your case. You always want to have a continuation of representation by the same attorney, unless they are doing a poor job, since they know the history of your case better than another attorney. Additionally, the new attorney will ask you why you didn't use your prior attorney and when you tell them that you didn't pay, they will charge you a high retainer also. They may even call your prior attorney and ask if there was a breakdown in the relationship. Pay your bill...noone works for free.


  3. This is standard practice. You should pay your prior attorney regardless of who you decide to use this time around. If you were satisfied with the services rendered by your attorney, you should seriously consider using them again.

    The content of this post is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. I am not your attorney and no attorney-client relationship has been formed based upon this exchange.


  4. Yes, I think its reasonable from a business perspective. I, for one, do not accept new retainers (generally speaking) if a client owes a balance from a prior case.

    * If you found my answer to be "HELPFUL," or the "BEST ANSWER," please feel free to mark it accordingly.