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What is the definition of "retention fee" as used by a divorce attorney?

Knoxville, TN |
Filed under: Divorce Fees

My attorney said that he would take my case and file the divorce for a specific amount, for example $250, plus a retention fee of $4,000.

Will that cover all payments he expects to get from me? What does the retention fee cover?

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Attorney answers 1


A retainer is money paid up front to the attorney to retain his/her services - meaning to keep him/her available to do your case. The attorney works and bills against the retainer. Usually the fee agreement will have a provision for the retainer to be replenished once the initial retainer is used up. Most uncontested divorces should not cost over $3000 to $4000 to complete, and in most states an attorney cannot take a divorce on a contingency fee basis. The attorney fee agreement will have other provisions for court filing fees, photocopying, postage, etc., so review your agreement to see and ask the attorney to explain the fee agreement to you again.

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