Virginia Attorney Fees FAQs
Can I get attorney fees?
Courts rarely award attorney’s fees at the beginning of a case. Courts often award some attorney’s fees at the end of the case, in the final hearing, but they rarely award all the fees you have incurred. However, if the divorce has been awarded on fault grounds, and the court finds one person is responsible for the divorce, it is more likely that some attorney’s fees will be awarded to the innocent spouse.
How are attorney fees calculated?
Most lawyers do not work on credit, so you will usually have to be able to pay your attorney an initial retainer upfront. Generally, a divorce lawyer will tell you how much money they need as an initial retainer to take your case after you have discussed the facts of your case and your particular needs with them. They should also present you with a contract for their services, which will more fully describe your rights and responsibilities with regard to the fees to be paid. Divorce lawyers bill you for the time that they spend working on your case based on their hourly rates. They will hold your initial retainer in trust for you in their trust account and deduct their fees from your initial retainer as they earn them and the case goes along. Contingent fees are not allowed in divorce cases; you pay for the time your divorce lawyer spends working on your case, and not a set fee for the case or for reaching a particular result.
How much will my divorce cost?
There is no way to tell how much your divorce will cost, because so much of the cost is determined by what your spouse does and how often you have to go to court, or are dragged into court, in order to protect your rights. Cases that settle are generally less costly than cases that must be litigated in court.