Can attorney fees be deducted from the settlement escrow?

Posted By Adam Denton, Personal Injury On October 11, 2017

Here’s an article from Steve Raiser – an NYC personal injury lawyer. The financial aspect of any divorce is often one of the most difficult aspects. Some spouses have no idea where they are financially if their spouse has always been in charge of the finances. Some spouses stay home with the kids and don’t contribute to the household income, and they’re not sure how they can care for themselves following a divorce. In fact, some people stay with their spouse in an unhappy marriage for no other reason than they aren’t sure how they can financially support themselves if they were to divorce.

In some cases, a settlement escrow is created for a couple while they’re going through their divorce. This escrow account contains money that’s used for various situations. It takes some time for a judge to get through the financial aspects of your divorce to fairly and justly divide things like assets and debts to both parties. While this occurs, a settlement escrow is created. The money in the escrow account is used for various reasons, and it can be used to pay your attorney. However, the rules and stipulations surrounding this kind of escrow payment are strict.

Your Attorney Can’t Touch the Money

The misconception people have about settlement escrow accounts is that their attorney set it up. This gives him or her the right to take their fees from the account, right? Wrong; your attorney has no right or legal ability to touch this account even if he or she is the one who created it and set it up for you. This account is strictly enforced by the court, and your attorney has no legal right to any of the money in the account.

If you want to pay your attorney fees from this account, it’s not difficult. You must provide written permission to your attorney to withdraw his or her retainer and fees from the account. It’s usually a simple task, and both parties must agree to it. In the uncommon situation that you or your spouse decide you don’t want to pay your attorney through this account or even at all, the judge in your divorce case might decide to allow your attorney the permission needed to go into the account and get their fee out.

For this to happen, your attorney must file a petition with the court for payment. It’s unlikely it will come to this if you are paying the attorney the fees he or she asked you to agree to in writing when you hired the firm to stand for your divorce. There might, however, be a time when you feel your attorney did not do his or her job ethically, with good morals, or even correctly.

If you dispute the job your attorney did, you might decide you’re not paying the fees he or she asked for when you signed a contract. You might decide to take this up with the attorney’s office and fight for your own rights, but they can still file paperwork with the court to get this money from your account. What you can do in a situation like this is explain to the judge why you’re not paying. The judge will take into consideration your story, the story the attorney tells, and then grant or deny permission based on this information.

If you want to pay your attorney from this account, you have the right to do so. There might be some instances in which you have to run it through the court before you do it, but it’s within your rights to grant your attorney permission to do this without much issue. Call your attorney to discuss this situation and find out what you must do to make it happen. You have to pay your attorney, and the settlement escrow account is a good place to start making payments.