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This is a really unfortunate situation, and there is no “easy answer.” First and foremost, lawyers always take steps to protect themselves prior to beginning work for a client. Most will talk to you about the expected costs, in order to make sure you’re on the same page, and then take a retainer upfront from clients. That way, if you default on one, or two, bills, they are covered for at least some of the work they’ve done.
Obviously, things can change – and a client’s finances can go downhill – especially in cases of divorce. As a result, some clients are unable to make a payment – going forward. If this happens to you, or if you think this will happen to you in the near future, you should inform your lawyer immediately. Many people are afraid of talking about their finances with a lawyer – and think they lawyer will drop them. Quite frankly, it’s in the lawyers best interest to work with you. Remember – getting new clients is hard, especially for an attorney. It’s much easier for NYC divorce attorney you hire, to be lenient – and work with you, rather than drop you as a client. If you are straightforward, many lawyers will try to work out a reasonable payment plan. Some may be willing to change your case to a contingency fee based fee structure, or might agree to postpone payments – in order to reduce the financial stress on you – the client.
If you’ve hired a divorce attorney, we highly recommend being transparent and honest. Many clients who run into financial difficulties, often lie to their attorney – and then create a huge wave of problems. If a lawyer is doing good work for you, you should never lie to him – because he could, and has every right, to drop you as a client – if you mislead him, or fail to pay him. In addition, some lawyers may get pissed off – and decide to sue you for the money you owe them. This means you’ll have to pay even more fees. It’s much easier to treat this like any other debt, and be transparent + talk it out with the attorney. No lawyer likes to sue his clients, and most will try to work out something.