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What Is The Average Retainer Fee For A Divorce Lawyer?

by Katherine Pate
What Is The Average Retainer Fee For A Divorce Lawyer?

Retainer fees are common for divorce lawyers. Retainer fees are down payments for legal services. For the most part, it is merely an estimate of the lawyer’s fees and administrative costs associated with the case. 

It is necessary for the lawyer to keep the retainer in a separate trust account from their business account. Their trust account is then used to deduct the cost of services they provide to clients.

In most cases, the lawyer will send the client a monthly account statement showing their hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours they provided for the month. This statement can be used to track costs.

There are usually fees and court costs associated with a retainer, as well as other administrative costs. There are times, however, when a retainer consists only of fees. It is possible that you will be billed for additional charges later on in this situation.

Typical Retainer Fee in a Divorce Case

So, how much is a retainer for a divorce lawyer?

Defining an average retainer fee is difficult because divorce lawyers charge different retainer fees. The fee ranges from $1000 to $5000+, depending on the lawyer. Retainer fees usually range from $3000 to $5000, depending on the lawyer and the complexity of the case. It may vary depending on the city and state too. For example, if you are looking for a divorce lawyer in Denver, it would start at $3,500 and goes up to $35,000.

Exactly What Does A Retainer Fee Cover?

How much does a divorce lawyer charge for a retainer? Based on your attorney’s agreement with you, your retainer fee may cover many things.

  • As part of your retainer agreement, you can expect to be told how much you will pay and how the fees of other lawyers will be calculated.
  • As part of the retainer agreement, the attorney will also detail how the trust account will be managed. The retainer agreement usually specifies when funds can be transferred to the attorney’s business account.
  • Additional retainer costs are stated in the contract. Extras might include copying fees, court costs, and administrative fees.

Is It Common For Lawyers To Charge A Retainer Fee?

There is almost always a retainer fee associated with lawsuits or trials. Generally, attorneys charge retainer fees in order to ensure uninterrupted representation throughout your case. It is negotiated through a retainer fee agreement.

The Benefits Of A Retainer Arrangement In A Divorce Case

Retainer agreements with law firms are beneficial to divorce cases because you get immediate legal advice. The importance of getting expert advice on your options when managing a divorce cannot be overstated. 

Paying a retainer entitles you to the attorney’s time and legal advice right away, allowing you to get guidelines on how to proceed.

Does An Attorney’s Retainer Have A Refund Policy?

Lawyers may be able to refund retainer fees depending on the circumstances, the case, and the lawyer. You may be awarded a refund of a non-refundable retainer fee if a court finds that such fees are unreasonable in your case. 

Most of the time, the remaining money is refunded at the end of the case. It is to ensure that the lawyer will be available to assist the client throughout the case, and if the retainer amount is overdrawn, the client may have to pay additional fees.


Even though divorce is an unpleasant process, preparing for it in advance makes it easier. By gaining the right information on how much a divorce costs, one can prepare to pay the lawyer’s retainer fee.

If you wish to pursue a career in the legal field or criminal defense, in particular, learn more about how much a criminal defense lawyer makes in the U.S.

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