The Supreme Court of Illinois requires that family law attorneys establish a stable and consistent payment system for their clients. Most family law firms in our area meet this requirement through the establishment of a “retainer system.”

An attorney shakes hands with a client over a desk with a gavel sitting on it.

What Is A Retainer System?

A retainer system is essentially a piggy bank for the client’s attorney’s fee. The client makes a larger, lump sum payment to the law firm. That payment is held in a trust account registered with the Supreme Court of Illinois.

While the funds are in the trust account, the funds belong to the client. As the attorney works, the attorney “bills against” the trust account and transfers funds to the attorney’s account as the funds are earned by the attorney.

Divorce & Family Law Attorneys That Accept Payment Plans – Rockford, Illinois

At Crosby and Crosby, we believe in keeping our clients up-to-date with the ongoings of their case as regularly as possible. As such, we send our clients invoices every other Friday, providing our clients with detailed and up-to-date information regarding what has happened in their cases over the past two weeks.

These invoices also reflect the amount of time spend on the case and the charge for that time. That charge is then applied to the client’s trust account and the bi-weekly invoice will reflect the amount of money billed against the client’s trust balance.

This system allows each client to know exactly what has been happening in their case, how much time the law firm has spent on the case and how much money the law firm has billed against their trust account.

As the case goes along and the attorney bills against the trust account, the law firm will notify the client when their trust account is running low on funds. At this point, a conversation must be had about your family law or divorce attorney’s payment plan options. If one option is not already in place, the law firm will work with the client on another retainer payment.

Knowing The Difference Between Retainers and Flat Fees

It is important for clients to understand that the retainer payment is not a “flat fee.” The retainer is a beginning point for the client’s total fee. While it is often the case that the client will need to make multiple retainer payments, it may also be the case that the law firm will not use all the funds in the client’s retainer trust account.

At the completion of the client’s case, if there are funds remaining in the client’s trust account, 100% of those funds will be refunded to the client, as the law firm has not earned those funds.

Establishing A Retainer With Crosby & Crosby

At Crosby and Crosby, we believe this system is the fairest billing system for all parties. Both of our legal partners, Tyler and Mason Crosby, have worked for firms in the past that bill through a flat fee system. In their experience, there is no more accurate billing system available than the retainer system.

This system allows for the most amount of transparency possible throughout the handling of your legal matters. It is beneficial for the client because it allows them to understand exactly what has been done in their case. Having an advanced payment or retainer will also let the client know exactly what the client is paying for.

If you’re looking for legal help in a child custody or child support case, you will no longer have to spend hours searching the internet for “a reliable family law attorney payment plan near me.” Instead, you can simply contact our highly recommended divorce lawyers in Rockford, Il. We can establish a compensation agreement and utilize all of our resources to help you.

If you have any questions regarding payment plans or a retainer agreement with a lawyer that will handle your case, feel free to ask our office for more details at your free initial consultation. Our attorneys will be happy to provide any information about all aspects of our legal services, that you might need.

At Crosby & Crosby, You’re Never Alone

We want you to know that first and foremost, we’re here to help you succeed and protect what you value most.

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Helpful questions about family law

How to choose the right divorce lawyer?

Choosing the right divorce lawyer, in our mind, comes down to three factors. First, is this lawyer going to be an aggressive advocate for me? Second, is this lawyer a person I can get along with personally? Third, do I trust this lawyer to communicate with me effectively? If you walk away from an initial consultation with a lawyer answering yes to those three questions, you have likely found the lawyer who is right for you.

Legal work can be extremely time consuming. Your expectations should not necessarily be that your lawyer is someone you can vent to about your personal life, as that would likely result in an unreasonably high bill. But you should expect your lawyer to keep you informed as to the status of your case. You should also expect your lawyer to listen to your wishes and concerns and use those thoughts as a basis for your case. You don’t need to talk to your lawyer everyday, but you should hear from them every other week or so.

Expect the unexpected when it comes to the Court dates. The Court system is based on a first-come-first-serve calendar, when the case is not filed as an emergency. All initial Court dates are determined by the Clerk of the Court, not of the lawyer or client. If you have a lawyer, expect the Judges to want your lawyer to do the talking, unless the Judge asks the client a question directly. You should also expect the Judge to keep the Courtroom as orderly as possible. Judges very much look down on people who speak out of turn. As for dress, the Court does not require a strict dress code, but it is always a good idea to dress professionally to show the Judge that you take the system and their Courtroom seriously.

There is a process in the law referred to as “discovery” that allows a party to a legal proceeding to discover information about the opposing party. In the context of a divorce, “discovery” is primarily used in the form of written questions and written requests for the opposing party to provide documents to the party that is doing the requesting. These are called “interrogatories” and “requests to produce.” During the process, the party answering the questions or requests must provide a written testimony, under oath, that the documents and answers are true and accurate. It is through this process of “discovery” that we are able to learn what assets a party possesses.

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