Articles Posted in counsel fees

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For attorneys and litigants alike, the legal fees attendant to the handling of a divorce matter are an important consideration. When it comes to legal fees, time is money. Because our Rules of Court prohibit the handling of divorce cases on a contingent fee basis, legal services are billed based upon the actual time spent working on the case at an hourly rate and charged against an initial retainer amount to be paid by the client. When prospective client asks how much in legal fees the divorce will cost, I explain that there are too many variables to give a precise estimate, including the number and complexity of the issues involved, the level to which those issues are contested, the reasonableness of the other spouse and/or attorney in regards to their positions, cooperation and/or course of conduct during the process, and the extent litigation or court involvement is needed to resolve those issues. Continue reading

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There is a saying among realtors that the first offer is usually the best offer. Why is that?  Because the first offer is made when the property is freshly on the market. When real estate sits buyers6a3146dbdf81597192112ac03d77c7e4-300x200 become suspicious. There is also the cost of holding the property to factor in.  The first offer likely saves the seller from incurring more tax, mortgage, utility and upkeep costs. There is a lot to be said about the psychological benefits of a fast deal as well. No worry, no uncertainty, no sleepless nights. Continue reading

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Pursuant to New Jersey statutes, and a common term in lawyers’ retainer agreements, is often a provision for the attorney to retain what is referred to as a charging lien in the assets of the marital estate to allow an attorney to be paid for legal services. Usually the existence of attorney’s right to a charging lien is merely academic as matters glide through the system. Occasionally, however, issues arise regarding an attorney’s fee which require court intervention. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:13-15, an attorney is entitled to a lien against a marital assets in controversy for the purpose of the payment of legal fees. The attorney’s lien is an inchoate right that attaches to the assets of the marital estate upon the completion of the ttorney’s involvement in the matter. Continue reading

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One consideration that comes up in almost every divorce action is the question of whether a spouse can request that the other spouse pay their counsel fees. Awards of counsel fees in New Jersey matrimonial cases are completely up to the discretion of the judges, and the Appellate Division generally will not reverse such decisions unless the judge abused his/her discretion. Eaton v. Grau, 368 N.J. Super. 443, 454 (App. Div. 2006). Judges’ discretion is not entirely unfettered, however, because judges still must address the standards set forth in the statutes, rules and case law. Continue reading