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Attorney Fees in Matrimonial Cases

It is illegal to prosecute a divorce based upon a contingency fee. Indeed, many times clients have told us, “Isn’t my husband responsible for our fees?” In some cases we hear, “Isn’t my wife responsible for my attorney fees?” Domestic Relations Law has been updated as of October 2010 and April 2011 and codified to include a statement that the “monied” spouse is presumed to be responsible for the attorney fees.

Here at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C., we have been successful in obtaining awards of counsel fees well in excess of $20,000. In a recent case before Justice Bennett, we received an award of $20,000 on a middle class divorce matter in Nassau. The husband was responsible for more than all of the wife’s fees. This is becoming more and more commonplace in matrimonial cases. Unfortunately, throughout this case the litigants had to pay their attorneys just to get this award at the end. This reward is then reimbursed to them for the money that was already laid out.

It is illegal for any firm to promise you that they will obtain counsel fees as either “contingency” or to start the case without an hourly of flat rate retainer. Flat rate retainers and contingency fees are usually discouraged and/or illegal in matrimonial law as an attorney would be tempted to “sell out” the client as there is no continued hourly payments for aggressive representation and a fight to the end.

Whether or not we are being paid by our client and our client is being reimbursed or simply getting paid by our client, we offer the best and most aggressive representation.

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