Are There Divorce Lawyers Who Work on a Contingency?
The short answer to this question in Virginia is No. A divorce lawyer cannot take a divorce case on a contingency basis.
A lawyer who receives a contingency fee in a case means he or she is receiving a percentage of the amount the client receives as a result of a settlement or winning the case in court. Contingency fees are allowed in cases such as personal injury cases, property damage cases, and accident claims. If the case is not settled or not won in court, then the lawyer receives nothing.
In most states, including Virginia, lawyers are prohibited from charging a contingency fee in a divorce case. It’s actually an ethical violation for the lawyer to charge this way in a divorce. That would mean he or she would be entitled to a percentage of the marital property you received in your divorce settlement, and this is explicitly prohibited. If an attorney offers to represent you in a divorce for a contingency fee, do not hire that lawyer.
Most divorce lawyers require a retainer and a retainer agreement in order to take on a new client. However, a lawyer may agree to take on a divorce case without a retainer in a situation where the client does not currently have the funds available to pay a retainer, but when there are marital funds and property that will eventually be available for payment to the attorney. In this situation, whether or not the lawyer gets paid has nothing to do with “winning” the case, and the lawyer will be paid from these assets regardless of the outcome.
Marcy Jones has years of experience as a family law attorney in Lynchburg, helping clients throughout Central Virginia. Call Marcy at 434-845-2463 or send her a message using her contact form. Marcy’s office is located in Lynchburg on Graves Mill Road.