The Attorney-Client relationship is a business relationship.  The
has the right to understand how the attorney's fees are
calculated: flat fee or hourly rate.

FLAT FEE.   A flat fee is the entire fee a client will pay for specific
services.  When receiving a flat fee quote be certain of the
services you will be receiving for the quoted fee.  Many flat fee
agreements are deceiving and do not include trials or costs (filing
fees, service fees, court reporter fees, etc.).  Review the contract
to be certain whether you are being charged a flat fee or by the
hour.  If the attorney has quoted an hourly rate, the initial
payment to the attorney is not a flat fee but rather a retainer.  
This means that the cost of the divorce may exceed the initial
retainer.  If you are unsure of the fee arrangement, review the
contract (as you should have received a copy from the attorney)
or simply ask the attorney to clarify the arrangement.

HOURLY RATE.  Most divorce attorneys charge for their services
by an hourly rate.  When a new client seeks the services of an
attorney who charges for their services on a hourly rate, the
attorney will require the payment of a retainer.  A retainer is a sum
of money paid to the attorney as a security deposit for their
services which must be paid prior to the attorney beginning work
on the divorce.  The lawyer then subtracts the work completed by
the attorney at the attorney's hourly rate and all additional costs
(for which the client is responsible) from the retainer.

RETAINER.  Illinois law strictly governs the handling of a retainer
by an attorney.  The attorney must place the retainer into a
special trust account.  The attorney will then withdraw funds from
the retainer from time to time to pay for the costs incurred by the
attorney (filing fee, service fee, etc.) and services rendered by the
attorney.  Any portion of the retainer that has not been earned by
the attorney must be refunded when the attorney-client
relationship ends.  If the attorney-client relationship is terminated
prior to the conclusion of the case, either by the client or the
attorney, the attorney is entitled to keep the portion of the retainer
covering the work performed by the attorney at the attorney's
hourly rate(including the opening of files, preparation of
documents, research into case law or the history of the divorce,
etc.).  If the possibility of reconciling with to keep a portion as non-
refundable retainer.  Illinois law does not allow attorneys to take
"non-refundable" retainers for divorce cases.  

The client and attorney should sign a written agreement defining
the attorney-client relationship.  This is called an attorney-client
contract.  This document sets forth all the duties of the attorney
and the duties of client.  The contract should also state:

  • hourly rate or a flat fee
  • any charges in addition to the hourly rate/flat fee
  • how fees owed to the clerk's office and/or sheriff are paid

Be certain to receive a copy of the contract and keep this for
future reference.  Thoroughly read the contract and ask any
questions.  You have the right to understand how the attorney is
paid and the fees are assessed.  If you have any questions about
the fee agreement ask the attorney.  

Prior to hiring an attorney, inquire as to what is expected once the
retainer is depleted.  Some attorneys will require additional
retainers to be posted upon depletion of the initial retainer.  Other
attorneys allow client to make payments with certain requirements
being met by the client.  If a payment arrangement is agreed
upon, it is in the best interest of both the client and the attorney to
request a document, such as a letter, setting forth the agreement
to alleviate any possibility of future confusion.

family law attorneys require retainers rather than setting a flat fee
since it is almost impossible to accurately predict the exact
amount of both costs and attorney's fee.  Be cautious of any
attorney who states precisely what the client will pay in attorney's
fees unless the attorney is quoting a flat fee.  The exact cost of a
divorce is unpredictable as much of the cost depends on the
actions of the spouse and the spouse's attorney.  A major factor
in determining the cost of the divorce is how much of the divorce
is disputed.  Some of the factors causing the cost of a divorce to
increase are: the number of documents the attorney drafts, the
number of court appearances, the number of phone calls between
the attorney and client, the complexity of the financial issues, and
the difficulty in reaching an agreement on custody and visitation

The attorney you hire affects the cost of your divorce.  
Dawn Bradley Berry, author of  The
Divorce Sourcebook, states
that the cost of a divorce is very much affected by the attorney
who hire.  Although an attorney who will fight to the death for a
client may seem appealing in the heat of the moment when the
anger and hurt are fresh, Berry cautions against this type of
"barracuda" litigation.  She further states that this is seldom the
best divorce tactic.  Inevitably it causes unnecessary delays, runs
up large bills, and adds to the turmoil already present in every
divorce.  Berry is not against litigation but states that there is a
fine line between fighting for revenge and fighting for fundamental
rights.  She believes that a good attorney will help a client to
understand the differences between standing one's ground on
important issues and simply being stubborn.  According to Berry,
the best lawyer will "work hard to achieve a settlement that
satisfies the client's most important needs and concerns and will
remain steady to make a straightforward, dignified effort in court if
necessary."  This type of attorney will keep the turmoil to a
minimum, resolve the divorce in the shortest time possible, and
keep the fees reasonable.

Policies of the Law Office of Angela Lund-Logan.  A retainer
is required to be paid on all divorce cases of Attorney Angela
Lund-Logan.  The retainer is billed against at the hourly rate of
$185.  Also paid from the retainer are the costs (fees for filing,
service, subpoenas, copies,etc.) incurred representing the client.  

Attorney Angela Lund-Logan has her clients sign an attorney-
client contract setting forth the details of the fee agreement.  All
retainers received by Attorney Angela Lund-Logan are placed
into her trust account with periodic withdrawals in conjunction with
her billing statements.  She encourages her clients to discuss
these billing statements with her if any questions arise.  Attorney
Angela Lund-Logan
strives to provide her clients with cost-
effective legal representation.