Thursday, February 19, 2009

Grant County attorney fees

What we do not often see is a Local Rule setting attorney fees but Grant County has one.

1. The standard attorney fee order in all dissolutions of marriage shall be $850, payable as follows: $300 within 30 days, $300 within 60 days, and $250 on or before the final hearing.
I think the essential word in this Rule is "standard" but there is no definition of that word in the Rule. I see nothing unreasonable about the amount of $850.00 where there are not custody issues or pensions or requests for maintenance or real estate issues or enforcement issues. After all, I recently finished a case in Muncie where opposing counsel requested $1,000.00 for a provisional hearing where there no children, no real estate and almost no personal property. I found that unreasonable and the judge awarded only $750.00 (which might be still be unreasonable but by the time we finished the case, the Muncie attorney only got a total award of $1,250.00 and there were maintenance and enforcement issues).

If standard is anything more than preparing a petition, appearing for a short provisional hearing, calculating child support, appearing for a short Final Hearing, and then preparing the Decree of Dissolution, then I have to question what Marion calls a standard divorce. The point where service suffers due to low profits is one not understood by most clients and maybe more than a few judges.

To compare with Madison County's view on attorney fees, take a look at this article.

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