Yesterday my wife and I went to court in order to become guardians & conservators of our mentally/Physically disabled daughter who will be turning 18 next month. As our attorney said would happen, the court appointed an attorney to represent our daughters interests. What our attorney did not tell us was that we would be financially responsible to pay for that court appointed attorney. Less that 24 hrs later we received an invoice from the Court appointed attorney, charging $200/hr for 2.6hrs of work. We were only in court for 45 mins and he really did nothing except maybe review the petition. Am I legally responsible to pay the fees he is claiming?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Someone has to pay the lawyer for the time, so generally yes. You need to speak with your lawyer about this.
I have to agree with Mr. Riddle. This is not free. The law requires - yes requires - that an attorney be appointed for your daughter in a guardianship/conservatorship and the law requires that the lawyer be paid.. Who do you think writes the laws? Lawyers. Do you think lawyers are going to work for free? Heck no. Consider this the "full employment for lawyers act." See below OCGA § 29-9-15. Compensation for legal counsel or guardian ad litem.
You do not pay out of your money though. Your daughter pays the invoice out of HER money. No doubt she will be receiving Social Security disability benefits or other governmental benefits. If she has no money or property then you are going to have to pay out of your funds and reimburse yourself when your daughter does get future benefits. And make sure you keep good records so that you can document this.
§ 29-9-15. Compensation for legal counsel or guardian ad litem
Any legal counsel or guardian ad litem who is appointed by the court in a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding shall be awarded reasonable fees commensurate with the tasks performed and time devoted to the proceeding, including any appeals.OCGA § 29-9-15. Compensation for legal counsel or guardian ad litem.