Legal Question in Family Law in North Carolina

What happens when parties in a divorce case decide to cancel divorce and get back together ?

If we’re having a divorce case and the two parties ( husband and wife ) decide to cancel and get back together, what happens to the attorney’s or lawyer’s fees ? Do they get paid in full or half of their fees ?

Asked on 6/14/22, 11:12 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Amanda Houser The Houser Law Firm, P.C.

If you were smart and hired an attorney who charges a flat rate fee in the $395 range that covers everything, you will likely not get that back but may be able to pick up where you left off without having to pay much more if things do not work out. If you opted for the hard, dumb, expensive way of doing things where you pay an attorney a retainer, then what you get back will depend on your agreement with the attorney but typically you would get back any unearned fee that were paid and any unused money held in trust such as money earmarked for court cost. Also typically you will find there likely isn't much that they claim is not already earned.

If you are asking because you are planning to hire an attorney, then here is some information you may find useful that most divorce attorneys will not tell you because they only make money if you fight.

There are two basic ways to separate and divorce: 1) the smart, easy, affordable way or 2) the hard, dumb, expensive way.

The smart, easy affordable way is for you and your spouse to put aside your emotions and sit down and be fair and reasonable and enter into a formal written Separation and Property Settlement Agreement that resolves all your other marital issues including, child related issues such as custody, visitation and support and financial and property related issues for a flat rate fee of $250. If you are not sure what is fair and reasonable - that is where a good attorney who has your best interest in mind comes in. Your other option is to do things the dumb, hard, expensive way and hire and pay strangers often thousands to duke it out in court, making decisions for you that you and your spouse likely could have made yourselves for free or at relative low cost only to end up with the same outcome you could have had with the $250 Separation Agreement.

The bad news is it takes both of you being smart to get things done the smart, easy, affordable way. If one or both of you wants to be dumb and try and to 'win' or worse is bitter and wants to 'punish' the other - it only takes one of you being a dum dum to drag both of you down into the dumb, hard, expensive way of doing things where the attorneys are the only winners.

If you and your spouse can be fair and reasonable, we can handle the Separation Agreement and Divorce for you likely for a total flat rate fee of around $650. Over the many years I have been practicing family law, I have found that when it is put this way into very simple base terms, the best course of action becomes more clear to people even when their judgment may be clouded by the emotional aspect of being in their situation. Best of luck.

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Answered on 6/14/22, 11:35 am

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