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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Retainer Agreement


Term Definition Retainer Agreement - the contract between lawyer and client outlining their responsibilities to each other.
Application in Divorce Also called a fee agreement.

A retainer agreement is a contract between a lawyer and a client. It spells out the terms and conditions of the lawyer’s employment, including the reason the action; the obligations of lawyer and the client; the payment of all costs and fees; the conditions of dismissal by the client and/or withdrawal by the lawyer.

The agreement spells how an attorney’s fees are paid. The agreement spells out his hourly rate as well as the hourly rate of others in his employment. Most lawyers ask for a deposit, and then begin to withdraw from that deposit based on their hourly rate. In general in most cases, unused money is returned to the client at the end of the case.

For maximum clarity, and the protection of both lawyer and client, the agreement should be in writing.

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