1) This is not true, unless agreed in writing by the client and attorney.
2) If the attorney does not provide services as agreed, not only the retainer should be refunded, but the attorney might be subject to further claims if any damage occurs due to the attorney's failure to provide legal services.
3) Retainers can be for a set fee, contingency fees, or billable hours. In any case the type of fees has to be satisfied.
4) Retainer agreement do not have to be in writing, however it is highly suggested that they should be in written form.
5) This would depend if this was a non-refundable set retainer fee (which is earned when received) or some other type of retainer.
The fact that this attorney requested that you deposit this alleged fees into attorney's husband account, sounds very shady and I am sure will be investigated by the California Bar, as most attorneys would deposit fee into their operating or trust accounts.
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