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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 111483
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I am currently in the midst of a child custody arrangement

Customer Question

I am currently in the midst of a child custody arrangement with my ex. We both have retained lawyers however, my lawyer has done MINIMAL on my case and is now requesting to sub out of my case. I agreed to sub her out of my case and below is the reply I received.ATTORNEY RESPONSE: I believe that would be best. I will provide your file electronically. I believe you have all the Agreements that were sent over by email so those won't be included nor will be my attorney work product nor any emails that I have sent you as you already have them included in your file. Any emails to opposing counsel you haven't seen I will just forward you and you can add to your file so I then do not have to charge you for copying and mailing as stated in the Retainer Agreement.. However, I do have to confirm your address for the substitution of attorney as it has been awhile. Please send me your current address so I can add it to the Substitution of attorney form. The Court will need to enter your address. I am assuming the phone number is ***** the same. Opposing Counsel called today and he is going to be substituting out of the case also. I can't send you your file until I get the conformed substitution of attorney back from the Court and serve it on father or other counsel depending who is the attorney of record when I serve it. I am going to prepare you an invoice also which I will email to you. However, with the multitude of all the emails, texts, and calls regarding visitation issues, CPS and they negotiation of the Agreement it will take me several days to do so and put one together. Whatever is owed over what you paid, I will be seeking the amount from you. Please send me your current address for confirmation for the Substitution of Attorney so I can submit it to the Court and you will be then probably dealing directly with father going forward. I would like to serve opposing counsel first so if you could send the confirmation of your address ASAP, I would appreciate it.My question: Can an attorney legally not provide me with an invoice throughout the entire course of her being retained (regardless of the multiple times I asked for one) and then try to charge me for requesting an invoice now that she is being subbed out?She did not prepare any paperwork on my behalf (the draft Agreement that is still not signed was prepared by my exes attorney) nor have we ever gone to Court. The CPS that she references in the email was due to the school calling CPS on the kids father due to marks on my son. I inquired with my attorney since CPS was already involved if we could push for full custody and she said it would be a waste of time since dad would still be around the children and more than likely be awarded visitation if it was brought to court. I had to contact CPS because my attorney didn't know why CPS was getting involved. From what I see she is charging me for emails and phone calls to the opposing counsel.Is it possible that basically phone calls and emails exceeded a $2,500.00 retainer?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
FYI- I live in California and this is only a custody issue since the kids father and I were NEVER married. Our kids are age 7 and 5 and we currently share 50/50 Custody.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
The attorney under CA law is entitled to fees for all work done. Considering most attorneys billing rates are anywhere from about $200 and up per hour (check your fee agreement for her rate with you), yes phone calls and emails can burn through $2500 fairly fast. Even though the attorney did not provide you an ongoing invoice, if they can show they invested the time doing work on your case (even if it was phone calls, letters and emails only) then the court is going to allow them to charge you for that and order that you pay.

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