Is it legal for an Adoption Attorney to not disclose his fees? 8 Answers as of March 28, 2011

Me and my husband are in the middle of an adoption process. We as the adoptive couple must pay our attorney fees and the fees for the birthmother's attorney. We have already paid the birthmother's attorney's retainer fee but we need to know how much more money will be required. He says he can not give us a number. I understand he can not give us an exact number but shouldn't he give us an estimate? How is that legal to not tell us how much more money he will require?

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The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
That sounds completely wrong. you need a written agreement that tells you exactly what he is going to do and what he is going to charge. You are in the middle of the process. I can help you. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. I know people worry about how expensive a lawyer is, so I am careful to be as inexpensive as I can for my clients. Before you spend a dime, you will know how much this is likely to be.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 3/28/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
He is probably charging per hour and will not know how many hours it will take. However he can send you a monthly or quarterly statement that will show how much of the retainer has been used. If he refuses to do that then you should talk to your attorney about it or the judge.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 3/28/2011
Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
Yes, as this attorney's client, you certainly should have a right to have his estimate of future expenses in the case (however rough the estimate might be).
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 3/28/2011
Glenn E. Tanner
Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
Attorneys often cannot know what the total fee will be and estimates are notnecessarily good information. However, it appearsthe attorney is not your attorney. He is the birth mother's attorney. Your "rights" are goverened by whatever agreement you have with the birth mother. You don't have an agreement withthe attorney, correct. Does your agreement with the birthmother require her to have an attorney whocharges a known, flat rate? On the other hand, the attorney's rate should be reasonable. Find out from other adoption attorneys in the area what an adoption of your sort typically costs.Write the attorneythe following: "I understand that adoptions like this one typically cost X. If you are aware of any factors that would make this adoption cost anymore than that, contact me within 10 days in writing or I will assume there are no such factors and will assume your total charges will be no more than X. I am relying upon your response or lack of response and will be damaged if you don't respond and charge more than X." Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 3/28/2011
Lori C. Obenauf LLC
Lori C. Obenauf LLC | Lori C. Obenauf
The attorney's fees charged are based upon the attorney's hourly rate and the amount of time he or she spends on the adoption. The retainer generally is designed to cover the legal fees and costs of the adoption but an attorney's fees can easily exceed the retainer when the amount of time involved exceeds what was expected. So much depends on the complexity of the case, too. The attorney should be able to account for his or her time and the fees charged for the time already spent.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 3/28/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    I am aware of no requirement for a fee disclosure, except that contingent fees must be in writing. However, you are not required to pay the birthmother's attorney's fees unless you have entered into some agreement. It is reasonable to request an estimate, but I am aware of no obligation on his or her part to provide it. There exists a fee dispute resolution committee in Mobile County in our local bar association, if your problem is in this county, and you feel the final fees charged are excessive.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/28/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    An attorney is under no obligation to provide an estimate of costs unless their retainer agreement specifies that he/she will. An estimate in your case may simply be too speculative to be given.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/28/2011
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    Request that the attorney give you an estimate on what work is required to complete the process and an estimate of how much it would cost. This is a reasonable request.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 3/28/2011
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