Is it okay for a lawyer to submit a total improper fee accrual?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it okay for a lawyer to submit a total improper fee accrual?

I got filed for a motion of contempt because I feel behind on spousal support. The spousal support agreement is not difficult only a specific amount each month to be paid. I have contacted the opposing attorney and her client accepted the payment schedule to get caught up on amount owed. Her attorney also submitted a layer fee accrual schedule which they want me to

pay. I believe they spent maybe spent a third of the time of what the lawyer

claimed on the case and don’t think she is practicing in good faith. I don’t have representation because I can’t afford it. Is it okay for the lawyer to do that? She is dragging this issue on accruing more fees when this could have been settled. I don’t have the knowledge of the contract between her client and fees owed. I am not sure if it’s contingent on the outcome of the case. I believe the lawyer is trying to intimidate me into trying to settle. Do you have an other advice you can provide me with?

Asked on July 23, 2018 under Family Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can oppose their application for the fees. They presumably made the application by a motion; you can and should respond with "opposition" papers to the motion in which you lay out in detail why you believe the fee schedule is inflated--e.g. they did not settle when they could and dragged the matter out; the total amount of time you spent on the matter, if that's less than the lawyer spent, to suggest they are spending more time than necessary and are padding their bills; etc. While it would clearly benefit you to have an attorney, you are allowed to submit the oppositon on your own: contact the clerk for the judge in your case and also the court's general clerk's office for instructions. They can't tell you how to write your opposition or what to put in it, but they can tell you how to file it, possibly provide some forms to help, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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