Can a lawyer charge $40 for a call asking how to obtain copy of divorce decree?

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Can a lawyer charge $40 for a call asking how to obtain copy of divorce decree?

I called my old attorney to see how I go about getting a copy of my divorce decree and he sent me a bill for $40 for asking. He also said if I call about the bill he will charge me for that call as well. All he told me when calling was to send him a check for $85 for the decree. Can he do this and do I have to pay this fee for asking how to get my decree?

Asked on April 8, 2011 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Some attorneys charge for phone calls.  I do not.  The charges you mentioned are exorbitant.  If you want to dispute the charges, you may want to contact the  PA State Bar.

As for obtaining a copy of your divorce decree, if you know the case number, you can go to the court where your case was filed and ask the court clerk to see the file.  You cannot remove the file from the court, but can ask the court clerk to photocopy the divorce decree or any other sections of the file.

If you don't know the case number, you can look for your name in the court's computer and find the name of the case and case number.

Another option would be for your attorney to provide a copy of the divorce decree which should be in his office file.  Although an attorney can charge for copies, the charge should be nominal.  You have the right to obtain a copy of your file.

 


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