Showing posts from February, 2015

It's OK to ask a divorce and custody attorney about a trust account

When you interview an attorney for a divorce or custody case, it's OK to ask how your 'deposit' or 'retainer' payment will be managed.  Standard procedure in Illinois should  be for the deposit to be placed in the attorney's trust account (called an 'IOLTA' account by attorneys, after the law governing those accounts) -- and then deducted bit-by-bit as the attorney presents you with billing statements and earns the money.  At the end of the attorney's work, the excess (unearned) fees are to be refunded to the client. Some attorneys use the 'advanced payment retainer' method, in which they put the deposit or payments directly into their operating accounts and pay the bills of running their practice -- this is permitted by Illinois Supreme Court rule, as long as the client is given some good reason for not depositing the money to a trust account.   Even using the 'advanced payment retainer' method,  an attorney must refund any unearne