What are the differences between an accident case and a family law case regarding fee arrangements? People often see on TV that an accident lawyer or a personal injury lawyer will advertise that they don’t get paid until they win the case. And the reason is that they’re doing something called a contingency fee basis, which means they’ll take a percentage of what you’ve won in the case. They can do that because they know that you’ll receive a payment of some amount, and it will be paid by the insurance company. At the end of the case, you’ll get more property than what you had at the beginning of the case. You’re going to get the property that you never had before, from the settlement of this personal injury lawsuit.
In a family law case, however, if it’s a custody case, it has nothing to do with the property. If it’s a divorce case, we’re dividing up the property that the two spouses already owned. You won’t end up with more assets than the two of you already owned before the case started. Most likely, you will get about half of your original wealth minus attorney fees. There are rules of professional responsibility that lawyers are bound to follow. These rules of conduct say that family law attorneys are rarely if ever justified in charging a contingency fee for a divorce or family law case. Therefore, I don’t know any family law attorneys who will accept a case on a contingency fee basis for a family law matter. It would be considered unethical.
Family law attorneys charge by the hour for their time. By the time the case is over, the family law attorney typically makes significant less in fees than the personal injury lawyer does, but the client feels it more because of the nature of the case.