Although lawyers play an important role in society, they are also businesspeople. And like any business, a law firm must get paid if it wants to survive. Unfortunately, getting paid is not always as easy as it seems – especially during a period when people are genuinely struggling to make ends meet in the United States. If divorce lawyers find themselves with unpaid unvoices, what options do they really have? Perhaps more importantly, what kind of consequences will the delinquent client face?
Divorce Can Lead to Serious Financial Issues for Spouses
The first thing you need to know is that divorce can deal spouses crippling financial blows. Some may never recover. Often, spouses have no idea what to expect following a divorce. They may be completely unfamiliar with managing money after a lifetime of acting as homemakers or stay-at-home parents. Even if they receive alimony, child support, and marital property, this money can dry up quickly if spouses manage their newfound wealth poorly.
Others are faced with serious pressures in the form of new child support payments and alimony that they must pay. Sometimes, courts shackle spouses with unnecessarily excessive financial obligations – to the point where their quality of life slips dramatically. All of this means that when a spouse refuses to pay, they may legitimately have no money left.
What Can Lawyers Do in This Situation?
Lawyers have a number of options if their clients are not paying up. You might think that the obvious answer is to sue the clients. After all, these legal professionals know how to file a lawsuit better than most, right? Well, lawyers also understand better than most how pointless and circular the legal system can be. Suing a client for unpaid fees is all well and good, but does this actually help them receive the money they are owed? Not if the client is already broke.
Even if the client has the money but is simply refusing to pay, lawsuits can still backfire. Savvy clients can counter by accusing the lawyer of malpractice. Even if these accusations are completely untrue, the lawyer still has to go through the trouble of responding in court. They also have to report the claim to their insurance carrier. Malpractice insurance for lawyers may be affected if they sue their clients for non-payment of fees. In the end, it is often just not worth the effort.
It is Actually Quite Difficult for Lawyers to Sue their Own Clients
It’s also worth mentioning that the current legal system makes it quite difficult for lawyers to sue their own clients. Lawyers often have to jump through several hoops before they even get close to achieving a positive outcome. This is, once again, why many lawyers simply do not bother. That being said, progress is being made in some states, and it is getting easier to hold clients accountable for not paying their fees. Let’s just hope this does not happen to you!