Family and Marriage Law Lerner Law Syracuse, New York
family and marriage law
  Services Offered
Attorney Profile
Contemplating Marriage
Contemplating Divorce
Children in Divorce
Free Advice
Contact Us


As with any professional service, there is the service relationship and there is a business relationship. Detailed information regarding the business relationship with clients is contained in the Retainer Agreement, Statement of Client Rights and Responsibilities, and other documents provided at the time of engagement. The brief write up here is intended for general information only.

About the Expense

There’s no question about it, legal services are expensive. After all, every client receives services that are customized to their specific needs and objectives. Add to this that every case has someone on the other side who has needs and objectives that are often the opposite of yours and you can see why it can get expensive.

The Retainer

It is customary to collect a part of the anticipated fees up front. The specific amount varies with the nature of the services to be provided and other circumstances. You will be asked to maintain a positive balance on your retainer. Any balance on your retainer at the end of the services will be refunded to you.

The Escrow Account

Lawyers are not permitted to advance funds on behalf of clients. If your matter is likely to require payment of filing fees, court costs, or payments to others, you will be required to establish an escrow account with us. The escrow is your money and is placed in a separate account for use in paying costs incurred in providing services on your matter. Any balance in your escrow account will be refunded to you following the end of the services. In some circumstances you may be requested to increase the amount in your escrow account.

Outside Experts

If the circumstances warrant we may suggest that you hire an expert in a particular area such as accounting, appraisal, psychology, and so forth. You may choose your own expert or use one we suggest. In most cases you will be expected to hire the expert, directly.

Controlling the Expense

You want to be successful in meeting your legal objectives. That is our aim as well. Often a little compromise can result in the savings of a lot of time and expense. Sometimes there is no choice but to give your objective every bit of effort possible. But, there can be no guarantees. Sometimes, even with maximum effort you don’t win. We will work with you to put together a strategy that balances all the variables.

Payment Plans

To make payment as easy as possible, we accept all major credit cards. In addition, we can usually work out a payment plan to meet your circumstances.


People want to know, “What will my divorce cost?” The answer is, “It all depends.” How long was the marriage? Are there children? What have the parties accumulated during the marriage? Is there a family business? Is there a prenuptial or antenuptial agreement? Are you able to talk to one another rationally? Does your spouse have an attorney and what approach are they taking? These are all questions the answers to which will influence cost. The best approach is to sit together and discuss your circumstances in detail, but even then it will still depend.

People ask too, about the cost of an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is one where the parties have agreed to all the terms of their divorce... and the terms they have agreed to cover all the areas required by the Court and the circumstances. The terms must be not unreasonable under the circumstances, and neither party can have exerted undue influence on the other party to get them to accept the terms agreed to, and the other party has had access to an attorney of their own choosing. If the attorney finds gaps in the agreement or there are issues about the fairness or reasonableness of the terms of the agreement, or if one of the parties changes their mind about something, or won’t agree to a change, or the Court won’t accept it as written, it is not an uncontested divorce.

If you really have an uncontested divorce, one where there are no equitable distribution or property issues, it can usually be reviewed and filed (without change) for $1,000.00, plus filing fees.

If yours is not truly an uncontested divorce, my hourly rate is $250.00. Contingent fee arrangements are not permitted.

If your case or circumstances require, we can discuss alternate fee arrangements.

If you have specific questions or concerns, please feel free to call my office: 315-473-0063.

Contact terms