Attorney Fees

Can an attorney turn you in to collections when he has never sent a final bill?

Comments for Attorney Fees

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May 09, 2011
Attorney Fees

It sounds like there has been a breakdown of communications between you and the attorney and that the attorney believes he sent you a final bill and that you have ignored it. Otherwise, based on the information you provided in your question, there would be no reason for the attorney to send your account to collections.

How about if you pick up the phone, call the attorney and explain that you never received a final bill? Find out if he will send you a copy so you can pay it and confirm that if you do, your account will not be sent to collections. Make sure that the attorney has your correct address as well.

If the problem is as simple as it seems to be, it should be an easy one to resolve. So call the attorney right away.

May 11, 2011
Additional Information
by: Anonymous

I received a "final" bill along with my final divorce decree. However, there is a note on the bill that is not a "final" bill and the billing was being audited. It noted I should receive a final bill within a week. That was 2 months ago. I have been in contact with the attorney by email. He is insisting on full payment by September; however he still has not provided a finl bill. He consented to me making installments on the bill in October of 2010, but never communicated payment terms to me. I have sent 2 emails requesting a final bill from him but he does not return my emails. What options do I have? I cannot pay the full amount by September 2011.

May 13, 2011
Additional Information re Attorney Fees

I recommend that you do one of two things:

1. Write a letter to the attorney explaining that you never received a final bill from him but only a bill that indicated the final bill would be coming after an audit. Attach a copy of that bill and highlight the information on it re a final bill coming. In your letter, you should also ask for a final bill. Make a copy of your letter and send it to the attorney certified mail with a return receipt requested. Then follow up with a phone call to request a final bill again. Let the attorney know that you are more than willing to pay what you owe once you have a final accounting but that you will need to set up a payment plan, as he agreed to do in October 2010.

2. Hire a consumer law attorney in your area who helps people resolve debt collection problems and ask the attorney to write the letter for you. The attorney's assistance should not cost much.

If you decide to pursue #1 and do not get any satisfaction, then you should meet with a consumer law attorney right away. The longer this matters goes unresolved, the greater the likelihood that the attorney will either turn your account over to collections or sue you for the money he says you owe.

Sep 09, 2011
Attorney Fees
by: Anonymous

I recently went through a divorce and was ordered to pay $7,500 to my ex's lawyer for a portion of her fees. Since I was also ordered to pay maintenance and must pay my attorney fees I offered to pay my ex's attorney $100.00 a month. He denied this request and said if I do not pay him $650 a month for the next 12 months he will send me to collections. I feel this is an unreasonable request. If this legal? Will my credit be affected if I start sending him the $100.00 anyway or should I just wait and settle payment agreement with a collection agency? Will my credit score be affected. This does not seem reasonable since I agreed to make payment, but just not what he expects.

Reply from

We aren't aware of any laws that require the attorney to accept whatever you can afford to pay. But at the same time, you can only pay what you can afford to pay. And if you can't afford $650 a month then you can't.

Yes, you may be sent to collections and yes, if you are that can hurt your credit.

But your bigger problem is how to deal with this large bill.

We recommend you talk with the person who handles billing for the attorney. Ask to make an appointment to come in, and explain to him or her face to face why you can only afford to pay the amount you are proposing. It may help them to see that you are sincere in your efforts to pay this bill.

Keep in mind they have to pay a steep fee to the collection agency if they turn it over to collections, so they are better off working with you if you can come to an agreement.

Nov 27, 2015
Legal Fees 2 years later
by: Anonymous

I have just received a bill today from my divorce attorney who removed herself from my case 2 years ago! I have never received any bill until today. I paid her 8,000 during the time she represented me, but then when she withdrew, I was forced to get a new attorney and had to pay out so much more. Can an attorney send a bill over 2 years after representation? The bill is for 17,000 and is outrageous. What should I do?

Reply from

Disputing attorney's fees is not our area of expertise unfortunately. This site deals with helping consumers understand their debt collection rights and a lawyer collecting her own debt is not considered a "debt collector" under federal law.

Have you tried talking with her to see if she will reduce it? You could also file a complaint with the Bar Association. But ultimately whether you owe it will likely depend on what your original contract with her required.

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