I am lucky enough to have a buddy giving me the money for the retainer ($2,500). As I learned today, I will pay each month and then when dissolution is final, I will get the retainer back but I need to keep the balance at $2,500 until then! I find myself now having to ask for twice as much cash so that the attorney bills can be paid and then give her the retainer back when this is all over. ugh. Apparently, this is so that if things drag out and one stops paying, fees can be covered up to the retainer amount and I get that, I just wish I had been more alert to this.
I paid the retainer, got monthly statements showing how much was left, and a check in the mail when it didn't cost as much as the retainer was.
How far along are you with this lawyer? Although, maybe the usual practice depends on the city/state, so maybe all of the lawyers in your area do it like this?
Married: 11 years, no kids
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. -Michelangelo
How many consults did you do? How do other attorneys in your area bill?
Lawyers have been disbarred if unearned retainer is not returned, but it sounds like the "retainer" is. If it is making your life more difficult than it needs to be, finding another lawyer is always an option, again, unearned fees are always returned.
They have a choice: they can live in my new world, or they can die in their old one." — Daenerys Targaryen
Two steps forward and one step backwards, is still progress.