What do you do if husband and wife both retain you, pay a nice deposit and then separate, file for divorce and demand the money back?
Well, most people would tell me to give the money back. OK. But to whom? They are not together any more. So I should split the retainer 50/50? Not necessarily. The liquid asset in my Trust Account is now an asset that has to be divided by the Court in the divorce proceeding. I don’t do family law but I’ve learned that a) I now have a conflict of interest between 2 clients; b) there may be a Court Order controlling this that I don’t know about; and c) they could change their minds at any time.
My solution: deposit the money with the Clerk of the Court for the Divorce Court to divide as it sees fit. Alternatively, after depositing the money with the Court, I would file what is called an “Interpleader” and ask the court to tell me what to do with the money and how much, if any, I can be paid.