My parents divorced two years ago. I was paying my mother's attorney bills because she had no money and hadn't had a job in 35 years.
After the first bill from my mother's attorney, for $15,000, I asked the firm to cap expenses at $5,000. I explained that I was just a kid and didn't have $15k per month to spend. They agreed, in writing.
Then they didn't invoice for 4 months, and at the end of that 4 month period (when nothing really happened in the divorce), they invoiced for $175,000.
It's currently in arbitration with the Virginia State Bar, two years later. Hopefully we'll prevail, but it's not looking good.
Divorce attorneys are the lowest, most predatory "profession" on the planet. Exorbitant divorce fees are not just a plight of the wealthy.
I have no solutions, and hope Grellas can weigh in on this thread.
Her lawyer (an older, grandfatherly gentleman) treated her in an apparently very caring manner, repeatedly calling her at night to see if she was okay and discuss minor issues of the case, always managing to get her upset and then spend a couple of hours comforting her and giving her advice. Then she found out he was billing for that time, so she stopped answering his calls after five o'clock.
Her husband had a similar realization that the case had turned into them against the lawyers, so they agreed to simultaneously fire their lawyers and hire new ones. Then they went back to hurling neglect, abuse, and mental illness accusations at each other and fighting over custody. Years later, having lived in separate states for many years, they can barely stand to talk on the phone three or four times a year to coordinate on the daughter going to see his side of the family. But in the middle of a nasty divorce, they managed to agree about the lawyers.
But thank you.
(I'm assuming the upvotes are a way of saying "I'm sorry dude, I feel your pain". If so, they are much appreciated.)