During that initial meeting the legal fee arrangement will be discussed. Sometimes we can tell you over the phone what we expect your case to cost. For divorce cases, most lawyers charge by the hour with a “retainer” which simply means that the client pays some monies up front, and the lawyer’s hourly charges are billed to the retainer. Sometimes a flat fee can also be arranged, but that is rare. Contingency fees are fees based on the results obtained in the case. Contingency fees are not permitted for divorce cases. Therefore, for your divorce case, expect to pay a retainer up front, and to be billed by the hour.