Management Assistance Program

Client: Can My Parents Pay for My Attorney’s Fees?

By Jim Calloway

Having another person pay for your clients is good for the lawyer who gets paid. But third party fee payments can turn into sticky situations sometimes. A parent may pay for a child’s attorney fees in a domestic dissolution case. But the parent, having paid for the lawyer, may assume that they are entitled to more access to information and input on decisions than the parent should have. In my view, the best way to attempt to deal with that is to have the funding party sign an agreement in advance, covering such matters as client confidentiality and how fee refunds would be handled. Several years ago, I wrote an article for the Oklahoma Bar Journal Client: ‘Can My Parents Pay for My Attorney Fees?’, Lawyer: ‘Yes, but…’.  I included in that article a form to use while constructing your own Agreement For A Third Party To Pay Attorney Fees. I prefer doing these as a separate agreement but some others include the language in their standard fee agreement. You will want to modify the form to your needs, but having an agreement like this, used routinely, would certainly solve some potential disagreements.