If I run out of money will you keep working on my case?
Probably not. How would you react if your employer demanded that you keep working but told you it was not going to pay for your work? What quality of work would you perform if you were forced to work for your employer without being paid? This office works hard for our clients and does everything we can to obtain our clients the best possible result. In turn, this office expects to be paid in full for our services. Don't expect your attorney to continue working for you if you don't pay as agreed.
There is a common misperception that attorneys are rich or make a lot of money from each client. It takes many years of education just to obtain a license to practice law. And that education is very expensive. Many attorneys leave law school with student loan debt in an amount equivalent to many home mortgages. Operating a law office is very expensive. Overhead and labor costs are high. California has tons of ridiculous cost-increasing regulations, and big government steals through taxes roughly half of the hard earned money we make each year. After the government steals about half our money, we have our own families and children to provide for with what is left over. Every moment we spend working on a client's case who does not pay is a moment we can't spend on another client's case that does pay. Every moment we spend working is a moment we cannot spend with our family. And our time is limited. This results in what is known in economics as opportunity costs. Therefore, if you can no longer pay you'll need to represent yourself. However, most people can afford to continue to pay - especially on a payment plan.
It is this office's experience that many clients who say they cannot afford to pay their bill can still afford luxury cars, expensive vacations, weekly fine dining experiences, new furniture, cable television, etc. (Don't forget your attorney will likely have much of the information about your income, expenses, and assets.) Often ability to pay really boils down to priorities. If your attorney is not a priority to you, you should not expect to be a priority to your attorney. If you are not willing to sacrifice luxuries for legal representation, you have made the decision that luxuries are more important than legal representation to you. That's completely fine. But don't expect your attorney to sacrifice their family time or forego the opportunity to represent another client who is willing to pay and values legal representation over those same luxuries.
Now, an attorney client relationship is a little different than an employer-employee relationship. There are some professional responsibilities this office will not neglect. This office won't leave you without representation such that it would unduly prejudice you. However, should you fail to pay as agreed, this office will ask the court to be relieved as counsel at the first available reasonable opportunity.
That said, if you run out of money, this office may agree to continue working on your case if you set up an agreeable payment plan. However, this office is very unlikely to offer a payment plan to a client that did not listen to our advice and needlessly ran up their bill with the unreasonable expectation that this office would continue working after the client couldn't afford continued representation (See How can I keep my costs down?). Divorce is an expensive process usually. But this office is very proactive at encouraging clients to keep their costs down.
Serving Solano County, Contra Costa County, and the Entire Bay Area.