Outside Counsel

Charging Liens in Matrimonial Actions: A Vanishing Right

, New York Law Journal


Dolores Gebhardt writes: For matrimonial attorneys, getting paid—rarely an easy feat—has become more difficult. An unintended consequence of the 2016 amendments to the Domestic Relations Law has rendered the common law and statutory right to a charging lien unenforceable in many matrimonial cases.

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What's being said

  • Dolores Gebhardt

    Interesting! Remember, however, that the attorney‘s charging lien is created upon retention. The "leave of court" is a motion to enforce the charging lien. If we could get clients to pay without the enforcement motion, life would be a dream. The only time I have had success in enforcing a charging lien without a motion is when I have been relieved as counsel or the client consents to change attorneys, and the successor counsel makes sure I am paid when the case is over. I always strive to do that for my colleagues; wish some of them felt the same.

  • Neal D. Frishberg

    There is a second issue: Whether an attorney is entitled to the charging lien without leave of court under 22 NYCRR 1400. About 2 years ago, the justices on the Second Department panel peppered me with questions concerning this issue even though the issue was not addressed in their decision. See Frishberg v. Toman

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