What are the firm’s policies for my legal bills?

Your Retainer Agreement:

First, consult your retainer agreement, it not only sets out the basic agreement between you and the firm, but it is also the final word on the subject.  The basic retainer agreement is modified only by a subsequent agreement written and signed.

What is a Credit Card Retainer?

 It is a pre-authorization to use a credit card account executed and kept on file, so that on each billing the client is notified and can charge their account, or make different arrangements.  The pre-authorization secures the promise to pay on billing day if the client does not make different arrangements.

How was the initial retainer set?

It was a estimate of a reasonable amount of money to fund the most predictable efforts.  It contains two aspects:  1) the whole amount requested, 2) The agreed way to keep the retainer account up to date.  For example, you may have agreed to a $5,000.00 retainer with a subsequent agreement to make sure that at the end of each billing. The expenditures of that billing period have paid so that the full retainer amount, or other agreed minimum, remains in that account.

What Happens to My Retainer?

The retainer is placed in a trust account.  On a monthly basis the billings for legal fees are drawn from the trust account, and a detailed bill is sent to the client.  Costs to 3rd parties, such as filing fees, are drawn from the trust as they are incurred. The client is responsible for reviewing the billings for accuracy, and descriptions of what activities occurred on behalf of the client.  The billings are done in 1/10th hour increments.

What Happens when I am at or below my retainer minimum?

That month’s billing will request the fees be paid, and enough additional paid to refill your trust account to the minimum required.

What if I can not pay the required fees?

We take credit cards, all major types.  Next talk to us and see what type of payment arrangements can be made.

What if this legal battle is costing too much?

First, talk to your attorney!  Often people who are stressed about legal costs don’t want to spend more, but your attorney is constantly making choices trying to balance how much is done against the resources available.  Second, have your attorney help you reconsider choices, tactics, and reinvigorate settlement efforts or trial, whichever is a shorter route.  (See also How Can I Control My Legal Fees below on this page.)

What if I simply am out of ideas and resources?

Talk to us. We likely are concerned how to handle the problem also.  Each case presents individual solutions.  If we can’t find a solution together, we can help guide a transition to new representation, or self-representation.

What is an attorney lien?

An attorney lien is a right granted to an attorney representing a client, and is agreed to in the retainer agreement. An attorney lien, is a lien on any proceeds, or property, held by the attorney or transferred by the other side.  It allows the attorney to take their earned fees from property transferred from the control of one party to the client.

Back to Top

How was my Johnson County Judge assigned, can I get a different Judge, find out more about my Judge?

When a case is filed, it is assigned a judge randomly by the clerk.  In cases where children are involved, the case is randomly assigned to one of the Family Court judges.  In cases without minor children, the case is randomly assigned to one of the civil court judges.  

Once a judge is assigned to a particular paring of people (co-parents or married couples) that same judge will be reassigned for additional cases.  This is true if a case is dismissed and re-filed or if an additional case is file, like a protection from abuse case. 

Only in unusual circumstances, such as a conflict of interest, are judges reassigned. Judges are not reassigned because the parties are unhappy with a particular judge.


At the NW corner of Santa Fe and Kansas Ave. between the railroad tracks and Kansas Ave. there is a parking lot commonly known as the Jury Parking lot, it offers reasonably close parking, free with no time limit.  You will likely find us parking there.

Back to Top

60 Day Rule

The 60 day rule causes more confusion than it should. It is simply this, the legislature dealt with the concern that people would get a divorce rashly by requiring a petition for divorce to be on file for 60 days before a judge can grant a divorce.  Only upon a showing of an emergency situation, can this waiting period be waived.  When the 60 days is over, nothing happens. It is just that the court now has the ability to grant the divorce.  In cases that were settled before the filing of the divorce or in those first 60 days, the parties will frequently approach the court just after that waiting period is over to approve their agreement and grant their divorce.  

In Johnson County, there is no court event tied to the 60-day waiting period.

In some jurisdictions, the courts will hold a conference about that time simply because it is the first time they have judicial authority for permanent orders.

Back to Top

Johnson County Guidelines

The Johnson County Bench Bar Guidelines committee is a grouping of judges and family law practitioners. Both Nelson & Booth are members of this group. This group has been operating for years and have continued to update and modify the comprehensive guidelines used to advise the practitioners and the court on reasonable guides to resolve disputes involving parenting and divorce. For a full text version of the guidelines click the buttons below.

The guidelines are observed, but the court cannot and will not depend on them as a rule of law; it retains the responsibility to decide cases on their own merits.

The guidelines provide an excellent resource for the parties to decide what negotiators call their “BATNA” Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. By knowing what the court is likely to do, the parties can customize their result efficiently.

The Guidelines are one good reason that almost all of the Johnson County cases are resolved before trial.

How Can I Control My Legal Fees

1. Listen to your attorney; we consistently find that the most expensive cases involve situations where people have to be asked several times to do the same thing or repeatedly explained the same issue. The firm is very aware of the limited resources of any client and works to complete the task assigned most efficiently.

2. Use the right procedure: You don’t go to surgery for just any reason, and you don’t go to trial unnecessarily either! Look at the “flow chart” on this site and consider what method fits your needs.

3. Talk to your attorney; make sure your attorney and staff know and understand your most basic needs, issues, and fears. It keeps us on course. It is easy to propose some tactic or result, but this is deeper. Needs, issues, and fears are basic stuff that are the building blocks. Positions and tactics are ideas of how the case could turn out and solve those needs, issues, and results.

4. Use this and other resources; this product as well as others provided to the client provide information and help that is our best advise. It makes a lot more sense to look it up here.

5. Consult with the Staff; we train our staff, and they all have years of experience. While they can’t offer legal advise, they can help with many other issues.

6. There is more to settlement than meets the eye; settlement has a bad name for some people, they think it involves compromise and loss of nerve. NOT SO! As you learned in the initial interview, virtually all cases settle completely and all cases are settled in large part with only a few disputed issues tried. Negotiation is clearly the best way to resolve the legal case at the lowest cost and greatest benefit. Negotiation adds value, trial distributes the values seen by the parties and at high cost.

7. Use other professional counselors; marriage counselors, psychological counselors, spiritual counselors, financial counselors, and physicians are only a few of the resources that are experts in their field, less expensive, possibly covered by insurance, and more effective. Always let your attorney know about these consultations.

8. E-mail; while e-mail use has risks (See E-mail Advisory.), it also has its benefits. Best among them is its efficiency. You are more likely to get a timely response from our attorneys. (They often respond from their e-mail enabled phones, creating prompt answers and typo’s.) From the firm’s side, we need to document our efforts; e-mail is already documented, and removes the need to write a separate file memo. From the client’s side, you get a written response to your question, so you can refer to it later. The response is likely more timely, so you have the information you need in time.

9. Do your homework assigned; it is amazing how many people require us to call over and over again and charge for letters to/from opposing counsel, all because our clients won’t provide some document or resource. What should have taken no time, can take hours.

10 .Read; whether negotiating, parenting, or dealing with the grief of divorce, there are great published resources.

Honored As:

Super Lawyer

-2010 to present 

Top Attorneys in MO & KS

-KC Magazine 

Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 

Fellow, International Academy of Family Lawyers

Nothing contained in this site creates any attorney-client relationship with anyone. 

Directions to Our Office

Law Offices of Joseph W. Booth

11900 W. 87th St. Pkwy.,

Suite 250,

Lenexa, KS 66215

Phone. 913-469-5300

Fax. 913-469-5310