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Attorney advice? Any attorneys on here???

Old 06-15-2008, 05:22 PM
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Attorney advice? Any attorneys on here???

Hi Everyone,

Hopefully someone can give me some input here, I don't know anyone personally that has much experience in this area.

I'm going through a divorce and am very, very displeased with my lawyer. I made a poor judgment call in hiring a personal acquaintance to be my lawyer as he agreed to let me make payments on the fees instead of needing to pay all up front. As a side note, my wife hired someone known to be one of the more aggressive (or better, depending on your viewpoint) divorce attorneys in the area.

That said... my lawyer has let deadlines pass on the case and then got annoyed with me when I was upset and questioned it. He responds to my questions if and when he feels like it - sometimes not at all. My wife's attorney will send correspondence and then it takes us weeks to respond. There have been several "miscommunications" between my wife and I - I thought a lot of it was her but am beginning to wonder how much is fueled by bad communication between lawyers.

I did go for a 2nd opinion from another lawyer, he's highly regarded in this area and was referred to me through the Christian Legal Society. He told me that it looked as though my case didn't have enough at stake to justify paying another retainer plus additional fees to get my lawyer paid-in-full, even though it seemed I may have good reason to seek other counsel.

My wife is looking for what I consider to be a lot of money (she had an affair with my friend that he admitted to after we'd already separated, I hear that alone should be grounds for no alimony) and I'm concerned my lawyer is not representing my best interest. I've addressed with him in a polite way - just telling him that I need more feedback and a better flow of communication - and he gets an attitude with me and says I'm not his only client and he'll respond in plenty of time. I get the definite impression that if I get more firm with him he'll simply not put much effort into my case at all.

So... (ramble, ramble) I've paid several thousand dollars to attorneys in the last few months and I'm now paying temporary alimony. I ain't rich (yet!) so I don't really have the funds to do much. My question - What CAN I do? I feel stuck here and am worried it's going to cost me for years to come.

If anyone can offer me 2-cents I'd appreciate it. If we have some lawyers that would be kind enough to do a little pro bono consult that would be fantastic.

Thanks in advance.
TDinATL is offline  
Old 06-15-2008, 05:35 PM
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If you don't feel you are getting your money's worth, I would switch attorney if you can afford to do so. You might want to remind your attorney that he is in effect your employee since you are paying him quite well and you expect more for you dollar.
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:08 PM
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I'd sit down with him and ask him to tell you what to expect. Timing of communications to the other attorney, a minimum 24 hours to return your phone calls. I'd say telling you that you aren't his only client is HUGE no-no in my book. I personally might start letting some of payments slip behind and tell him "you're not my only bill and I'll pay in plenty of time". But seriously, I think you need to make an appt and talk to him. Ask him if you should seek out another attorney if he's got too much to handle right now. You don't want this to hurt you or his office. Ask him what you should do. See what he says. I wouldn't bring up the 2nd opinion lawyer. It's not necessary to be rude or disrespectful. Just state that you are concerned and ask him what he suggests you do or tell you what to expect. Divorces can take a really long time. I think if he could help set expectations with you that would help. Hang in there.
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Old 06-15-2008, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by TDinATL View Post
Hi Everyone,

Hopefully someone can give me some input here, I don't know anyone personally that has much experience in this area.

I'm going through a divorce and am very, very displeased with my lawyer. I made a poor judgment call in hiring a personal acquaintance to be my lawyer as he agreed to let me make payments on the fees instead of needing to pay all up front. As a side note, my wife hired someone known to be one of the more aggressive (or better, depending on your viewpoint) divorce attorneys in the area.

That said... my lawyer has let deadlines pass on the case and then got annoyed with me when I was upset and questioned it. He responds to my questions if and when he feels like it - sometimes not at all. My wife's attorney will send correspondence and then it takes us weeks to respond. There have been several "miscommunications" between my wife and I - I thought a lot of it was her but am beginning to wonder how much is fueled by bad communication between lawyers.

I did go for a 2nd opinion from another lawyer, he's highly regarded in this area and was referred to me through the Christian Legal Society. He told me that it looked as though my case didn't have enough at stake to justify paying another retainer plus additional fees to get my lawyer paid-in-full, even though it seemed I may have good reason to seek other counsel.

My wife is looking for what I consider to be a lot of money (she had an affair with my friend that he admitted to after we'd already separated, I hear that alone should be grounds for no alimony) and I'm concerned my lawyer is not representing my best interest. I've addressed with him in a polite way - just telling him that I need more feedback and a better flow of communication - and he gets an attitude with me and says I'm not his only client and he'll respond in plenty of time. I get the definite impression that if I get more firm with him he'll simply not put much effort into my case at all.

So... (ramble, ramble) I've paid several thousand dollars to attorneys in the last few months and I'm now paying temporary alimony. I ain't rich (yet!) so I don't really have the funds to do much. My question - What CAN I do? I feel stuck here and am worried it's going to cost me for years to come.

If anyone can offer me 2-cents I'd appreciate it. If we have some lawyers that would be kind enough to do a little pro bono consult that would be fantastic.

Thanks in advance.

Just my experience, MI is a no-fault state, but the judges do frown upon marital infidelity, and will sway property settlements in favor of the aggrieved party, in MI. I don't know if GA is also a no-fault state but I would suggest you get a very good lawyer, and not necessarily a Christian, just the best lawyer I could find. I don't know if Christianity has much bearing in civil court.

I had the very unlucky experience of having a lawyer that was an AA member, took my money and talked trash, didn't do a damn thing for me except take my money. My current lawyer is very good, and a lot cheaper than the last one. Good luck!
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:38 PM
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If you have already paid him money for services, he will need to have a break-down for you of what and WHEN. Lawyers can't be paid just for sitting there or simply having you for a client - although some will try. They need to justify their services to you the same as everyone else. Remember, acquaintance or not, this person works for YOU - not the other way around.
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:54 PM
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Hey TD ---

I am divorced, but it all took place a long, long, long time ago...lol BUT, I do remember what I did, and how I got a good atty.

"... I made a poor judgment call in hiring a personal acquaintance to be my lawyer as he agreed to let me make payments on the fees instead of needing to pay all up front..."

Two things....1) You've admitted that you made a mistake; that's a step in the right direction.... (o: and 2) I don't know about atty's in Georgia, but most atty's in California and Texas will take payments.....this is ES&H here.... lol

My best suggestion for you would be to open up your yellow pages and go right to the beginning of the listings for atty's; there should be something similar to Attorney Referral Services (you can get a bit of advice, and directions to good atty's for you). Another good listing is for your city and/or county's lawyer referral services (many with free referrals and some with 'first half-hour free'. There should also be a number for your local bar associations (city, county, and state)....good places to ask questions. I could go on, but I don't have a good light here, and I got old eyes, and the print in my yellow pages is a bit too small.....for me, anyway.....

I wish you well, and no matter how the 'other side' acts, I've always found it better to just try to ...... 'rise above.' (rather than being drawn down to the depths) ......... (o:


NoelleR
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:02 PM
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Hey TD

The absolute _best_ place to find a good attorney, especially one that does pro bono work, is in meetings of al-anon. Half the people there have an attorney and can give you a good referal. The other half usually _are_ attorneys

Mike
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