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Do I need a new lawyer or am I over-reacting?

Discussion in 'Divorce, Separation, Annulment' started by mikeyv, Aug 21, 2020.

  1. mikeyv

    mikeyv Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My previous employer has done some work with the law firm so I thought I'd use them for my divorce. Initial consult went great, nice guys, nice office, even the secretaries drive luxury cars. Paid the retainer.

    Went there a second time, talked for hours (I'm sure he just saw dollar bills in my eyes), but it was a good convo and I felt it was important he understood my story.

    (1) This guy is impossible to talk to.
    He wants me to email him because it's easier for him (how do you have convos in emails?). I've emailed him 7-8 times, he's never responded. I've called the office 3-4 times and secretary says she'll tell him to call me...he's never called.

    (2) This guy isn't prepared or tells me it'll come later
    (a) The only time he's contacted me was the day before our initial court hearing and he told me to bring the past two months of pay stubs. I've retired two years ago and don't have any income, he should remember this. Literally thought he was emailing the wrong client.
    (b) During our second meeting, he said my wife is claiming to pay the mortgage and her expenses include $1500/month on groceries. I've paid every dime of the mortgage and have the paper trail. And she actually just eats my groceries. Let alone how in the world does someone spend $1500/month on groceries? (We don't have kids together, our kids from our previous marriages are adults and don't live with us).

    (3) The guy dismisses all my wants
    Asked my wife to pay me $500/month alimony since I don't have income, and the lawyer just tells me but your savings is loaded. Asked my wife to put me on her employers health insurance as a family member since it's very expensive to get individual insurance and my lawyer never addressed it.

    Before the hearing my lawyer said my wife has a decent job (not the highest paying) but certainly livable and said I wouldn't have to pay any temporary support. And when I told him I pay for literally everything he said the court would ask her to pay for her fair share of bills while she lives with you.

    Ok so the initial court hearing...
    My lawyer literally hands me my wife's proposal that she wants to live in my house, wants me to pay everything and wants $1500 alimony a month and lawyer leaves me in the dark and asks me if I agree or not. I said no and then he tries to scare me "Ok, I'll fight it but it's possible the judge might ask you to pay $3000 alimony/month". So I get scarred and sign the thing.

    Went home with a bad feeling in my gut. I admit I highly doubt I was going to get $500/month alimony. But if my wife was asking me to pay for everything plus give her $1500 alimony. And I'd ask her to pay her fair share of bills since she's employed and doesn't pay a dime. Shouldn't the judge find a middle ground or at worst pick her side? Why would a judge ask me to pay $3000?

    Not sure if I'm over-reacting but it sure seems like my lawyer is ignoring me, isn't preparing himself and just shows up last minute.

    Should I find another lawyer? Should I try to get my retainer back?

    Also my reason for counter divorce X, Y and Z which my lawyer said "we'll do later" is on file with the court (called the court to verify). My next court date is Oct 28. I am trying to change these X, Y and Z reasons (hopefully it's not too late) but can't get my lawyer to respond. Someone please tell me it's not too late to change my reasons.
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    If you are unhappy with the performance or availability of your lawyer you are free to hire another.
  3. welkin

    welkin Active Member

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    Divorce courts in today's environment don't really care why you want a divorce. All that matters is that you don't want to be married anymore. They deal with custody and visitation, property settlements, support (child and alimony). So it may not matter that your attorney is reluctant to amend your counter-claim as the outcome will likely be the same. He may be saving you money.

    In a civil case you can usually change attorneys as you wish. If you find a new attorney and hire them they will file a substitution of counsel with the court and notifies your old attorney of the substitution.

    Are your billable hours and fees billed against the retainer? Is the retainer exhausted? You do have to pay your old attorney.
  4. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    How long have you been married?
    Are there children of the marriage? If so, how old are they?
    How much is in the savings account you mentioned?
    How much does your STBX make yearly?

    What type of law does this attorney specialize in? I ask because you mentioned that you learned of his firm through work which would indicate that the firm handles some kind of business law...

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