If the move were frivolous (and it would be if there were no articulable professional violation), this would likely constitute an abuse of process and could result in sanctions against you if the lawyer were motivated to seek them.
I would not say that my ethics complaint are frivolous.
Complaint#1: Opposing counsel went to the court through back-handed channels and claimed that I was refusing to sign a release for my mental health records from a specific provider. I did not even know about the accusation until the judge's ruling awarded my ex attorney's fees as a penalty when I refused to turn over these health records from this provider. While this seems innocuous, I never received any treatment from this provider -- opposing counsel invented this allegation out of thin air. This is lying to the court, which is explicitly a violation of legal ethics.
Complaint#2: Opposing counsel has taken positions that are completely counter to actual laws. I can't cite the actual violation of legal ethics (I don't have them memorized), but this is also an explicit violation of legal ethics.
For example, she convinced my ex that her salary for the purposes of determining child support and alimony should be based on her part-time income. In contrast, my state has clear statutes that say that all people are expected to work full time (it is clearly defines "full time") and if an individual is voluntarily underemployed that the court needs to impute their salary to the full-time equivalent. Opposing counsel did not attempt to argue any of the various exceptions to this full time rule; instead, she went with "this is always how it has been for the couple," which is not one of the exceptions. And opposing counsel stated this in writing.
Simply put, opposing counsel ran up a legal bill for her client based on negotiating positions that were completely contrary to actual laws and statutes. During negotiations, we assumed that they would eventually capitulate because their positions were so absurd that no reasonable person would go to trial like that. Yet, they did go to trial and they lost on virtually every issue. That is, opposing counsel generated ~$30,000 in billable hours for herself but screwed her client over in the process.
My first attorney once told me that opposing counsel is the type of lawyer who bankrupts their client. This is clearly not the first time this lawyer has done this.
While I have low expectations that my ethics complaint will go anywhere, my actual complaints are not frivolous or retaliatory. Opposing counsel is a slimy lawyer that abuses the law for her own personal benefit. My ethics complaint will only include complaints for which I have documentation, which is a small fraction of the total number of ethic violations committed by opposing counsel.
I recently heard of a lawyer who routinely sues people who make bar complaints against them - even clients (it's kind of a black hole in the rules of some states). Something to consider.
As far as my research goes, my state has pretty strong anti-SLAPP protections. Along those lines, the lawyer would need to have quantifiable damages. There is also the Streisand Effect that the lawyer needs to consider.
If you do file a bar complaint (and I'm not so sure it's a good idea), wait until everything is over.
Yep. I have spoken to my attorney about this and she suggested the same. There is a reason why I have yet to file a complaint.
Second, if you do file with the bar, have an attorney provide you with appropriate state ethics rules and address them with evidence. I've filed several and whenever I can quote chapter & verse and back it up, they get hammered.
I already have them. The bar association in my state has them available online.
With respect to your kids and your ex setting them against you... Patience and you will win this war easily.
Yes, I think that I am in really good shape with my kids over the long term. I have a great relationship with the oldest and the youngest right now. The situation with the middle child is not great, but I think that's mostly because she's 15 and she doesn't want to hang out with her father.
My only concern is that one (or all) of my kids will stop talking to me. It's hard to win the war if I don't have any relationship with them at all.
In the end most judges get it. They are getting conflicting information and need to decipher it all. I think you'll be relatively happy with the end results.
I think my judge has a bias against me but it's not a huge deal. I didn't quite get this until my lawyer submitted our appellate brief, but in his ruling on alimony and child support... he correctly described the evidence in front of him... and the pertinent statutes that should guide his decision... but then he basically said "I am going to rule otherwise." It was almost as if he was asking us to appeal. It was weird, in hindsight.
Anyway, I am not especially worried about the judge. My second attorney said that he was stupid and I think that's probably a pretty accurate description of him. He was appointed for political reasons (he had personal connections with the governor who appointed him), not because of his credentials.
Lastly, if you wife ends up owing you money, it really gives you the leverage for a serious negotiation. Place a lien on the house. I did so about 20 years ago over a lawsuit I won and got paid about one year ago. The guy wanted to sell his house but my lien blocked it. I finally got paid and with interest. You will as well.
Thank you for the encouragement. This is something that I am leaving for my lawyer to handle.