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Divorce/Separation :
Timeframe with Divorce Attorneys

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 Honeybun (original poster new member #80350) posted at 1:51 AM on Thursday, July 28th, 2022

Hi all,

I started divorce proceedings on May 10th. It is going on 3 months now and all my attorney has done is draft a Settlement Proposal (that I made changes to, and we have never discussed. I have only talked to him on the phone a hand full of times. He has emailed my husband's attorney several times for them to get together to discuss this case and he said that haven't met yet. I have already spent close to $1,000 and that's just for a few emails, a few phone calls and the draft of the Settlement agreement. Is this normal for an attorney? It sure doesn't feel like it should be this way. Can you all let me know your experience with divorce attorneys? I am wondering if I should find another attorney. I want to get on with my life. Thanks.

posts: 5   ·   registered: May. 25th, 2022   ·   location: Maryland
id 8747459
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Forks027 ( member #59996) posted at 2:41 AM on Thursday, July 28th, 2022

I mean, some attorneys can be backed up, yes. But something about the passiveness of yours feels off. If you've spent this much money and nothing's changed, I'd personally recommend getting another one.

posts: 410   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2017
id 8747464
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Catwoman ( member #1330) posted at 1:39 PM on Thursday, July 28th, 2022

I would be very cautious about changing attorneys.

If the other side isn't cooperative, there's really not much to go on at this point. What you can do is tell the attorney you don't want any further work done on your behalf until the other side agrees to a meeting.

The attorney has likely reviewed all of the information you provided as well as drafting the proposed agreement and trying to get an answer from the other side. $1000 all-in-all for what's done isn't bad at this stage of the game.

Cat

FBS: Married 20 years, 2 daughters 27 and 24. Divorced by the grace of GOD.
D-Days: 2/23/93; 10/11/97; 3/5/03
Ex & OW Broke up 12-10
"An erection does not count as personal growth."

posts: 33095   ·   registered: Apr. 5th, 2003   ·   location: Massachusetts
id 8747491
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HalfTime2017 ( member #64366) posted at 6:44 PM on Thursday, July 28th, 2022

Agree with Cat. if the other side is not being responsive, there isn't much your attorney can do.

When dealing with your attorney, they usually ask for a retainer, so not sure if your $1K is spent from the original retainer or if you're being charged and billed along the way. A way to save money with your attorney is to make sure you combine all your questions and only email them once, or have 1 call where you can cover most of your questions. Don't call with 1 question, or email with a single question, they will bill you for the full 10 or 15 minutes, similar to mechanics. So save your questions and ask them all at once. Also, do not use your attorney like you would an IC. Sometimes you spend time bitching about your ex, or complaining about what he did....., you're getting charged at a much higher rate for him/her to listen to you talk, than your IC would. So don't do that with an attorney, even if you want to complain about what the ex is doing during the divorce process. Save that for your IC.

posts: 1345   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2018   ·   location: Cali
id 8747530
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barcher144 ( member #54935) posted at 7:08 PM on Thursday, July 28th, 2022

The legal system can be very slow. Unfortunately, divorce laws vary so much from location to location that it would be difficult to give you specific advice.

Things to consider:

- If your attorney is to blame, it's better to switch attorneys sooner than later. A bad attorney can do a ton of damage to your case. I know... I had to fire two different attorneys before I found one who was competent.

- If you fire your attorney, do not do it yourself. Interview and hire your new attorney and then have your new attorney fire your old attorney.

- A lot of people will warn you that "it looks bad" to change attorneys. I think that you can get away with changing attorneys, once, without any blowback. If you fire a second attorney, like I did, then you will definitely open yourself up to criticisms. My ex and her attorney asked for attorney's fees at trial because "he kept changing attorneys and this delayed the case and increased her legal fees." I got a little lucky here because we were able to show all of the progress that was made soon after I hired attorney#3. I also think that by the time that we got to trial... the judge had a good idea that my ex and her attorney were just crazy. Anyway, changing attorneys opens yourself to the allegation that you are hiring/firing attorneys as a stalling tactic, which is relevant only if you don't settle... but you can refute the allegation if you can show that you aren't stalling.

- I had to fire my attorney#2 because she was not responding to me or to opposing counsel. Are you hearing complaints from your ex that you (or your attorney) are not responding in a timely fashion? If so, I would be concerned. If not, then your case just might be slow getting going.

Me: BH, age 48Her: WS, age 45 (multiple EAs and PAs)D-Day: August 30, 2016

Diagnosed with depression in December 2016, which was primarily caused by my xWW's affair and associated emotional abuse.

posts: 5295   ·   registered: Aug. 31st, 2016
id 8747533
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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 7:44 PM on Thursday, July 28th, 2022

Divorce attorney for thirty years answering this question......

Drafting a settlement document can take a while because you must first have a complete picture of the parties' financial situation (mortgage, 401k, debt, cars, etc.).

If you feel stuck, ask your attorney for a plan of action even if the other side is intransigent. You can usually light a fire under a recalcitrant opponent by setting a motion on the docket which acts as a deadline for action. We don't have to go to court, but you do have to respond to my settlement offer.

I personally will not take a case as the third lawyer, ever. It's always the client that is the problem, without exception. I'll sometimes sign up as lawyer #2, but usually I know and contact lawyer #1 to find out what happened before I do. Best plan is to ask the lawyer for a plan with timelines, then ask what the lawyer needs to implement the plan. My clients are almost always happy to get homework (upload 2015-present tax returns to your file on my cloud please....) because then it is my turn to act.

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

posts: 231   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8747538
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barcher144 ( member #54935) posted at 7:18 PM on Monday, August 1st, 2022

I personally will not take a case as the third lawyer, ever. It's always the client that is the problem, without exception.

I understand that you have far more experience in these situations than me, but...

My first attorney was clearly getting bullied by opposing counsel and she was failing to respond to my reasonable questions and she was primarily focused on making sure that my ex-wife maintained her lifestyle as established during our marriage to the point when I asked her if we were ever going to discuss maintaining my lifestyle that was established during the marriage. I was advised by numerous SI members to fire this attorney.

My second attorney... was much much much worse, to the point where I should file an ethics complaint against her. I literally did not communicate with her (no emails, no phone cells, no in-person meetings) between the initial consult (January 2019) until the day before our pre-trial hearing (June 2019). You might think this is okay, expect that this attorney failed to show up for the preliminary hearing in May 2019 (which resulted in me being removed from the marital home and paying a ridiculous monthly payment to my ex -- I could have used legal counsel at that hearing!). She also filed a protective order with the court without my knowledge (let alone my permission). Again, I was advised by numerous SI members to fire this attorney. It's a shame, too, because I am certain that Attorney#2 is very smart and very good at handling high conflict divorces (which mine was), but I think that she was suffering with alcoholism and/or depression and she basically was negligent with my case.

My point being... everyone should be very careful about changing attorneys... but just as there are shitty clients, there are shitty attorneys out there too.

And for what it is worth, my third attorney literally described me as the ideal client because I was always honest with her (no matter how bad it made me look), I was knowledgeable about the case (and the law to the best of my ability), I paid my bills on time, and I followed her advice. So, if the problem is the client without exception... then I am the exception.

[This message edited by barcher144 at 7:24 PM, Monday, August 1st]

Me: BH, age 48Her: WS, age 45 (multiple EAs and PAs)D-Day: August 30, 2016

Diagnosed with depression in December 2016, which was primarily caused by my xWW's affair and associated emotional abuse.

posts: 5295   ·   registered: Aug. 31st, 2016
id 8747921
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