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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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Can my divorce attorney simply dump me since my husband passed

Customer Question

Can my divorce attorney simply dump me since my husband passed away in terms of custody of my child, support etc?

He refuses to do anything now that my husband passed away. Can he do that?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  NateFamilyLaw replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question and welcome to JustAnswer.com.

He must do what you paid him to do. What is he not doing that you need him to finish?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Custody of my minor daughter and finalize permanent maintenance for me since I was married for over 33 years. He just refuses to do anything now.

There is an emergency petition in probate court as my older daughter is asking for guardianship of the minor child. I called my divorce attorney and he said I don't do probate
Expert:  NateFamilyLaw replied 3 years ago.
As there is more work to be done, he must refund your retainer for what work he has not done. If he does not, you can make a complaint with the state bar to get your money back to hire someone else. You can do that here

http://www.iardc.org/

Even if he cannot do probate, he must give you back the money for the time he has not spent on your case.

As always, I will be happy to follow up with you if you have additional questions. In the meantime, please click ACCEPT so that I can get credit for answering your question. Of course, if you really liked what I could help you with, please consider a Bonus, too!

Thanks!

Nathan
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
But what do I do right now with the pending emergency petition?
Expert:  NateFamilyLaw replied 3 years ago.
That is a different matter than divorce court. You will need to hire different counsel.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
But it is a custody case. How is that different from divorce court
Expert:  NateFamilyLaw replied 3 years ago.
Has your current lawyer made an appearance in that case? As in, has he filed any response?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Made an appearance in which case?
divorce and custody yes

probate no

Also when i hired my divorce attorney he knew that my husband's medical condition was terminal; why did n't he tell me that he would not do probate?

Wasn't he based on ethical reasons suppose to tell me that?
Expert:  NateFamilyLaw replied 3 years ago.
If you hired him for the other, then he is not in the probate case. If you provided him more money than he has spent in time, the only option is to get that money back how I described above.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
But it is a custody case how is that not related to a divorce case?
Expert:  NateFamilyLaw replied 3 years ago.
Those are two different courts and two different cases. They are related in a sense, but are legally two different matters.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
But I have no money to hire a probate attorney. That is not fair given the circumstances. My older daughter has filed a petition filled with lies. That is just like divorce court. oh my god how can I help? I mean can my divorce attorney simply dump me?
Expert:  NateFamilyLaw replied 3 years ago.
He can, supposing he reimburses you for the retainer he has not spent. That's the key here. If there is money he has not expended, you get it back. He has to give you an accounting of his time to determine if there is money left over.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
One more question: When i retained him, he kn ew that my husband had little time to live. Shouldn't he have told me that he does not do probate? I mean in an ethical way.
Expert:  NateFamilyLaw replied 3 years ago.
Only if that was assumed to be part of the representation from the beginning.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I paid him for a divorce that had started in 2002; then this was considered a new case. But I had to pay him money on the old case. Is there anything I can do? Also my court date is august 3 can I ask for a postponement since I don't have an attorney
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
wouldn't it be best to find a divorce attorney to pick up the pieces. I mean my divorce attorney just dumped me.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Your previous expert has answered all of these questions and then some. Your divorce attorney is no longer needed as your husband has died, thus a divorce attorney cannot assist you any longer. You need a probate attorney. Your divorce is moot since your marriage ended with the death of your husband. You need to hire a probate attorney and your divorce attorney had every right to drop your case once your husband died. If you feel you were over charged, you can file a complaint with the state bar for fee dispute resolution, but a divorce attorney can no longer help you with this matter.


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