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Steven  K.
Steven K., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1772
Experience:  I have practiced family law since 1996, focusing on child custody and domestic violence
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I hired a lawyer to help me with a child support case, in which

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I hired a lawyer to help me with a child support case, in which I am pregnant and the father wants nothing to do with my child. He threatened my life if I did not have an abortion. Upon telling my attorney he advised me to go the local police and because we are in different states to the FBI as well. I did what he told me to do. He advised me to file a paternity case now because I do not have health insurance and I could get help from the father for medical bills. SO he drew up the papers and I filed them. I filed them myself. Went to he court house by myself, did it all. During all this I would still get threatening emails from the father and his family. One that stuck out to me stated, "my world is about to come crashing down ...oh and by the way you need a new lawyer. Good luck honey." My next meeting with my lawyer was very different then the rest. It was like he wasnt on my side anymore. He said he had been speaking with the family and they are accusing me of some pretty serious stuff. I told him I knew what they were saying and because it was false information i wasnt worried about it. I told him they cant prove anything that didnt happen to be true because it didnt happen. He started asking me for all this money. When he had just told me a week before the case is basically over until the baby is born. Which at the time was still 6 months away. He said unless I paid him x amount of dollars he wouldnt represent me. Maybe I am over-analyzing but I think that this family paid him off. Every email I sent him said I wanted to move forward with the case and continue with him as my lawyer. His response was always let me know if you want to keep me. When in reality isnt that what I just said to you. SO i would send him the same thing over and over again. During this time I asked him what is the money for if there is nothing in the case for 6 months and even asked about a payment plan because he was asking me for at least 5 grand. But during the whole time I kept telling him I wanted to move forward with him as my lawyer. The family sent me something again. I emailed my lawyer and got no response. The next day I got a letter in the mail saying he withdrew as my attorney. I paid him 1500 for what? i filed all the paperwork, all he did was draft it. And then he started speaking with the other side, when I know that is illegal and he has to go thru their lawyer. The other side has alot of money and has always used to get whatever they want. They even offered to buy me a house and send me on vacation to anywhere I want in the world and a large sum if I had an abortion. My lawyer starts speaking to them and he drops me. PLus I got the email stating you need a new lawyer. I cant even afford the 1500 I gave him. Is what my lawyer did right? can he do that? and if I do have these suspions, but no way to prove them, is there anything I can really do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Steven K. replied 2 years ago.

Steven Kincaid :

Thank you for allowing me to assist you.

Steven Kincaid :

Without proof there probably is not much you can do. However, $1,500 for preparing documents does sound excessive. You may want to look at your retainer agreement with him and see what he agreed to do for $1,500. Did he quote you an hourly rate?

Steven Kincaid :

When you filed the court documents, was the attorney listed as representing you? Or did he prepare them as though you were representing yourself?

Customer:

he was listed as representing me

Steven Kincaid :

And has he actually filed his withdrawal documents?

Customer:

he quoted me 250/hr but he sent the paperwork over to joes attorney via fax instead of having him served and he has yet to do the paternity test and my lawyer never even went to court for any of it

Customer:

yes he filed them and then sent me the court papers now there is a court date for my response scheduled

Steven Kincaid :

It could possibly take six hours to prepare forms, but it is unlikely since you are not married and there are no property issues. He may owe you a refund. You should ask for a bill itemizing services already rendered and then determine if you are entitled to a refund. If so, and he refuses to pay it, you could both sue him in small claims court and report him to the State Bar.

Steven Kincaid :

In addition, he is only allowed to withdraw in certain situations:

Customer:

can he just file withdrawal papers when i kept telling him i wanted to move forward with him as my lawyer

Steven Kincaid :

Rule�1.16(b)(1) enumerates the following six circumstances which may permit a lawyer to withdraw because of client behavior:


(a) Client insists upon claim or defense not warranted under existing law with no reasonable argument for change in law.


(b) Client seeks illegal course of conduct.


(c) Client insists lawyer pursue illegal or rule-prohibited conduct.


(d) Client makes it difficult for lawyer to carry out employment effectively.


(e) Client insists on conduct contrary to judgment or advice of lawyer even though the conduct is not prohibited.


(f) Failure to pay lawyers expenses or fees.

Steven Kincaid :

What is the title of the withdrawal document he filed and did he give a reason for the withdrawal?

Customer:

so he was asking me for 5,000 and he said that will take this case to the end and i asked if we could work out a payment plan..i was never billed anything that i didnt pay

Steven Kincaid :

Did he put in his withdrawal document that he was withdrawing due to non-payment of fees?

Customer:

no he stated that i no longer wanted him to represent me

Steven Kincaid :

If he withdrew for no reason, you could report him to the State Bar. What was the name of the document with which he withdrew?

Customer:

it doesnt really have a name just says in the circuit court of cook county, domestic relations division...then just says order and says his withdrawal is granted and i have 21 days to have an attorney file on my behalf

Steven Kincaid :

That's the order, but he must have filed some document on which the order was based - a declaration or a motion. Was there nothing like that?

Customer:

motion to withdraw with the same header and that states petitioner no longer desires to have movant provide legal services to her

Steven Kincaid :

Did it give you a hearing date?

Steven Kincaid :

And were you given that motion before the order was entered?

Customer:

he sent it to me certified mail but because i was out of town i didnt get the motion paperwork until after the hearing

Customer:

when they came to give it to me i was out of town and the postman left a card saying i have certified mail at the post office but i didnt get it until after the heariing

Steven Kincaid :

Well, I would suggest that you would not want such a person representing you anyway, so you might not want to do anything to vacate the order terminating his employment. However, you can report him to the state bar and provide all of your emails saying you still wanted him to represent you as proof that he was lying. Also, if he knew you were out of town and timed it so that you could not show up for the hearing, you could provide proof of that.

Steven Kincaid :

If you really wanted him to represent you, you could try to vacate the order. Again, I would not recommend that.

Steven Kincaid :

So, while you cannot prove that he was improperly influenced by your child's father, you can show evidence that he withdrew improperly, and possibly that he is refusing to refund you payments you paid but that he never earned.

Steven Kincaid :

How long ago was the other party served? Has the other party filed a Response?

Customer:

well no i dont want him represewnting me anymore of course not i just didnt know if what he did was legal . i paid him money and now what my only option is another attorney and start over? i havent worked in 3 months and am 7 months pregnant, its hard to get someone to hire me just to go on maternity leave in a month

Steven Kincaid :

You don't have to start the case over, but yes, you would have to start over with a new attorney.

Customer:

like i said he faxed the documents over to the fathers lawyer but told me bc he sent it to them there is no need or reason to have him actually served they have not submitted a response just emails to me stating they wanted proof of pregnancy and all of my medical records and want full custody now but thats only thru email to me not thru the court

Steven Kincaid :

The first thing you need to do is serve him. Presumably, he will file a Response asking for custody (since that is what he is telling you he will do). But by serving him now, you can get into court sooner, and it is very rare for a newborn baby to be given to the father. Even though there is no gender preference, the Courts usually recognize that mothers, not fathers, breastfeed and children need this initial bonding. So, it is unlikely that you would not initially get custody.

Steven Kincaid :

You do not have to provide the things he requests (proof of pregnancy, etc.) unless the court orders you to provide something.

Steven Kincaid :

If by chance he does not respond, you can "default" him a month later. But based on what you say, that is highly unlikely.

Customer:

so how do i get him served?

Steven Kincaid :

I assume that your lawyer was saying that service was not necessary because your ex's lawyer probably said he would file a Response. Once he does so, service is no longer necessary.

Steven Kincaid :

You need to have any adult (other than yourself) personally serve him and then fill out the Proof of Service (sometimes called a "Return of Service.")

Steven Kincaid :

If you have nobody, you could ask the Sheriff or a private process server to do it for a fee.

Customer:

right, his lawyer keeps telling me if he is the father it is his right to know about pregnancy and all the doctors visits and medical records but i just assumed that was false 1) bc he hasnt been proven to the father and 2) they r my medical records not his childs

Steven Kincaid :

That's exactly right. I would not respond at all.

Customer:

i havent yet and didnt plan on it...i just didnt know what to do next

Customer:

thanks for all your help

Customer:

so anyone can serve him?

Customer:

like just take a copy of the paperrwork i have and give it to him?

Steven Kincaid :

No problem.

Steven Kincaid :

What county are you in? Some counties have special rules for service of process.

Customer:

cook county

Steven Kincaid :

I believe that in Cook County, service must be done by the Sheriff - but let me double check...

Steven Kincaid :

Yes. In Cook County it can only be done by a Sheriff (or in rare cases, the Coroner.)

Customer:

ok, how do i do that?

Steven Kincaid :

You would provide the Sheriff's office with a copy of the documents that need to be served. You would choose the Sheriff's office that serves the location where he will be served. They would then serve him and fill out the Proof of Service. They can either file the Proof of Service in the Courts or provide it to you so that you can file it.

Customer:

thank you!

Steven Kincaid :

No problem. If there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know. But if you are done and you are satisfied with my answer, I would appreciate if you could click the green ACCEPT button as I do not get credit for my work unless you do so. thank you!

Customer:

that is it, yes i will, thank you!

Steven Kincaid :

I appreciate that and look forward to your appreciation.

Steven K., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1772
Experience: I have practiced family law since 1996, focusing on child custody and domestic violence
Steven K. and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

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Steven  K.
Steven K.
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I have practiced family law since 1996, focusing on child custody and domestic violence