We have been in a child custody case for 3 years. We have paid our attorneys over $900,000. The Courts have incarcerated my child's father for nonpayment of child support and he has a lenthy criminal record. He has lied to the courts and been caught many many times. He just got out of jail and is accusing me of verbal abuse to my child and drinking excessively. The police showed up at my house at 11:30 the other evening and told me that they had been called to check on my child, that I was extremely inebriated and doing drugs. I let the officer in to check on my child and I was neither inebriated or doing drugs. Today we filed strict orders against my child's father that if he were to break even a sliver of the Orders he would go immediately back to jail. Tuesday my child's father took her from school at lunch and returned her at 3:00. Not his visitation time. He put himself in comtempt of court by doing this...then made allegations about me verbally abusing my child. My attorneys are wanting to file all sorts of documents, motion, etc...continuing to run up the bill. They know my mother has quite a lot of money and believe they see her as a milk cow. What do you suggest?
State/Country relating to question: United States
We have just gone along with the attorneys, but its never ending. The keep threatening us that if we do not do exactly what they say they will withdraw. They have threatened this so many times. I am so stressed out and my mother has spent a fortune (which is my inheritance). I dont see an end with the attorneys...what to do?
Thanks for your question.
I will be quite frank with you. As I see it, you have three options in this type of situation:
1) you can continue on with these attorneys representing you, and based on what you've said, they will likely continue to run up your bill for legal fees as long as they're involved in your case (which can be indefinitely, in a family court case). While many attorneys have their client's best interests at heart and they try to keep the legal fees down, others see nothing more than dollar signs when they have a client who can pay them a lot of money in legal fees. I'm not sure if your attorneys are the latter type, but based on what you've described, they could be. They may be giving you good legal representation (I'm not sure if this is true or not), but if they bankrupt your mother in the process, it's not going to help you (or your mother) in the long run.
2) you can fire these attorneys and try to find one who, as I've mentioned above, tries to keep your best interests in mind and does what's legally necessary in your case without running up your bill. There are attorneys like this out there, but you have to find them either through word of mouth, or, simply by luck.
3) you can fire your attorneys and start representing yourself. These days, many people represent themselves (and many do it quite competently) in family law matters, primarily because family law matters that involve children can go on for years, and even if they reach the point where they seem to be over, they can keep coming back again and again until the child is 18 years old and no longer under the court's jurisdiction. Making repeated trips to family court for years upon years can definitely run up high bills for legal fees, and for that reason, many people represent themselves, either from the start of their legal matter, or at some point after it's begun (whenever they get tired of their attorneys and/or paying high legal fees). Nowadays, most states/courts have websites with all the necessary forms for divorce, custody, visitation, contempt, etc., etc. All you would need to do is download the forms, print them and fill them out, and file them with the court, and then represent yourself in any hearings that may arise. It may sound daunting and intimidating, but it can be done, particularly since a lot of self-help legal information can be found on the internet that will guide you through the process.
I can't tell you which option to choose - this is totally your own decision, based on what you feel most comfortable with - but hopefully, I've given you some things to think about.
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