Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Based on the facts as you have stated them, the divorce action was filed in January, just about four months ago. As you may know, a divorce case can often last a year or two, occasionally even longer. Meaning, your case is actually still rather new and much work remains to be done.
I would agree with you that there are some indicators that your attorney is not as up to speed as one might like. Having said that, he still has plenty of time to learn more about the case, to further investigate your husband's financial situation and to work towards ensuring the best possible result.
You certainly have options on how to proceed with your case. You might consider setting an office conference with your attorney for sometime after his vacation. You could use the office conference to ask whatever questions you may have and see if you like his responses. If you like what he has to say and believe he is working in your best interest, then stay with him. If not, then consider looking for a new attorney that can better represent you in this matter.
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When an attorney is asked for a pre-settlement conference that is supposed to take place one week before pre-trial, is he not obligated to respond and does that sit poorly with a judge?
Yes, the attorney clearly has an obligation to his client and to the case to respond. However, I don't know that I would say it would "sit poorly with the judge" if he did not. You have to keep in mind that it is the clients, not the attorneys, that need to make sure they look good in court. While it is certainly helpful to have your attorney come across well to the judge, it's more important that you come across well.
If he gets a proposal offer should he not inform me himself very quickly?
The attorney absolutely has an obligation to inform his client of any offers of settlement. As to the timing of it, that's a bit more difficult to say. In my practice, I try to forward everything to my client within a couple of days. My opinion is that the best practice is to keep your client as informed as possible. Ethically, there is nothing wrong, as a general rule, in taking a week or so to forward things to the client.
And, is it true that lies do no matter during this type of situation?
Well, yes and no. I would agree with the attorney that most people "lie" in these situations. A better way to put it would be to say that clients "spin" things in the light most favorable to them. For example, the person wanting to keep the marital home would likely put the value of the home as low as possible while the person wanting to leave and be bought out would put the value as high as possible. Trust me when I say that judges are well aware of this as well. Should parties be as honest as possible? Sure. However, "fibs" such as I described are common and of little concern.
I need to sign off for the evening to prepare my files for the morning court appearances. While I believe I have answered your questions, please feel free to respond if necessary and know that I will be back online tomorrow. I thank you in advance for your patience.
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