How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 11724
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Ely is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My attorney gave me an ultimatum just 20 days before my

Customer Question

My attorney gave me an ultimatum just 20 days before my custody trial that if I didn't agree to her "new" much higher payment plan that she would withdraw from her case. Having serious billing concerns because she had only provided me 3 invoices over the course of the year and she was trying to bill me over 200k for 1 year custody case I told her I would not agree to her new arrangement. After this she said she had the right to withhold her representation and did so at a critical point in my case, causing serious injury. After 2 weeks of her withholding her representation, essentially she withdrew without technically withdrawing I told her she was hurting my case and since I would not agree to her payment plan and she said that if I didn't she would withdraw that she needed to file her motion to withdraw to avoid further injury to my case. She then sent me a long email in which she was clearly trying to pin everything on me and then changed her position that she only threatened her right to withdraw, which is not true. As she told me she planned to withdraw and would not speak with me I had no choice inform the custody evaluator. Once she learned of this she sent me her draft Motion to Withdraw but in it she has stated her reason was the because I had discharged her! My question is since she is false trying to pin the withdraw on me discharging her, can I in fact add my objection in writing on her Motion to Withdraw and send a scanned copy back ti her asking her to file it with my stated objections? For example, can I write "Objection, reason for withdraw was attorney gave me an ultimatum 20 days before trial stating if I would not agree to her new payment terms then she would withdraw, she then withheld her representation for an extended period of time further adding injury to my case to which I asked her to move forward with her motion to withdraw. I did not explicitly discharge her" If I can write this written objection can I demand that she submit it with my objection so that it gets submitted before it is too late? If I can't write in my objection then what are recourse do I have? Any options?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  mmdesq replied 1 year ago.

Good Evening,

When your attorney file for petition withdrawal she must serve it upon you and opposing party. You will have an opportunity to file a written response admitting or denying allegations raised in her petition. You are absolutely have a right to voice your counterpoints and dispute her allegations. $200,000 for custody action 12 months is extreme. Especially if there is no billing to support it. I would recommend find complaint with the Bar Association and dispute the billing and ask for a refund of a portion of your fees paid to date.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your great reply--I really appreciate it. So if I understand you correctly, I can hand write my objections in her Motion to Withdraw or attached typed addendum (keeping in 1-2 sentences)?

Also in her email she made several veiled threats and false allegations on several issues, one being that she NOW believes that my income stipulation per month is higher than what it is (which it is not) and the she suspects I have commingled funds with my husband which she then says gives her cause for withdraw under 1.16(3) the client has used the lawyer's services to perpetrate a crime or fraud; this is patently false, but the reason she is now doing this is because she knows that keeping my spouses finances separate form our custody hearing was very important to me, thus she is using my own vulnerability and confidence against me and basically laying it out that she may say this before the judge which could allow opposing counsel to open up these financials, adding further injury (and stress) to my case. Is there any code under the professional code law that basically prevents an attorney from using their clients confidence/vulnerability against them?

Expert:  mmdesq replied 1 year ago.

Yes, the ethics code in general a specifically attorney client confidentiality. ShE can only disclose if it is to prevent a future crime which would involve threat of physical injury to a person or substantial property damage. She is saying these things just so that you will want her out of the case. I think of this stage it is a good idea to have her out of the case, I think your point is that you want to make it clear that she is withdrawing not being fired.

Your response to her motion will have the same caption and then you will respond paragraph by paragraph either admitting or denying the allegations. For the paragraph that are denied you will state your counterpoint. In regards ***** ***** her email I would do that simply with an email our correspondence not as part of the motion to withdraw.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Should it be something like this, or is this way to long? I am wondering if I should engage a malpractice attorney to write her a letter or help me draft my response to her motion?

(My name) specifically denies that (my name) discharged (attorney's name) and strict proof thereof is demanded at trial". To the contrary, (my name) specifically alleges that (attorney name) increased her payment terms just ___ days before the trial and stated that she would withdraw if I would not agree to her new payment terms. Upon expressing my concerns about her fees and that I was unable to agree to her new payment terms (______) then cited her contract to which she had the right to withhold her representation, of which she largely did adding further injury to my case, leaving me no choice but to ask her to file her withdraw as she said she would, given that I could not agree to her terms"

Expert:  mmdesq replied 1 year ago.

It's a little long but not wrong.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ok thank you soooooo much for your help. This is a scary situation as it has to deal with custody and sadly also involves domestic violence. Where I can I rate your service?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

oh and one more thing..Laughing my child's father has had me literally in court for 9 years, either by me having to file motion to cause because he was in serious violation in several areas of the court order or by him making frivolous petitions. Regardless he has used his superior financial position to keep abusing my legally through the court process. It was so bad I have had to move over 4 times because of the economic devastation he has caused by purposefully dragging things on and on. Is there anyway I could have the state attorney general investigate my case for abuse of process or any other matter? Does the state attorney general typically investigate certain cases if one can prove vexticious or in VA abuse of law?

Expert:  mmdesq replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately the state attorney general does not prosecute abuse of civil process case. Your option is to file a counterclaim for attorneys fees and anxious for vexatious conduct at the time of the issues before the court.

Related Family Law Questions