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Law Pro
Law Pro, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 24870
Experience:  20 years practicing family law from divorce, custody, support, alimony to equitable distribution
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Mother and son disputed ownership of home 3 year legal battle,

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Mother and son disputed ownership of home: 3 year legal battle, we won in appellate court, TX. 1st attorney is suing for debt. He did not represent us well, found out from appellate attorney he should have filed a stay and we would not have been forced to leave the home with only two hour notice, he failed to force other party to let us retrieve our possessions and now the house has been stripped of everything down to the concrete floor. House will not bring the value if sold, was worth 188,00 we owe 52,000, we own our cars. We purchased another home and have rented it with agreement that rentor will purchase in December 09. We cannot hire another attorney, we have no money. I'm unemployed and husband was ill for a year with little income. What do we do? Do we just go to court by ourselves, can they force the sale of the home?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.

This is a little confusing.


Can you explain the matter a little clearer - who are you in this?


Was the dispute between the mother and son or against someone else?


How if you won were you forced to leave?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Father-in-law died, left my husband half of everything. My husband and mother took money from sale of house in Houston to purchase home in LJ. New home was puchased in my husband's name only, by agreement of his mother (witnesses testified to this in original court hearting). We married a year later, mother-in-law needed 24 hour care, was abusive, cursing, screaming, etc. We attempted to put he in an adult care facility, she sued us for title of home. Local judge (distant cousin of hers) ordered us to leave the home with two hours only to do so. So, we left most of our possessions. During court battle mother-in-law dies, cousin is named executor, cousin strips home of everything, even flooring. Even though we were permitted by judge to get out our possessions, couldn't get the most expensive heavy items, etc. Lots of pure silver, etc. Won house back in appellate hearing. I looked on line yesterday to check on probate case, we got nothing, and there was a notice that we are going to be served for a debt by the first attorney who took our case. Three weeks before going before the appellate court, the attorney called and said that if we didn't pay him he would not represent us. Family member gave us 5,000 to hire another attorney for appellate hearing. We hired another attorney to get our possessions, he did nothing and we can't get our 2,500 back from him. We have no money for an attorney, so do we go to court by ourselves and try our best to tell our story, and can they take our home for the debt?

Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.

Wow - that's alot that went on. You have my sympathy certainly. What a mess for you.


Yes, if you don't have the money for an attorney - you will have to represent yourselves at the hearing.


Yes, attempt to tell your story as best you can. I would make a chronological time line as to events so that you can relate your story in a systematic and chronological order to the court.


Yes, I would inform the court that you told the attorney all you had was $3k for attorney fees.


Did you sign a retainer agreement with the attorney? If so - was he to be paid an hourly rate?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Yes, we did sign an agreement. We feel he did not represent us by allowing us to be forced out of the home and thus causing us huge financial losses. The appellate court reverse and rendered. He should have filed a "stay."

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
It's a bizare case. I've noticed it being referenced by attorney's online. It's Moneyhon vs. Moneyhon. Where the innocent get shafted and their lives are ruined. Bad things do happen to good people.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
This attorney called us three weeks before the appellate hearing and said that if we didn't pay him, he wouldn't represent us. Family gave us money to hire an appellate attorney, fantastic attorney, we were lucky. Beck Redden Secrest. They had NO case to begin with. What can a judge do to us?
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.

The most he can do is give an award for the attorney - that's it.


Do you have alot of other debt?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
hospital bills, medical bills, for my husband. husband only makes 48,000. we have another house which we fell behind in the mortgage for 10 months while husbans was ill. have an agreement to sell house with new rentor. how do they "give an award?" Can they force the sale of our current house for the bill?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I had one credit card for 1,000 that I used when we had to move and a gas card from my former employer which are not paid. i worked so hard as a single mother to pay off all my debt, i didn't owe anything, and now I'm ruined because of my husband's crazy family. my husband had no 401K or anything becasue he used all his paycheck to support three elderly people in his home: father, maternal grandmother, and mother. he paid everything for them, care takers, medicine, bills, everything. and this is what he gets for all of this for 10 years he took care of them all? His mother was a mental case and wicked it turns out she used him and took him for everything. Most demanding person I'd ever met. Wish I hadn't married him until she passed away. We've only been married 3 years and it has been nothing but hell with all of this.

Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.
So how much is your total debt? How much is this attorney stating you owe him?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

about 255,00. house we won in the appeal was worth 188, we owe 52 on it, but now with all the damage, it's no where near the value it should be. i'm not sure how much the attorney will say we owe him, he'll sue for fees and court fees, etc. i believe he originally stated we owed him 26,000, 26,000 for his friend who supposedly did the first appeal, which was not done well and we never agreed to pay his attorney friend more than 5,000, we did not sign anything, and then without even consulting us, his attorney friend filed the appeal without even letting us see it and it was incorrect! the one time I spoke with the appeallate attorney friend, he said, well, it's like a car, you never know how much it's going to cost 'til you get into it. we did not agreed to another 26,000 from that attorney, so I don't know, i'm guess he will sue us for about 50,000.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
clarify: orignal attorney had stated we owed 26,000, he got his friend to file an appeal without working with us but through another person in his firm. we agreed verbally to 5,000 for appeal, then he wanted 26,000 for the appeal. we had to hire another appellate attorney from Beck Redden and Secrest for 5,000 for the appeal which we won. Original attorney says he's representing friend appellate attorney's collections, debts so, I guess he'll sue us for both of their fees.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.
Did you sign a retainer agreement with the attorney?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
what can the attorney do with a judgement against us? can he take force the sale of our home or put a lien on it?
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.

What did the retainer agreement state - how much was he going to charge an hour OR was it a flat fee?


Yes, potentially he can force the sale of your home - because the award/judgment would be against both of you.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
125.00 pr hr for himself and consultant fees for his father sr. partner etc.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
if that's true, then, i would think that credit card companies who are owed tons of money money would take peoples homes, yes?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
i hate owning anyone money, should we file bankruptcy to save the house and what about the other home?
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.

They, the credit card companies usually don't want to go through the time and expense of doing such. They don't want to pay an attorney and then realize that they are in second position behind a mortgage which almost entirely encompasses the fair market value of the house.


As to his hourly rate - $125.00 doesn't seem outrageous - the contrary, that's very reasonable. Did he send you bills? How on earth did the amount get up to $26000?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
well, for two days in court and phone calls, it was over very quickly, he said he'd never seen a judge move a case this fast, hello? she was cousin to the judge, that is. favors were called in in this case by the opposing side's attorney, we found out so much dirt afterwards. the opposing attorney was sending emails to the judge about us and our case. all of which were lies. honestly. i know this makes us look like deadbeats, we honestly don't have enough money to barely pay the bills, we have no hobbies, spend no money eating out, never go out, i look for work every day and my husband drives 128 miles round trip to his job. the house is all we have left after all of this. yes, the attorney send us bills, i contend that his mistake cost us everything we had. he should have filed a "stay" to keep us from being forced from the house. no eviction was ever filed, nothing, the judge just said, they have two hours to leave the house and one trip back to get their possesions, which we could not do because Ms. Moneyhon (mother-in-law) kept calling the local police and said we were stealing everything and so we never were able to get our possessions out of the home. So, we lost our home, lots of pure silver, etc, guns, expensive items and sentimental ones, and he wants us to pay him on top of his huge mistake. Attorney's are paid to represent us. He should have known the judge couldn't just say, ok, get out. We were going to file an appeal. We should have been allowed to stay in the home. WE were HOMELESS< nowhere to go no money, we had a child with us. We had to pay movers, we had to move three times, I lost my job due to all of this stress, my husband became very ill and morose, I've thought of ending it all, I assure you and now THIS. How does an appellate attorney rackup 26,00? Hugh? Beck, Redden and Secrest did it for 5,000.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.

I would agree - I can't for the life of me figure out how he racked up those kind of billable hours. I would certainly dispute such while in court.


Yes, too, it seems he really screwed up in the matter.


Since it is all you have left I really would think about filing a bankrupcty and discharging this guy completey - especially while you have minimal income and no assets - that's perfect timing for such.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you. I must agree, I believe you are correct. Now, I must beg and borrow the money to do so.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 8 years ago.
OK, good luck!!