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LegalEase, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 897
Experience:  Experience in handling divorces, custody issues and child support quandries.
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I hired local attorney for dissolution on 16yr marriage. He

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I hired local attorney for dissolution on 16yr marriage. He quoted me 3500.00 retainer would take care of the process. The attorneys have had 5 continuances due to overbooking clients. My attorney finally was able to get a hearing for alimony and is still working 3 weeks later on the orer. In the meantime, I got a letter from him that my retainer has all been used and will need 3500.00 more by Feb4. and I also got 1 bill the same day by mail for 4 months of "work". I simply don't have anymore money available. My attorney suggested to me for the first retainer to not pay my house payments and pay him because mortgage companies are taking up to 18-24 months to attain a sale date on your foreclosure. I will tell you that Citibank took 7 months to get a sale date of the beginning of the 8th month. So now I will be homeless along with my ELDERLY parents that have a home on the property, no settlement on divorce even begun, attorney hungry AND MANY giving me advice that I would be a fool to go pro-per. We have retirment account assets, small equity in home and a small business that I have run for 3.5yrs that is just holding its own barely. The judge awarded me minumum wage job over the business.
What would be the best thing I could do right now? (No credit availalbe either)
I do not advise you to go pro per at all, considering you have assets, however, I disagree with your attorney's advise to pay him and not your mortgage. You may perhaps have grounds to file a grievance against him. I would perhaps consider disengaging this attorney and researching Legal Aid in your area or another low cost organziation that offers legal care, or even another attorney that offeres a clear cut payment plan.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Can you clarify legal care? Is that simular to "We The People" a paralegal firm or hiring experienced paralegal for documents that will need to be filed?

Why is Pro Per not a good idea with assets? Is judge not bound to the law?

Legal care = legal services. I would suggest an attorney over a paralegal firm.

The Judge is bound to the law, however, the judge must apply the same rules to you as he applies to an attorney. This means that the Judge cannot cut you any slack for being pro per, so if you mess up and end up getting less than you think you should, there is no recourse for you. Division of assets is also largely up to the Judge's discretion. It doesn't have to be 50/50, just fair and equitable. If you are confident enough in your knowledge of the law and your ability to speak for yourself in court, then you can consider it. However, I do not advise clients to represent themselves in absence of a very simple agreed divorce because once property becomes an issue, there are too many variables.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

One more clarification..... A bad attorney is better than pro per or paralegal? That is where a judge can see what you had to work with?

Thank you for your help and complete answers. Without knowledge there is NO power.

I would not stay with a bad attorney, no. I would find a better attorney and dispute the bill with your current attorney. Paralegals can only operate in a limited capacity. They are only allowed to prepare documents, but they cannot and should not be giving any legal advice or instructions.
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