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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12396
Experience:  JD, MBA
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Ive been married for 20 years and I have 4 children with my

Customer Question

I've been married for 20 years and I have 4 children with my husband. ( 22, 20, 18 & 15 ) We've been separated for 2 1/2 years. My husband an attorney, but does not practice law. I stayed home for over 20 years and I have a high school education. I also have some medical issues with my hands for the past 10 years. My husband has full control over our finance. ( marriage & separation ) I had an attorney up until 2 weeks ago. I would like to retain another family law attorney, but my husband will not give me a retainer fee. I receive in the mail this weekend a legal letter. ( At-Issue Memorandum For Trial ) My husbands attorney gave the court some dates that he is available. We have a joint forensic accountant that has given us some information, but my husband has not been under oath. We have one off-shore account that I'm aware of, but I don't have access to. ( my husband is the only one on the account ) I don't know what to do. I need an attorney.I don't know if this matters, but I'm divorcing him .Thank you
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Can you clarify your legal question for me? I realize that you want to retain an attorney (and I agree that you should!), but I'm unclear how I can help you. What is it you'd like to know?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
How do I find a good Family law attorney that will take my case, even if they have to wait to get paid. My husband has a very good attorney. ( he has kept him from going under oath ) I thought about calling the law schools around my area USC or UCLA and asking for help. The attorneys that would like to take my case want 10K for a retainer. I believe it's because there's going to be alot of research involved. Thank you
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hi again. Thank you for clarifying.

Unfortunately, finding an attorney willing to take your case without a retainer will require making a lot of telephone calls and personal visits. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that you'll need to speak to a lot of attorneys until you find one who is willing to take a risk. The risk, of course, is that the attorney will never get paid. The reason is that the attorney will need to file a petition requesting that your husband be required to pay your attorney's fees. If that petition fails, then you may not be able to pay the attorney. Or, even if the judge orders your husband to pay, he may refuse, and that could mean the attorney either never gets paid, or the attorney needs to sue, garnish wages, and ultimately spend a lot of time and effort above representing you in the divorce just to get paid. I'm sure you already knew that, of course, but I wanted to throw it out there in case you weren't sure of the risks for the attorney.

In any event, I do have some suggestions for finding an attorney. I would first utilize your county's attorney referral service. You can get to it at THIS WEBSITE (scroll to the bottom to choose your county). Through the program, you can request a consultation (by phone or in person) where you'll explain your situation and ask if the attorney is willing to represent you knowing that he'll have to seek payment from your husband. I'm sorry to say that you may need to do this several times until you find a attorney willing to help. Contacting law schools will not likely be of any help since (1) law students cannot generally represent people, and (2) if they can offer limited help through a legal clinic at their school, they'll likely be in way over their heads. Helping a low income tenant avoid eviction against a pro per landlord is not in the same league as helping on a complicated divorce where there could be dozens of legal issues to resolve, and where they'll be going up against another seasoned attorney. I'd stick to the attorney referral service.

I hope that helps. Please remember to click "accept."
TJ, Esq. and 7 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I did not know or maybe just not thinking clearly about the attorney/fee. It's so upsetting.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hi again.

Something else you could do is file a petition for attorneys fees yourself. In other words, you file a petition with the court explaining that you need an attorney, that you do not have the funds for an attorney, that your husband does have the funds for an attorney, and that your husband should be ordered to pay for your attorney. You can then ask for a hearing and see what the judge says. You can file the petition by visiting the local court clerk and asking if there are any blank forms that can be filled out. If the judge agrees with you, and orders your husband to pay, then finding an attorney will be much easier because you can take the order with you to a consultation and show that the judge has already ruled that your husband must pay. I think an attorney would be much more willing to take the case in that situation.

I truly wish you luck!