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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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Ongoing case in Brewton Alabama. I confirmed the money I am

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Ongoing case in Brewton Alabama. I confirmed the money I am sending to my ex-wife for the financial support of my daughter, is being used to pay for attorney's fees that her attorney is not dispersing the support to my daughter. My ex-wife is in arrears with her attorney for some 8K for representing her. Two years ago my ex-wife was arrested for shoplifting right before Christmas. Shortly afterwards, she contacted my attorney directly, as asked if he would discontinue making the funds to her attorney, and make the support checks directly to her attorney.

I have not paid one time since last August. Usually, if I am 10 days late my ex-wife and her attorney file a contempt charge on me. Now, I have not paid in 6 months. I can't in good conscious because I am just filling her attorney's fees. Please give a multi pronged answer and what my options are.


Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Well, it is likely if you have not gotten a summons after 6 months of non-payment that she has not been paying her attorney enough and he is refusing to do anymore work for her.

First thing you need to do is keep putting that normal monthly amount in a separate bank account with your name on the account and your child's name on the account as beneficiary. The reason for this is in the event she does file a motion for contempt, you would be able to file a countermotion for contempt and argue she is not properly providing for the child and as such you have placed support payments in a separate account for the child until the ex agrees to provide for the child.

Unfortunately, while it makes you madder than hell that you are paying support for your child only to have it used for your ex to pay other bills, by law you have no control over that and it does not matter what she uses the payments for as long as the child is provided for. So technically, you have no right to withhold payments other than to make a point and because it makes you mad.

In order to make a case here, you would have to prove that the child needs things that the child is not getting and it is because the ex is spending money she receives from you for the child on other non-essential matters and is actually neglecting the needs of the child. Absent you proving she is neglecting the needs of the child, the court would hold you in contempt if it comes to going to court with your only reasoning being is she is using your payments to pay her attorney and not for the child. Thus, keeping the money in a separate account would at least allow you to show the court you were keeping up with support and paying your money on time every month, just not to the ex but into that account for the child and then the court will admonish you and tell you to turn it over to the ex for your back support if you end up going to court when she files and you do not settle out of court.

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Law Educator, Esq. and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your reply Paul. Actually, I have been putting the funds in her 529 college account, so when I get summoned I will show where the funds have been going. I did already know about the Alabama law; that she can use it basically for whatever she needs, as long as my daughter is not being neglected. I am not so interested in my ex-wife, as I am confident her attorney is pocketing every dime I was sending. I asked my attorney to please send me copies of checks that his office wrote to her attorney directly. After a few request my attorney sent me the copies. He almost seemed relunctant to do so. I suggested to my attorney John that her attorney Bill is pocketing the child support payments and basically liening my ex-wife. After this conversation 3 months ago her attorney Bill stopped calling my attorney asking where the child support payments were. I told my attorney whatever arrangement he has with my ex-wife could either be illeagal, or preceivede as highly unethical by the Alabama Bar Commission. My attorney then mentioned to me I may be correct and this is why her attorney has not forced the issue. My ex-wife told my mother several weeks ago, that she is not getting any support since 8 months ago, but not due to me not sending the funds.


My last question is if this is the case, and as stated earlier, the last several checks were written to her attorney in his name; do I have a valid complaint with the Alabama Board of Ethics, or even a complaint with the Department of Justice?


Regards, Sean

Thank you for your response and for filling me in on the additional details.

If her attorney is taking child support checks for his payments, this is illegal, as you suspect and also against the rules of professional conduct which prevent seizure of child support for attorney's fees.

If your ex wife is willing to cooperate and testify she has not received checks sent to her attorney that were designated for child support, it is likely this attorney would be sanctioned, if not disbarred.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much Paul! In closing this retorhic, just for your information. I live in New Jersey. My ex-wife, her attorney, Judge and my attorney are all Auburn Tigers. More specifically, I did not learn until half way through the case that my attorney and her attorney Bill, not only went to law school together, but Bill and my attorney John were business partners. I only knew this because I questioned my attorney when I saw the add for their firm. When I confronted my attorney about why they disolved their partnership, he told me that Her attorney John is an immoral oppertunistic and only cares about winning cases for the financial rewards. It appears her attorney has become very greedy, so much that he would allow an 8 year old little girl suffer and go without in order to fill his coffers. I thank you Paul and will be seraching for you here shortly.


Regards, Sean

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Paul was timely, direct and professional. His replies were not canned answers. I experienced something with Paul, which unfortunately have not seen in the "Alabama good old boy network." My previous experiences with attorneys on my case was dishearting. For example, my first attorney in this case, which started in 2007 did not send out any interogatories (sp?), but I had to fill out 2 years of my demographics. Then, because the first case was bifurcated, I was given a continuance. A new hearing date was set, but at the last minute, we were informed my ex-attorney's wife had passed away, and requested a continuance. However, her attorney, Bill, then sent me an itemized invoice, because we requested a continuance. Not to be insensitive, but it was HIS wife that passed away, so why was I, as a client held responsible? I was forced to terminate our relationship.


It appears Paul is not affraid to outwardly admonish another attorney. Others (attorneys) in my past expereiences, will not openly criticize another attorney, or suggest a complaint is warranted.


Paul, you have my sincerest graditude. I am a 70% disabled veteran and have fought over the midde east, Africa, Bosnia, and other global hot spots, fighting to do my part in preserving our belovede country., the American way of life, and sustaining true demoracy. However, in stark contrast, fully comprehending the cold facts, that although we have a justice system, in my humble opinion, most of our courts, fail to maintain a consistant, equatiable and fair legal system. For example, there are an endless array of published "self help" books designed to assist you, in making a formal judicial inquiriy,; against a judge' who's legal reasoning skills have manifested into gross impartial ineffectiveness, and or incompetant in their legal reasoning.


Today and , 'more likely then not,' and even more alarming; it seems that judges, who have reached tenure; are prone to misuse their discreationay powers bestowed upon them, free from any judicial misconduct, because now, their law school classmates sit on the appellate court, and have the authority to determine on a case by case basis how much lattitude they are willing to extended to their subordinates; often hidding behind the vail, that the lower court judges, must not be afraid to make decisions, even if the decisions are unfair and unjust to the defendandt. The theory and practice of allowing judges to enter unfair and often unethical judgements, although it may save certain judges embarassment and humiliation, who in our American system; known for checks and balances, can advocate for our citizens, unimpedided by immediation, and ot threats of contempt?


"Judges are the weakest link in our legal system; yet they are the most protected."


I may have a physical astygitism, but I am far from myopic.


v/r, Sean


Again, Thanks, Paul.

Thank you so much for the kind words Sean.

If someone is doing wrong and committing an offense then keeping quiet is as bad as committing the offense yourself in these cases. There are many very good attorneys, but because there are so many attorneys in general people do run into the scum of the earth type attorney that you have described. When you run into them, you need to report them to the bar for their violations.