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I have been waiting over three months for a final judgement…

I have been waiting...

I have been waiting over three months for a final judgement to be submitted to the judge and signed. It was supposed to be done by opposing counsel and they are not responding to my attorney's requests. Meanwhile, my daughter's father is taking full advantage of that fact and nothing can be enforced without signed paperwork. Can something be done to make this attorney finish her job?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?

My attorney states that she has tried on many occasions, since December, to get in touch with her. Also there were papers submitted about holding him in contempt about not paying child support. That is all I know about anything being submitted since the trial.

Lawyer's Assistant: Family law varies by state. What state are you in?

Florida

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

There is a history of DV and that is why I am trying to get help. Every time he has our daughter, he makes excuses to come to my home and harass me. They refused an injunction because of the trial. He says he fired the lawyer also. The order is the only thing that will regulate his movement regarding time sharing. I just don't know where else to go about this

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
This is a draft of the final judgment
Answered in 21 minutes by:
3/24/2018
Attorney Wendy
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 518
Experience: Member at Keefer & Keefer LLC
Verified

Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am an attorney. I completely understand your frustration and it appears your lawyer may also be experiencing some of this same frustration with regard to the lack of communication from opposing counsel. Unless opposing counsel has withdrawn with the court from representing your daughter's father, that attorney is still responsible for fulfilling any obligations in that representation, including completing and forwarding to the court an order to be signed by the judge and filed. It is always a difficult period between a court hearing and the court's instructions as to what to include in an order and the actual order being in place and ready to be enforced. That said, assuming the court/judge provided a ruling that the opposing counsel is to put in a formal order, you may want to talk to your attorney about obtaining either the transcript (if the decision was announced verbally) or any written instructions from the judge to determine if you have anything that can be enforced now while you await the final order (I wasn't sure if the draft final judgment you sent was from the court, opposing counsel or your attorney - it reads more like what the court wants in a formal order, but I wasn't sure). If not, the other option to discuss with your lawyer (and I obviously do not have as much information about your case as that lawyer) is the filing of a motion to compel or otherwise require opposing counsel to prepare and submit the order. A possible separate option - and the acceptability of this varies by local area - is for your attorney to inform opposing counsel in writing that if they do not hear back by a set date, a draft order consistent with the court's instructions will be sent to the court by your lawyer for consideration - whether your attorney chooses to just send with a cover letter explaining the lack of communication by opposing counsel to explain this strategy or whether a motion is filed on this issue, is best discussed with your lawyer.

You should consider scheduling a phone call or meeting with your attorney as early as possible next week to try to put a strategy in place to get this issue resolved.

If you need further assistance, please reply to this email. If I answered your question and provided excellent service, I would greatly appreciate your 5 star rating at this time.

​Please note: This information is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No course of action is being proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege has been formed as a result of this conversation.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
The draft was done by my attorney based off of what the judge ordered during the trial. I recently spoke to my attorney and she stated that if she was to draft the judgement, I would be charged for it. They can request that he pay the attorney's fees but that will probably not happen either. At what point do I need to go further or over the attorney to get this settled. I don't know the usual time frame for this process, but it is reeking havoc on my life to have this controlling man running around my home and harassing me and my family, using our daughter as an excuse. He has mental issues and the authorities claim their hands are tied.

I am so sorry you are dealing with this situation. It is a long time, in my experience, to wait for an order - after the court has given the decision. If you are still represented by that attorney - in other words, that attorney is your counsel of record with the court - then that attorney is your representative in this case for any communication with the court. If she would charge additional fees to prepare the actual order (as the draft is not in a proper form to be submitted to the court), you may want to speak with her on working with you on the fees, as it is in everyone's interest to get this resolved. If you do not believe your attorney is suitably protecting your interests, you do have the option of looking for other counsel and there are several resources if you have limited financial means (if you can let me know what county you are in, I can send you some of these legal resources). That is not to say, you should or should not do that, but it is always an option. I don't know what you signed with your attorney regarding your representation but you may want to review that agreement to see what it says about additional fees for additional work or what the scope of representing you was - in other words, did the agreement cover the entire case such that this order should be included. It would seem that your attorney would rather be able to close this case file than have it lingering open waiting on a final order.

In terms of the harassment, that may be an issue you want to speak to another attorney about - perhaps one through a pro bono or legal aid service so the rates are reduced (if you have limited finances). You do not need to let him in your home and if you ever feel your safety or the safety of your daughter is threatened, you should call law enforcement. Though they haven't been much help so far, you may want to make sure that there are plenty of reports documenting any incidents.

Again, I know this is frustrating and it is a long wait for an enforceable order to be entered.

Attorney Wendy
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 518
Experience: Member at Keefer & Keefer LLC
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