What Recourse Does One Have if Divorce Attorney Failed Them?

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“I hired a divorce lawyer. He did some things that are problems..

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

He did not follow up on some items. This was my first divorce and except for traffic tickets my only contact with the courts.

The judge twice ordered my ex husbands accounts frozen. The attorney did not file the papers to do so. I didn’t know he had to file papers, I kept bugging him about when I would get the money. I mentioned this to an insurance agent and he was the one who told me the attorney had to follow up with paperwork There was $10,000 in the one account when the judge gave the first order to freeze the ex-husbands account. I don’t know how much was in there the second time. Someone else has now gotten a judgement and did file the paperwork on all of my ex husbands accounts.

The judge ordered my ex to keep his life insurance policy in place with me as the beneficiary. My lawyer never made notice to the insurance company and my ex husband let his policy lapse. This came out in a subsequent court hearing. My ex  husband is in very poor health, kidney failure, heart problems diabetes, early onset dementia and has been declared mentally incompetent. His only income now is Social Security disability. His former business partner, who is an attorney, has power of attorney on all of the ex’s affairs.

The lawyer filed two property liens against my ex husbands properties because he owed me so much money but he filed them in the wrong court. They were not recorded against the deeds. One property was sold and I got nothing! The other house has a mortgage on it for far more than it is worth.

When judge ordered the one property turned over to me I didn’t know that there should have been a title search and my attorney never raised this with me or the judge. My ex had a home equity line on the property and withdrew $70,000 from the loan before I found out about it.The bank would not release the property from this mortgage even with the judge’s order. I had to refinance just to keep my ex from continuing to have access to this account and I had to remortgage including the $70,000 he took after the property was turned over to me.

And finally my lawyer, who holds himself out as a matrimonial lawyer, billed me almost $2000 for consulting with senior counsel.

I have judgements from the court of just over $102,000 against my ex husband,and interest continues accruing everyday. Clearly there is no chance whatsoever of getting any money from my ex husband that he owes on the judgements I have.   I am trying very hard to avoid bankruptcy.

Since my lawyers failure to follow up on this items has cost me a significant amount of money I do not believe I should have to pay him the remainder of what I owe I had been paying $500 a month but stopped paying when I found out about all of the property issues and then I found out about the lapsed life insurance policy. I had contacted a malpractice attorney and he said he wouldn’t take a case unless it had over $500,000 for it, he said it would not be cost effective for me to pursue this as a malpractice.

What recourse do I have against the attorney? I still owe a little more then $5,000, I have already paid just over $7,000. (My ex fought, postponed and delayed everything)”

If you truly believe that your attorney failed you, then your simplest and most straight-forward recourse would be to contact your state bar association, and file a complaint with them.  Many, if not most, state bar associations have a grievance procedure, which includes mediation of outstanding bills.



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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.