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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 09-11-2017, 02:18 PM
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Default Difficult lawyer, what do I do?

I am the self-represented Respondent in a case where I feel that my ex-spouses lawyer is not giving her sound advice. Ever since my ex has hired her lawyer, our relationship has become stressful. Her lawyer is notorious for being difficult; she has delayed the process numerous times for being unprepared or away on vacation. I sent a generous offer to settle, which was denied without being reviewed or countered, I don't believe my ex even saw it before the case conference.

I am in the process of hiring a lawyer before the settlement conference. I am one of the good guys. Been separated for 4 years (too long I know), we were amicable and on I acted in good faith. I was always with my children, I always supported my ex in accommodating her variable work schedule, I even cleaned and did repairs at our house when she asked to stay in it after the break down.

My ex has now turned and said she wants all the equity in the house since I never paid child support. She never asked for it, we make the same money, and I was with the children more than 40% of the time. Her lawyer has complicated everything when we used to be on such good terms. The lawyer was hired recently after my ex found out my gf was pregnant with out my child.

This stress is too much and could all be settled if she would stop lying and calling me a deadbeat dad, when I have done nothing but be there for my kids and her. It breaks my heart that this is what she has sunk to because she is hurt that I moved on after a mutual decision to separate 4 years ago.

My questions: Am I allowed to cc my ex in all communications with the lawyer? I am afraid that this lawyer is taking my ex for a ride and isn't looking after her best interests, just looking for a pay day, so says all her reviews online from previous clients.
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:26 PM
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You can CC whoever you wish to in your own communications. Since you are involved in the conversation, there are no privacy issues if you release that information.

Personally though, I would not give your ex any information that you discuss with your lawyer. Why give that information out to someone that has intentions to take you to court? I would not assume that the lawyer is taking your ex for a ride. A lawyer is paid to be on their clients side and get the best deal possible for them. You are no longer on amicable terms.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:21 PM
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Assume that your ex's lawyer is a pathological lair. Listen to what they tell you, but don't believe any of it. Then verify. What comes out of a settlement conference is non-binding. You want to show that you know your stuff, are reasonable, and won't be bullied by your ex's lawyer.

You can hire a lawyer to represent you. You can also hire one to give you advice. It depends on how comfortable you are with learning about family law and how much time you have to learn and prepare. Of course, it also depends on your financial resources.

Either way, don't trust a word her lawyer says, and be well prepared and professional for the conference.
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:13 PM
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Sorry to hear you are going through this. Sucks

Word of advice - the more the lawyer can keep the two of you at odds the more money lawyer makes. If you can do anything, try to get that through to your ex. If/when you retain your lawyer be very aware that lawyers often have "off the record" conversations where they freely discuss "how much is in the file" for each of them. Have candid conversations with your lawyer about this.... they don't like to admit it though, but one has to remember that they are in business ....

Of course you can cc your ex anything you want. Again, with an eye to finances, remember that the more communication lawyers have to sort through the higher your monthly bill will be with your lawyers. I always advise people to insist on a detailed monthly bill (yes you pay a retainer) so you can understand where your hard-earned money is going. You will ask yourself "do I really need to pay this lawyer 250.00 to send a letter?" etc.

Expect some very aggressive communication from your ex's lawyer as well as some very aggressive bargaining. Try not to take it personally. This is what lawyers do for a living. If they get under your skin then they are very, very happy.

Remember that you get what you pay for. Make sure you hire the right lawyer. You may have to meet with a few before you make the right choice. There is much advice on this forum with regards to finding the right lawyer.
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:47 PM
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Stupid question out of curiosity: Based on both of you doing so well in the communication department prior to the lawyer....why did you not go to a mediator? Can you attempt to communicate with her directly and try to convince her to at least try a mediator? Mediators work even better if both parties are communicating well because they don't need to intervene. Considering a mediator is a fraction of the cost of a lawyer AND the single bill is split between you....its super cheap. I know some people who hired a $100/hr mediator and completed everything at $350 each. Compared to $10K + for one lawyer.
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:50 PM
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Default Mediators!!

To Newfie76.
About the mediators!! That is not true at all!!. Me and my Ex went to see the mediator for 3.5 hours and she charged us $2000 ($1000 each) and it didn't result anything...it really was a wasted of time!!!. I find it was so expensive and it cost more than my current lawyer.
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sosad View Post
To Newfie76.
About the mediators!! That is not true at all!!. Me and my Ex went to see the mediator for 3.5 hours and she charged us $2000 ($1000 each) and it didn't result anything...it really was a wasted of time!!!. I find it was so expensive and it cost more than my current lawyer.
It must be quite variable then. I found mediation extremely helpful, and inexpensive. It was when lawyers got involved after we had hashed out a separation agreement for the independent legal advice part that problems developed. The two lawyers were quite happy to spend thousands of our dollars tinkering with an agreement that had only cost us hundreds and that we were already happy with.

Unfortunately, you always don't learn to rein in your lawyer until AFTER they have at least half your money. And if your ex already has a lawyer whispering in her ear about what extra money she could get if only she fights you to the bitter end, it is probably too late for mediation.

Just keep making reasonable offers to settle, that counter anything her lawyer does. If she wants the equity in the house because you didn't pay CS because you make similar incomes and would have had minuscule offset CS, create a spreadsheet to show what CS would have been, no matter how small, and offer to either pay it or not make her pay it, whichever is appropriate.
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Old 09-22-2017, 02:05 PM
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Well, the more aweful her lawyer is, and the more bad advise your ex gets, the better your chances of winning your case. I understand however bad lawyers can drag out reasonable settlements and just fight for the sole purpose of docketing.

The more you communicate with her lawyer, the more her lawyer will have to charge her, and the sooner she will run out of money. So you can't really go wrong there. You don't need to CC your ex in communications with her lawyer. Communicate with your ex first, if your ex refused to communicate with you, or gives you unreasonable responses, then you reach out to her lawyer. Then keep email her every 2 - 3 days if you don't hear back. With that being said, there was a point in time where my ex was hammering my lawyer with emails, for things that she should and could have discussed with me, so my lawyer would just forward to me and didn't bill me for them.

If you had the children for at least 40% of the time, and your incomes are similar, then you shouldn't agree to any unilateral status quo created by mom, and shouldn't agree to paying any child support.

I would speak to few lawyers if I were you, and even more, until you find a lawyer you are 300% comfortable with representing you, then hire that lawyer.

It always helps to have a good reputable lawyer on your side, who isn't out for the mighty buck. Yes, they will charge you for their work, but their main motivation isn't just to bill you. My lawyer in particular is settlement oriented and likes to settle as many matters as he possibly can out of court. If polite communications don't reach settlements, then he is prepared to go to court and fight for what is right.

Yes, there will always be costs you don't agree to, but as Arabian has pointed out, and I have heard lawyers say themselves, they view Family Law as a business, which is just the sad reality. The only reason I would have ever wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer when I was graduating high school, would have been to make a lot of money and become rich. So sometimes you gotta foot the bill and pay your lawyer, if their work is that valuable to you and more. And sometimes, just sometimes, the lawyers really like you and will cut you breaks and give you deals.

If I wanted to go to law school now, I would do it for the sole purpose of advocating for fathers (or mother's when they are being reasonable) and putting an end to the bias discrimination in our legal system, which my lawyer has mentioned to me as a reality of family law system in Canada.

Last edited by trinton; 09-22-2017 at 02:11 PM.
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