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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 05-07-2013, 08:39 AM
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I would really appreciate a little advice here.

After 4 1/2 years of being separated and trying to get my ex-wife to the "table" to formalize agreements and the divorce without the lawyers involvement. I was finally put in a position to retain a lawyer to get the matters settled....primarily my access schedule, child support and divorced. This is not a high conflict divorce nor is there any significant assets to be divided. Filed divorce application, been through case conference and settlement conference at $13,000 in legal fees and I still am not divorced, still do not have an access schedule and an interim order for child support was made but in the wrong amount (long story, but its $50 higher per month than it should be because some "yahoo" couldn't figure out how to deal with exchange rates).....
I am at the end of my wits here.....I feel like the two lawyers are just playing games with me and my $$. My lawyer blames it on their side, dragging their feet etc. Yes I'm sure my ex is not very motivated to wrap this up - she'll lose control of "the access" as right now she pretty much dictates when I'll see the kids (note: they leave five hours away).

What can I do....is there something I should say to my lawyer besides "WTF?" 13k for a low conflict divorce is absurd and to still have nothing to show for it?????
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:52 AM
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Mess is a jewel in the roughMess is a jewel in the roughMess is a jewel in the roughMess is a jewel in the rough
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Would you hire a contractor to renovate your house, point at your house, say "Fix it!" and then leave him to do whatever he wants?

The only reason this happened to you is because you weren't in control of your lawyer. I'm not coming down hard on you, we have all made this mistake, but in the end you have accept responsibility in order to take control of your file.

You weren't able to get anything out of your ex for 4 1/2 years, yet you believed that your lawyer was a magic wand who gets it done immediately for cheap. And yes, when we are tired and sick of it, we like to believe that someone can help us and do it for us instantly. The trouble is that in reality it can't happen that way. The reason it took 4 1/2 years in the first place is because your ex was avoiding settlement for whatever reason. Getting a lawyer didn't change your ex.

Your issue was that there was no progress in such a long time. Your mistake was that you didn't hire someone to deal with that issue, you just hired someone to take over and continue suffering the delay and avoidance.

Make a list of things you need done. Speak with your lawyer frankly and state that you want a timeline for accomplishing each item on the list. If the ex won't come to the table, then continue with the court process. If you have an offer on the table, there is no need for further communication between lawyers. There is no need to keep paying your lawyer to write letters and make phone calls. You attend the next conference and keep the pressure on to proceed quickly to trial.

You can't force your ex to sign an agreement. If they won't sign, then you need a court order. In order to get a court order, you need to be in the courtroom. Keep that in mind. Anything that doesn't bring you a step closer to that end is a further waste of time and money.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:54 AM
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I didn't feel my divorce was low conflict, there were delays, lies, betrayals. My ex went through three lawyers who quite likely all told her to settle and that she wasn't being reasonable... unfortunately her parents were facilitating her behaviour (they always have) and she kept it going.

However, we did manage to resolve everything in 11 months at the cost of 13k-15k for me. I don't know what changed her stance, but once we went through MIP and she saw the inside of a court room I like to think she realized that she wasn't going to enjoy the experience.

My legal expenses were astronomical at first (3k per month) but like Mess said, you need to learn how to control your lawyer and keep them on a short leash and do as much work and negotiating yourself as you can. In the end it still boiled down to my ex and myself, neither of our lawyers really did anything to solve our problems.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:02 PM
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I am now at the same stage where---let's just go to court --it will be less expensive than trying to deal with the craziness and waste of money from the ex and his lawyer. If my lawyer money went to moving the divorce forward I would have been happy. My money is spent on communicating date changes (they cancelled 3 meetings last minute, didn't send me the letter to go do divorce education session ---one letter to ask for my form, and a few others to co-ordinate the date of the session etc.-----cancelling meetings and rearrangin, paid to question him ($4000 for the day), cancelled questioning me-...... sent a ridiculous settlement with guess what--more data entry errors and no evidence for claims (we have been requesting financials where current financials have been removed)----so now we are back and forth. My direction to my lawyer---timelines, contempt of court if he doesn't start producing and working with us. It does take 2 sides. My ex doesn't read emails, can't do simple calculations ( I am not exaggerating--even though he is a professional) My legal bills---are at least 5 x yours---just on preparing financials and ----mainly on emails between lawyers. It is a ridiculous system. I blame the court system that doesn't control lawyers who use the tactic of draining the spouse's funds this way.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:15 AM
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Man. Seems to be the norm... I dropped $13k in 3yr and got to one settlement co.ference

The lawyers are allowed.to run a muck... Not sure how they look in mirror.... Luckily I have a conscious or I'd be karma

After firing my lawyers I got issues resolved in 5 months. On my own...and got what was right and fait... I believe all judges will treat u fair... It's pretty black AMD white
It's a very sad system to be honest
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:01 PM
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I had occasion last month to review my legal bills. The costs that seemed to accumulate and add up to the most were the letters sent/received from my ex or opposing counsel. Attendance at court seemed to be the bargain.

I agree with what other posters have said. You have to keep a very tight rein on your lawyer.

I have always said that if you and your wife have cash or equity in your home it is motivation for lawyers to keep the discourse between the two of you. You say you have a decent relationship with your wife. Is it possible for you to meet with her and discuss a plan of action that you could both present to your lawyers? (In your post I note you say this is not a high conflict matter) Her legal bill will be just as high as yours.

It sounds as though you, unlike many other people, might very well be in a situation where you can simply get together with your ex and resolve most of the issues which are still on the table.
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:09 PM
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You can also have your lawyers bill "assessed" by the court. Perhaps you have to talk to your lawyer about your frustration with the cost of this non-hostile-little-asset divorce. Many lawyers, once they learn they might be having their bills assessed, will drop significant amounts of the bill. They know that if they have to defend their bill before a justice they will have to prove why there is such a significant bill for very little results. Judges are lawyers and they know what constitutes an unreasonable bill so before you go this route make sure you have all your facts lined up. You can start by reading your provincial Rules of Court which should outline normal costs associated with various actions to see if your lawyer's bill is out-to-lunch. If you call, email or meet with your lawyer frequently then they are quite within their rights to bill you for that. I'd also recommend that you always get a detailed monthly bill from your lawyer if you don't already. If you see a charge that you disagree with, bring it to your lawyer's attention immediately.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:10 PM
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arabian....

After weeks of requesting a meeting with my lawyer, it was arranged. It likely cost me a few hundred just to schedule this meeting - so many emails back an forth. He doesn't have a secretary; consequently every contact with him costs money.

One of my requests, going forward, was a monthly bill. No problem was the response.

Unfortunately he has not followed through. If I don't get a bill after the first week of June I will enquire. In the process he will charge me for that enquiry no doubt.

Sometimes I feel that I am a fly stuck in his legal web. Kind of makes me wonder.... doesn't he have a sense of responsibility?.... should I really trust him....? He's supposed to help but.... it feels like he's helping himself!

I'm venting a bit. But really.... it almost reminds me of the kind of relationship I had with my husband... how he charmed me into his life - in a different way... but somehow a familiar pattern... always wondering.

One thing I know for sure... I will not go on and on with fruitless legal actions. I just haven't reached my endpoint quite.... or feel that I have enough clarity to make firm decisions.

To the original poster, knight0369...

I am divorcing a very controlling, stubborn man. However, I have experienced a similar lack of progress (not all a consequence of my stbx's action or lack of action)... and at a similar cost. My application was about to expire. This finally prompted my lawyer to respond to me... so it seems. My lawyer claims that b/c the court system is so bogged down almost everyone receives a notice of approaching dismissal (or whatever the term). I wonder if that is true... if it is a fact, has he attributed to a valid cause - i.e. a backed up system?

Anyway, I'm likely to be at about $13K or higher after a SC later this year - application, CC and meeting with OCL to date... since 2011.

This spending of money is not reckless... it's some kind of crazy exploitation... similar to what was described in the Toronto Star opinion column someone posted earlier this week. We're not talking about stupid, lazy, reckless people. Most people involved in divorce are confused, very vulnerable, doing the best they can on a very steep and overwhelming learning curve. There is so much cynicism in the legal profession. I guess it's the tonic that helps a lot of family lawyers sleep well at night - unlike many of their clients.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:15 AM
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Unreal. They are legal crooks. Criminals and should be stoned to death
My file was approaching dismissal twice, second time I called court asking when I had a date as I was under the impression since one SC was out off by my lawyer to give the other side time to go over our paper work.... After 6 months I called. No date. Neither lawyer called... Very clear tome aat this point what game is being played... I'll leave out drama... But after firing lawyer, I was in court 4x for SC and signed orders in like 5 months.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:47 AM
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phatkid77

You are venting. However, don't paint all lawyers with the same brush - even just those who practise family law.

It does seem that these lawyers have a "good thing going" and don't want that threatened perhaps.

However I am certain that there are (one or two ; ) good lawyers out there doing the best that they can, that are empathetic, concerned, etc.

I met 2 lawyers in the Ottawa area at a seminar they conducted. They are trying to package and market family law services differently - Family Law in a Box. This was a couple of years ago.... one of the lawyers was going through a nasty court case herself! (Unfortunately, they had to advise me to see a lawyer asap - I hadn't left my matrimonial home yet, my stbx had taken about $200K from a Line of Credit account a few weeks earlier and hidden it. Not a cookie cutter case - if there are such things.)

I think your remedy might be a bit extreme.

Having said that..... I hear you!
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