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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 02-12-2006, 02:43 PM
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Default Legal aid lawyer vs. Hired Lawyer

I was just wondering if anyone knows about legal aid lawyers and their capacity to fight an issue through to trial. I would have thought that a legal aid lawyer would be quicker to want to settle because they do not get the same pay as a hired lawyer...and also that they are limited by their superiors as to how far they can take things on bahalf on the client.

I am hoping for a settlement but my stbx (who has a legal aid lawyer) is being very difficult and unreasonable. I am just wondering if her lawyer will bow down to her every demand and continue to aid her in her fight. I mean, at the end of the day these lawyers are being paid out of the gov't purse, and in turn..our pockets! Seems unjust to me that she could drag this out for a long time and we are paying for it! Not to mention that she is being completely unreasonable and it's very obvious. Any thoughts?
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Old 02-12-2006, 06:10 PM
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That's actually a really serious problem. If you're paying steep legal fees, you have an incentive to try to be reasonable and settle your family law case. It doesn't make sense to spend a lot of money on legal issues that aren't worth a lot.

The problem is that people on legal aid don't have that same incentive. They can litigate as they please and normally don't bear any financial consequences. This is particularly bad where one spouse is on legal aid and the other one isn't. Then, a typical tactic of the legally aided spouse is to create all sorts of little issues that must be dealt with but don't really advance the case. Or, to enter into negotiations and even get pretty close to an agreement, but when the time comes to sign the agreement, not sign it.

There's no perfect way to protect yourself against this if you're in this situation. I normally handle this by just trying to move the case forward as quickly as possible through the courts. It normally doesn't make sense to negotiate extensively, because "negotiations" are often a ruse for increasing your legal fees substantially. You can ignore minor issues by responding that you disagree but at this point aren't going to go into the reasons.

If you're outside of a major city, your lawyer will generally know your spouse's lawyer, and should be able to give you a good idea whether your suspicions about your spouse are true or not.
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