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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 04-13-2010, 04:21 PM
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I'm thinking it's time to put one more offer on the table. But my lawyer is requesting another chunk of change for retainer and I'm not sure it is worth it. She hasn't made any progress, and the only thing we are really arguing about here is custody. We could have settled so much more by now.

So, if I make up an offer should I serve it to my ex only, or to his lawyer? I think he is probably willing to do this without them (as his bill is at least as high as mine by now). I doubt that he will settle on the custody issue, but we need to settle the financials at least for now.

What obligations would I have to my lawyer? Since we are in Family court there is nothing in the courts relating to our financials and equalization. Of course I would probably have her look at the offer, but is there an obligation to? It's not like I am going with another lawyer, I'm doing it myself.

Advice??
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:27 PM
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Well, at some point you will need to pay your lawyer to finalize everything. There is still work to do, so the question should be overall, can you start doing more/most/all yourself, and keep your lawyer for consultations and finalizing the signatures.

So I would say you are better off telling your lawyer this up front, and that you want to approve all disbursments and legal work before they go ahead with anything.

If you and your ex can communicate, send it to him. If you send it to his lawyer, odds are he will respond to your lawyer, and you end up paying your lawyer to open the envelope. My lawyer always encouraged me to work as much out with my evil conniving ex as I could.

If you want these to be formal offers/negotiations, then keep them worded properly, send them so you can verify they were received * his lawyer is officially accepting on his behalf, but if you send to him you probably want registered mail.
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:55 PM
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I believe that lawyers have to officially adivse the court if they no longer represent the parties. Until such time, a formal offer to settle directly from you to your ex would be something you should ask your lawyer () about.

For sure you should make offers to your ex but they maybe (and should be) just discussion until formalized.
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:21 AM
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What worked for me was Offer to Settle by way of affidavit and reference in subsequent costs submissions. Demonstrated reasonableness to settle. Unorthodox but effective.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:24 PM
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Thanks everyone for the advice.
I have been upfront with my lawyer from the start, told her that I would do whatever I could myself and leave the legal stuff for her.

What I would offer my ex would be sort of up for discussion. I don't expect him to just sign anything, but I do expect that he can read over an offer and request changes. We just have to do this in writing, as there is no talking to him. We still can't seem to talk without one of us getting upset. So I think sending him a registered letter (offer) and waiting for his response would be best. I do have 2 previous offers that I sent, one which I can swear an affidavit for if need be as I delivered it in person (the first I left for him in my daughter's overnight bag before I knew better). I had a lawyer look over the second offer and she said it was very well written, so I am not too worried that I will screw myself over by going this route. This offer would be quite similar to that one.

I did pay off what I owed to my lawyer and told the clerk that I would have to see how I could put together another retainer. It's not that I am firing them, I just need to reduce costs as much as possible. The first $6000 was spent in 3 months! Plus, we are still waiting for the OCL to get involved. I was hoping to wait to put out the offer until I knew if the OCL was accepting us, but I'm hoping we can settle the financials before then.

The main reason I want to send to his lawyer is because I don't think she is even aware of the 2 previous offers! He gave me his copy back for one and the other was months before he retained her. I'm sure if she knew about these offers she might have been more receptive to settling for him.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:25 PM
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oh, and DDTE, I would not sign any agreement without having my lawyer ok it. That would certainly not be a good move.

Whatever we can work out will have to be run by both our lawyers for sure.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:40 PM
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When our bill was getting out of hand, i offered, like you to do most of the administrative work, filling forms etc and emailed them to our lawyer. He checked them over and if all okay we would meet briefly to sign. He would file and serve and showed on court dates. It kept our costs to a minimal, we tried settlement but are now in the process to force sale. Sometimes common sense isn't so common. I on the other hand now work part-time for that lawyer. Got a bonus out of the experience to boot.
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Old 04-15-2010, 02:44 PM
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I have always been doing those things. It's the emails, phone calls etc that are adding up. Cost to review OCL application etc. I try to contact them as little as possible whilie still maintaining my case, but it adds up. Not much else I can do to reduce the costs
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Old 04-15-2010, 03:20 PM
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I started to contact his assistant and do most things thru her. If I need my lawyer to call me, I contact her first and she sends him a message. I forward things to her for her to give to the lawyer. I stopped sending emails etc that I received from my ex as it didn't get me anywhere. Man, I wish I knew some stuff before, I would have saved myself lots of wasted money!
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:28 AM
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I've NEVER called my lawyer directly. Everything is through the clerk, who is very competent and helpful. But there are some things that the lawyer must do and you pay through the nose for them.

I am just sad that it has come down to this. I've had to give up a vacation to pay for this, and it would have been the first one in 5 years.
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