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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 02-24-2012, 02:52 PM
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I am just not sure if there are details that I should adress regarding the "retainer contract" that will become how and what is charged and ultimately my cost to hire this lawyer - below are the basics of what I agreed to. This document contract appears to be very simple, is there something that I should have in writing above this to protect my rights that are typically part of this agreement? At the very least to avoid conflict down the road ?(I can't run out of money - I will never be able to represent myself) Here it is:

So yesterday I did sign the agreement to authorize the lawyer to commence the application against my ex for divorce, SS, medical coverage (very big issue for me) and negotiate equalization of Net Family Property and I authorize the lawyer to conduct such proceedings as the lawyer deems necessary and employ "such agents and counsel" considered expideiant.

costs:
>.1 per hour for each letter sent recieved (with no cap - he explained in the case of letter writing it just breaks his time into very small blocks of time but a letter of 10 blocks will come to $275 which is the billable rate)
>$1500 perday court time plus all disbursements
>I must stay ahead of the retainer, in advance as requested by the lawyer and I have two weeks to do so or he will be entitled to cease representing me. I will pay the entire cost for the order to severe our relationship
>until the bill is paid in full - I will not be entitled to recieve any documentation from the file
>I am entitled to recieve copies at my request of all correspondence and court proceedings as well as the original documents provided by me or 3rd parties evidence of my earnings, my ownership of possessions or debts to any issue between me and my ex.

So I admit I was taken aback to the fact that i have not even got the 13.1 out yet and $1500 is gone. Yikes! I have constantly told him and his assisstant point blank the costs - I am not an open wallet and I have to have his office to limit ALL unnecessary billing and time which will kill me to the point that what I have available is gone and I have NO LAWYER to continue. I need him to the end. I actually had to stop him a couple of times as we reviewed the 13.1 that he is using time up to calculate complicated numbers at $275 an hour which at his request I had forwarded to his assisstant last week to tally up (Her time is no charge). The fact that it was not done - leave this and I will do it myself and provide him with the actual number (this being fairly extensive perscription, dental, health benefit costs). He stopped and we continued.

This bogging of time happened a couple of more times and I am proud to have recognized it right off and stopped it - move forward..... Lawyer said, and I know this, your 13.1 is not easy - by far this is like the most difficult personal declaration I have come across that did not entail business ownership. I know I am having my own medical issues and I can't afford to have it affect the lawyer's bill. Tuesday's meeting was 2-1/2 hours - before I gave them the I do not have the money to keep this pace up, $1500 and the 13.1 is not even filed yet the Lawyer already said he was only going to bill for 1 hour today - he has done this every time, he has dropped at least 10 hours since the first introduction but even then we have not even started. (Sigh)

so this weekend is my task to finish up the last little bit which is the last three sections on page 8 and 9 and he has my 13.1 info! I am admitadly overwhelmed by the costs and how easy it is to see thousands disappear - if there are words of wisdom to help keep this as low as possible????
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:10 PM
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Are you able to communicate with your ex? Have the separation agreement drafted and review it together and iron out the issues..going back and forth will cost you $. As per medical benefits...ask to stay on as long as you can (put in agreemnt). Don't pay the lawyer to actually "file" for your divorce...you can do that yourself for $500 providing all everything else is finalized with respect to equalization, division of assets. etc. Try to avoid court.

My costs after 9 months of back and forth...$5000...my ex...$22,000. (because he didnt want to equalize me)
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:04 PM
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Default Is It Just Me?

My eyes just rolled back so far in my head that I fell off my chair.

(...shaking my head...)
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:00 PM
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This is all standard stuff.

At the outset my legal bills were around $3000/month. Eventually it dropped to around $1000 per month. We never went to trial, when the ex still refused to try mediation after 9 months I filed for court. Shortly thereafter we settled between the two of us without our lawyers involvement as we had both run out of patience and money in dealing with our lawyers.

So yes, even without trial you will see thousands and thousands of dollars disappear into the coffers of your lawyer. Most of this will produce nothing - Even if you manage to make progress on negotiating certain issues its extremely likely that your ex will change their minds multiple times forcing you to rehash the same issues repeatedly.

What you can expect from divorce is that you will lose everything... I lost every possession and penny I had ever had in my adult life. I was back to living as if I was a teenager again in a basement room. Perhaps the best part of my outcome was that although I lost everything I managed to avoid going into debt over it so at least I have the opportunity to rebuild.
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:04 PM
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pursuinghappiness - if you only understood the dynamics of what is going on !!! Without legal options - this was forced and now the lawyer can make the move for the support - the roll your head - if you only knew what the ex who I have learned to ignore has on her own accord made her own choices..... and even the kids understand - they understand i didn't have options and they are upset at how things have gone - and not of my doing...... But again I have made choices thaat needed to be made - now the services are kicking in. I won't go further - not public...... but there are specific members who have the full picture and they base their opinions on that,, So enjoy !!!!
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:34 PM
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ddol-My retainer was $1,500 as well. I get letters, or emails asking me for more if we drop below the $1,000 clip level.
Can you qualify for legal aid given the current situation and disability so you don't have to pay ?
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:42 PM
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zenna70
Quote:
Are you able to communicate with your ex? Have the separation agreement drafted and review it together and iron out the issues..going back and forth will cost you $. As per medical benefits...ask to stay on as long as you can (put in agreemnt). Don't pay the lawyer to actually "file" for your divorce...you can do that yourself for $500 providing all everything else is finalized with respect to equalization, division of assets. etc. Try to avoid court.
The issue I deal with is an ex who went nuts - tried everything to "I shall say hurt" me in any and every way she could think of and was/is willing to hurt anyone in the process. As far as negotiating - I tried for months and there is no negotiating with a person who truely is living in her own world, in her own way and in the end felt that everything belongs to her. Part of this is from the recent past, while I now have learned I was not in a position to change what occurred but since this went to "what ever it is now" the first person to enlighten me was my bank manager who explained things and he went and got the bank records for me back as far as the 1980's to allow me a fair shake at a settlement. She will not negotiate, she denies everything including the draining of huge sums of cash. the paper trail is there but the lawyer has explained that there will not be any negotiation.... not yet anyway.

If you check a bit further back on my posts you will see the police being called into the house (by me as a defensive move) but the second time was sad, police policy to arrest someone even without witness or evidence to the truth..... but getting arrested has actually opened the gates to my finally getting the help I do need. Sadly, but a good thing, is the court restriction of no communication with the ex. So the 13.1 was put together assuming no negotiation. I was told a long time ago my case would head to the courts (I have told the lawyer we are going to put a reasonable offer to her and my intent is not to drag this on. Lawyer did say if done right we could see a settlement at the case conference..... but it doesn't change what I need to do now which is to get it ready and do the best job I can (using statements and accounts to arrive at the fair equalization payment that will need to happen.

Once the ex was was told what was the rules of family law and the equalization payment by the mediator back in May 2011 - well that was the beginning of the end for her. I have had so many people come to help one way or another - I saw a nieghbour who knows us very well on Tuesday for the first time since christmas (she actually had and kept a christmas present she got me by her front door all this time.... they were shocked to learn what or why I was "gone".

Time will tell. The kids do call me and talk to me so that is all I really care about - I just have to make it long enough to get through the court stuff - hence this particular post. I do have one more but I do not know how to type it.....
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddol1 View Post
So the 13.1 was put together assuming no negotiation. I was told a long time ago my case would head to the courts (I have told the lawyer we are going to put a reasonable offer to her and my intent is not to drag this on. Lawyer did say if done right we could see a settlement at the case conference..... but it doesn't change what I need to do now which is to get it ready and do the best job I can (using statements and accounts to arrive at the fair equalization payment that will need to happen.
Be careful on the cost of the "offer to settle". By the time my lawyer finished charging me, I had spent over $5k to put in an offer. I met with my lawyer, e-mailed and had a couple of phone calls to finalize details and correct some of the information in numerous drafts sent to me before it was sent to exs lawyer.

The most frustrating thing about all of this, was exs lawyer was so busy she couldn't meet with him to review my offer, (he eventually changed lawyers), and the offer died on the table. For me, too much money spent for no progress.
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frustratedwithex View Post
Be careful on the cost of the "offer to settle". By the time my lawyer finished charging me, I had spent over $5k to put in an offer. I met with my lawyer, e-mailed and had a couple of phone calls to finalize details and correct some of the information in numerous drafts sent to me before it was sent to exs lawyer.

The most frustrating thing about all of this, was exs lawyer was so busy she couldn't meet with him to review my offer, (he eventually changed lawyers), and the offer died on the table. For me, too much money spent for no progress.
Good info for me as well Frustrated...Thanks...What do you recommend for the wording then ?
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:20 PM
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took me a while to type this - a few other posts and what you write is what i do worry - the ex who doesn't have a lawyer, or a lawyer who has not a clue - so much time ($$$) can be wasted... and when the other side keeps on switching - in a way it is like starting over? again ($$$)


Hi May-May
one thing at the beginning I told the lawyer I had memory issues and trying to keep tabs on a retainer would drive me crazy. I agreed to start off with a 5k retainer which he promised would get me to case conference..... maybe a bit more. But that was a guess on his part and i understand that. Part of what I didn't say yet was I faced them both down and started with "I do not want you to drop me - but you ARE dealing with an unbalanced person who is just holding it together....... square in the eye I told them no excess billing - I need you and I can't run out of money.

He knows how much money I do have (I am honest with him and he has been so with me) He also looked at my file and what is an easy equalization and he said worse off - it will come from there which makes him comfortable at least........ I told him I am willing to sit there 8 hours a day to help them on my file (his assisstant , with a smile said,"please no, I have nowhere to put you!") But still $1500 is gone and that was a surprize. hence the post...... I know I am not the first.

I asked him about the case conference - and that is when he brought up my ex and she has to want to settle. He pegged her 8 months ago, he thinks he is still right - and he understands my health isn't the greatest so our game plan long term is to settle. His next client finally arrived so I stopped there but his assisstant did say that they have ways of dealing with ex's that are unreasonable and how to work costs when that happens...... As long as I remain reasonable.
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