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I can't find a lawyer to take my case - woman with kids post divorce

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  • I can't find a lawyer to take my case - woman with kids post divorce

    I've phoned and written to several lawyers asking them if they can take my case but I can't find one...a few have asked for a retainer of $10000 or more, but most just say they are 'going on holiday'.
    This is a post divorce case; my husband divorced me ex parte and the settlement is really unfair - I'm sure - he only did child support and divorce, but there is no spousal support, no property division, no child's the weirdest situation I've ever heard of and I just didn't think this kind of thing was possible. He didn't disclose any financial information; told the court I didn't want a divorce...and lied about his address and where the children and I were. I was served by substitutional service. Meanwhile I was trying to start proceedings where the kids and I live - but my husband got his divorce before I even served him the papers...I wasted all this money on a retainer for that lawyer, who says because we don't live in the 'obligors' province nothing can be done, and told me to find a lawyer where my husband lives.
    The kids really need support - I have not worked for 20 years - and I do not know what to do.
    He isn't paying the child support he was ordered to.
    I asked the lawyers I spoke to if they could do a one hour consultation, but no one will do this - they all want retainers immediately, and I don't want to retain a lawyer unless I am sure they can help! I have very little money - I will be borrowing to afford a lawyer.
    I'm not sure what to do - whether to try and get the divorce set aside and moved to where the kids and I live, or whether to try and modify it where my husband lives...
    I am really devastated by all this - it's been a horrible shock, and I have been really upset - it's bad enough he had an affair, without the way he's treated us since.
    How can I find a lawyer to take the case?

  • #2
    I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through.

    What province are you in? Have you considered applying for legal aid? How long were you separated before he filed for divorce? Do you have a current address for him? Do you have any past financial information (ie automatic paycheques into your account) that you can use to show his information was false?

    Unfortunately/fortunately I have little experience with the courts. Anyone else have suggestions?


    • #3
      Sounds like what you are wanting to do is an appeal. My divorce is currently being held in appeal until June. What happened is my ex was not happy so he put it into appeal. The 3 judges that we were in front of for this in October felt that it was not in there jurisdiction and therefore moved it to a higher level of court. (out of my town in Toronto) My lawyer who is prominant in TO said that the expense of this is high. His estimate is $50,000. Keep in mind that we are talking the next higher court. It will last just over one hour in court. But my point in saying all this is that it is an expensive process. I dont mean this to be discouraging but want to be realistic. So hence the money the lawyer is asking for as retainer. as for the response that you are getting about holidays,sucks but in reality the first few months of every year are their busiest time, an astonishing amout of divorces are started in January. Just try to be patient and keep looking you will find some one. As asked you have not said where you are. PM me if you prefer and I may be able to give you a name or two.


      • #4
        Hi I am not an expert on this matter by any means, but I suggest you contract FRO the Family Responsibliy office in Ontario for assistance. They are the office that is responsible for deducting child support from his wages on your behalf. If you do not reach a settlement this way, you can seek out Pro Bono lawyers 9 if you are lucky you will find one) email Legal Briefs off of CP 24 and Lorne Honickman may be of some assistance as well as he deals in these types of matters on his show. I hope I have been of some help. My name is Jan. I am a Lay Minister and will certainly pray for you. I too am going through a Divorce. My ex was abusive and doed not wish to pay support either. My problem is that I am disabled and am totally unable to work with an 8 year old at home. Good Luck. Jan


        • #5
          FRO is an option but beware of them. They will only do something under an order and make an art of screwing up. If you do have an order for support they most certainly go after it for you with good results.


          • #6
            Sorry to hear of the problems. Judging by some issues my coworker had with the different locations, if anything does go to court in his area, make sure you attend!

            I don't understand this problem of retaining a lawyer.. you'd think it would be easier! (see my long note, below)

            "a retainer of $10000 or more, but most just say they are 'going on holiday'."

            do you mean $1,000? the lawyers in my area seem to be wanting about $1,500. $10,000 seems like a LOT! wow

            I've had trouble finding a lawyer for a few yrs now (for enforcing a court order.. visitation/custody). It's nuts. When I asked one lawyer who I didn't know but he'd been friends with my parents for yrs, why I'm having trouble finding a lawyer he told me... look, you're coming at me wanting to go to court. I have enough work, don't want to go to court & don't want to take the case so will put you off. The next lawyer on the list, when I called, I asked about this & they agreed. So I suppose this is why I've been having trouble. It's not been good!

            A few weeks back, one lawyer gave me bad advice (which I did not know was bad) & sent me on my way. I have to assume he also did this because he didn't want the case. His advice was so bad that I fax'd him a letter asking why he gave me that advice.. he never replied (I'm not surprised).

            I just (finally) found one who laid out a plan for me, is willing to go to court, if that's what it takes (but offered a few steps first, to avoid court), & will take the case. I'm sooo happy. Except the 4 yrs it's taken me to find one, has not been beneficial for me.

            In the beginning, I didn't know a lawyer would be so busy they'd turn clients away.


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