No announcement yet.

Sounds like my lawyer is gonna bail on me...

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Sounds like my lawyer is gonna bail on me...

    Initially, in our free phone consult, he said he normally takes $1000 retainer, but would settle for $500, given my financial situation (two babies, no job). I said I could give the $1000 retainer from my savings, and I did. In our first meeting, he said I'd be lucky to get the case settled for $1500-$2000, and if it took more than $3500-$4000, one or both of us were fools. His thought at the time was that my ex's lawyer would advise the ex not to let this case go before a judge, given my ex's history, behaviour, and alcoholism, and felt confident that it would all get settled ASAP. Keep in mind that my ex is a moron, but still, I'm sitting at about a $10,000 bill (I haven't received an actual accounting since we were at the $3300 mark), I have no current court order in place, so the ex gives support when and if he feels like it, and he's currently got impaired driving charges pending (his fourth) and will likely do some time in jail. For the last two monthes, I have not been at all pleased with my lawyer; I cannot reach him, he has not returned my calls but once (during which my child was throwing a full-out tantrum, and I had to apologize and ask if I could call him back ($200 per hour when I can't hear is no good), and he said he'd call me back but didn't), and generally seems to have lost touch with where we're at in the case... I sent him ALL of my financial disclosure info early in October, but early in Nov I find he's not forwarded it, and is asking for documents that he's already received... I've tried on several occassions to contact him, including in early Dec, when my ex was supposedly willing to settle on some issues, but my lawyer didn't deal with the issues in time, and it all fell through; again, my ex is a liar, and likely would have bailed out anyway, but it didn't help that my lawyer's inability to respond in a timely matter became my ex's excuse for not following through. Because my lawyer was not responding and forwarding to the OL at the time, I took it upon myself to do just that, and promptly got chastised by the other parties and my lawyer for doing it.. my lawyer sent me an e-mail, detailing his discussions with the OL about the matter, in which he assured the OL that he'd reprimanded me for attempting to contact the OL, and instructed me to advise him if he was relieved of representing me or not.

    I've contacted/attempted to contact my lawyer several times in the last two monthes, particularily about coming in to the office to make some payment (he only has an assistant; no collegues, no secretary.. so if he or the assitant are not in and available, payment cannot be left with anyone), but have not received any communication back regarding that, or regarding my numerous requests to arrange a meeting to discuss my concerns about the case.

    This morning, I received an e-mail from my lawyer, saying that he's been in contact with the OL, and wants my response to the load of crap that my ex told the OL, but finishes his e-mail with the statement, "You advised before Christmas that you were coming in to recommence payment on your account, but did not. I wish to be paid up to date. Please advise how this will happen".

    I feel that I've been neglected and ignored for weeks now, and I've done a TON of legwork and research trying to keep my lawyer's efforts and expenses to a minimum.. I've even offerred to 'hold' when his other line is ringing, assuming that my clocked time will be adjusted accordingly, but it was not. I've repeatedly reminded him of details again and again, and waited while he dug out my file. Now, I know that he's got other clients and cases to deal with, but I feel that because I haven't been pushing him on a weekly basis for the last two monthes, he's forgotten half of what I've already told him (at $200 per hour, that's a lot!). Why should I keep paying to remind him of the details?! And if he's bailing out on me now, by asking for full payment (and I don't know that he is, by the way), what the hell do I do? Admittedly, I'm not very trusting of anyone these days, but I feel like he's manipulated me into this position of debt, only to stick it to me now, when our case is supposedly better than ever, and is trying to back out on me. He told me monthes ago that as long as I would continue to make efforts to pay him something on a regular basis, he would fight for me, because he believed in me and my situation, and understood how difficult it was for me trying to support myself and two small kids with no income. He's continually pushed that we continue with the fight, discouraged me from pursuing mediation (on the basis that my ex wouldn't follow through anyway, and he's likely correct on that assumption), and told me again and again that I have a good case and any good lawyer would encourage my ex to settle out of court. However, when my ex got a fourth impaired charge in October (in my mind, validating the concerns I stated in my initial affidavit about his alcoholism and my fear he was drinking and driving, etc.), my lawyer's response to me was, "Yes, he was drinking and driving, but do you have proof that he'd do it when the kids are in his care?". I know, he's playing devil's advocate, but my thought is that if I needed that proof, a) my kids could be dead before I get it, and b) if that's the case, why the hell has he claimed we've got a really good case? The guy is (now) an admitted alcoholic with a track record of drinking and driving, driving without a licence, breaking court orders.... How much more does he have to do?

    Is my lawyer now 'jockeying' for position? Now that our case looks really good, he's forcing a payment issue? It's not like I have the money, but cannot be bothered to pay him; I don't have it! What do I do? Can he just bail on me now? If so, should I just represent myself?

  • #2

    I am not sure of your jurisdiction, but most jurisdiction in Canada have legal aid assistance.

    I think you may be eligible. Does not hurt to apply.

    In Ontario, legal aid is available to help you cover the cost of your legal fees and help you retain a lawyer to settle the issues with your ex.


    • #3
      It's pathetic how a lawyer can make you so dependent on them because they know you're future in is their hands. They do what the heck they want/or don't want to do (no return phone calls, continuously adjourn court proceedings, yet charging you for 1/2 the day, sending their assistant for examination for discover(or as I call it- interrogation) yet charging his/her fee and you have to cough up cash file it's water. It's almost like an abusive controlling relationship.

      Sasha I've been there. If your Lawyer pays attention to you or gives you a minute favor you feel like a hungry dog that's just been given a bone. I went through 4 Lawyer b/c they all seemed to be the same, yet the court didn't look at highly on my frequent change of Lawyers. I was fed up with every Lawyer I had. I won't rant on anymore and I'll add a disclaimer stating that"anything said or implied in this thread is in no way , shape or form representative or any particular person of any particular occupation,or gender"
      (I wish I knew how to add a smile to my thread! HA)


      • #4
        You should definitely try legal aid. I was told that my case would be over and done with within 6 months, by my lawyer. I'm now into the 3rd year of litigation and let me tell you using the court system is very expensive.

        If you are not up to date on you lawyers bill, they don't have to represent you. Before getting your file transferred to a new lawyer you will have to have your bill up to date, or they can withhold it, under a solicitors lien.

        Some lawyers are notorious for not returning phone calls. I find communication is best by e-mail. I you don't get an answer back within 2 business days, try resending under "second request", then "third request" and so on. I'd also call the secretary and book an appointment to go in and try and straighten everything out face to face.

        If your ex is determined to fight you every step of the way, this is what will drive up your legal fees, regardless of how settlement orientated your lawyer is.


        • #5
          Hey everyone; thanks for your responses, and apologies for not getting back to this sooner. I had a long ol' chat with the lawyer; often seems like these are conversations of friends getting back on track and sorting out issues; the call probably cost me $500, but he tells me that the only other way is for him to review my file and we'd still have to have a conversation, which would cost me more?! I'm SO stuck! As for the suggestion of legal aid, I contacted them at the very start; they told me that all they'd be able to do was to file the initial paperwork through the provincial court for me, and help me secure child support. They said they wouldn't deal with spousal or with the property issues, so they thought I was correct in contacting a private lawyer. I will contact them again, because this has just gotten so out of hand, and my ex is almost making a mockery of the whole system, at least IMO... maybe now they'll help me given that I SHOULD have a pretty easy case. My lawyer has basically said he was sorry for his e-mail, and wouldn't require full payment now.. he was just upset and angry because he was told by the ex's lawyer that I denied visitation throughout Christmas, etc., and didn't know what was going on.. Anyway, now he's saying that the ex's lawyer has told him that the ex will be gone for a month, and that I need to produce a counter-offer for settlement. Our position has previously been that he needs to do his financial disclosure first, but now the lawyer is saying that it will likely cost more than it's worth. I don't know what the he** to do anymore; I just want to tell them all where to get off and live my life.. every month is a struggle and fight for support, and I never know when or if I'll get the boot from the house, etc.

          Any thoughts?


          • #6
            That's unbelievable if I'm reading your post correctly $10,000 in legal fees and no court orders or financial disclosure?

            I think in your situation I'd get a second opinion from another lawyer. Jeff can do this for you by e-mail or telephone, at a very reasonable rate.


            • #7
              Hi sasha1,

              I don't know the family law. I have talked with lawyers. I have stopped my case with lawyer. Before making myself clear I would not proceed with lawyer. The lawyer is another monster. Your lawyer seems not a good one.

              Now I am trying to collect information through google search. I am clear now that the divorce case have to be through supreme court.

              Calm down first. Write down problems point by point. There is 30 minutes free legal advice and you can talk with different lawyers then make conclusion since every lawyer his different point of view.

              No one can avoid his/her own difficulty, can you try to save marriage? I just got this thought that I should try to save my marriage instead of filing a lawsuit. Life is so short. Everything is impermanent.

              This is from other thread good for reference:


              I have found these materials to be very helpful for me to understand what has happened.

              Keep your Marriage at
              Keep Your Marriage - excellent PDF. Explains what is going on, the emotional aspects and things you can do.

              Love Busters book from Amazon. Excellent book explaining why relationships fail and what to do. Interestingly wife is reluctant to go to counselling and she has began to read the book, I pray that it will do some good for us.

              The Seven Principles for Making Marriage work by John Gottman at Amazon. Another EXCELLENT book explaining the breakdown.

              The above two books alone can help you to save your marriage or at least prepare you to enjoy the next relationshiop without consciously making the same mistakes that would lead to it's eventual breakdown.

              Marriage Fitness at Amazon I believe. Not bad, but really good for couples that are strugging and willing to try. They have a lone ranger track whereby one spouse can do the work on their own ... some pretty good stuff.

              I know this can help you, if not now, definately in your life going forward.



              • #8
                every lawyer has his different point of view.


                • #9
                  Thanks for the suggestions! Yes, Grace, $10,000 and at this point, nothing current in the way of a court order and no financial disclosure. We've had 2 (or 3?) interim interim orders in place, but only for a month at a time, and our last order 'ran out' by the end of October. To be fair to my lawyer, some of the added expense was my doing; I wouldn't agree to an interim interim consent order proposed by the opposing lawyer in that my ex insisted on transporting the kids in his big, bad, muscle truck, in the front seat. He told me flat-out that he bought that particular truck following our separation (with no rear seat) "just to pi$$ you off", because he knew that I felt children that young should always be in a rear seat. So, knowing that he was a reckless driver, and suspecting he was driving drunk as well, AND knowing that he'd put some sort of computer chip into the truck that gave him unnecessary extra horsepower, I wouldn't agree to him transporting them in that truck. I should add that he had two other trucks with back seats at his disposal at that time, but refused to use either one, just because I wanted him to. We went before a judge on that issue, and although she sided with him in judgement, she said she didn't want to (there is no legislation prohibiting him from doing so), but said at least three times throughout the proceedings that she thought he was STUPID for taking unnecessary risks with his kids, and that if he gave a damn about them, he'd change his position. So anyway, aside from that, I've just gone on the lawyer's advice and suggestion. Now the opposing lawyer is saying they want access in the form of a court order, and my lawyer says that my ex is deliberately avoiding the financial disclosure to push my legal fees higher. He also says that for us to push the issue would likely only result in costing me more money for very little benefit; that I already know his income details (which my ex is also saying; makes me wonder what all he's hiding), so why bother with the expense of filing a notice of motion forcing the disclosure. Does that sound reasonable? Knowing my ex, he wouldn't do the disclosure, even after a notice of motion is filed, and my lawyer would indeed have to pursue it in court, so it would be costly, right? I'm very confused, and don't really know from one day to the next if my lawyer is really on my side or not, or if I'm just overly suspicious of everything because of the damage this relationship has done.


                  • #10
                    Sorry for your situation.

                    I feel for you, I am very lucky, the lawyer I have retained is very good, and very understanding. I hope that your situation brightens.... trying to save your marriage is another subject i am gifted at trying but not getting much good results.. I have been very forthcoming and very willing to bend over backwards and it has gotten me.. not much more than grief...Hope your day is brightened up a bit....


                    • #11
                      Oh, and Palden, no way in HE** I'd EVER go back to this jerk! EVER! Although, I wish he'd ask, just so I could have the pleasure of telling him "NO!".


                      • #12
                        I wish....

                        Sasha ,
                        I wish I had more of your tenacity... I do.. how can you hook me up with some of that... it felt great to read what you just wrote....I am having a very tough go of it through this and I need some clarity...
                        press on , .. or walk on as they say..


                        • #13
                          Hey, Aden; we posted at the same time! I didn't know you were there until now. The weird thing is, I keep going back and forth about this lawyer; sometimes I think he's not doing his job for me, then I think about him letting me pay him what I can, when I can and think that he's going above and beyond.. then I wonder if that's not just a way to make money off me (even if it takes a while, he knows my track record is that I pay my bills).. I don't know if I can trust him or not?!! At this point, I don't think I have much choice but to either keep it up with him, or bail out and try to represent myself, but I keep thinking that I'm already $10,000 in debt.. now doesn't seem like the time to stop the fight, KWIM?


                          • #14
                            Aden, it's easy to have that tenacity... you just gotta get screwed over by the same person for a long time, and many times over... In the words of the infamous Roseanne Connor, "Give me no other choice, and I can just be a remarkable woman!"!


                            • #15

                              In my sitauiation I am actually fearful of upsetting my ex... so that she make sthings harder on me.. I am being told that the bankruptcy which she filed this past week was a way of really protecting her interests, I cannot blame her but shes on the warpath as it is... and is pushing me to resolve our separation agreement, her lawyer was talking court etc etc.. but i have given her - ALL the money i have made this past three months weve been separated.. she was even talking about not getting a divorce over a week ago, then Kaboom!! bankruptcy.. and harsh words... and I am sitting waiting for the next issues to pop up, she told me that I can wait until our lawyeers reach an aggreement then I can see the children,, I am surprised at this since she is very right minded and she knows that i miss our kids.... and that our son in particular misses me... Shes been very pressuring and I am looking at makinga big decision as to whether or not I go bankrupt as well....
                              So for me, here I am in limbo- waiting for the creditors to start calling me... or I act and clean this mess up somehow.
                              Shes alos asking for the roof in the amount of 1200.00 /month in support- and I am making just barely 1000.00 at this time... aside form a spotty business I run.. which i need more time to get going...
                              Big time stress....
                              Good luck..


                              Our Divorce Forums
                              Forums dedicated to helping people all across Canada get through the separation and divorce process, with discussions about legal issues, parenting issues, financial issues and more.