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Monday, January 23, 2012

GOING, GOING, GONE: WHEN YOUR ATTORNEY FILES A MOTION TO WITHDRAW!

Here are two scenarios I'd like to address today.  First, one day I was doing my laundry, separating the darks from the whites, tossing out the clothing that was too messed up to wear any more, when all of a sudden I heard the door to my house open and close and out of the corner of my eye I saw this multipage document flying through the air.  I'd just been served by a Motion to Withdraw by my attorney.  You'd hope that the marshall would be polite enough to just knock on the door and hand it to me, but no such luck. 

Another scenario took place with a friend of mine who was represented by an attorney who kept on undercutting her case.  Finally, she told him, "You are fired!"  Still, wouldn't you know it, on her next Court appearance, guess who was standing there negotiating with the opposing attorney in her case.  You guessed it, the attorney she had fired.  "I told you I've fired you and I don't want you speaking for me." she said to her former attorney, but he just ignored her and kept doing what he was doing, presumably charging her for the Court appearance. 

So, what are we to make of this situation.  Can attorney's do this?  Can they just refuse to represent you, particularly when, as in my case, this attorney had filed the motion to withdraw immediately before an important court date?  If you fire an attorney, can they just ignore you and keep on working without your authorization?  The answer is, "Yes, they can!" 

When an attorney agrees to represent your case, he will file an appearance form with the Court.  This is the same form you have to fill out when you decide to represent yourself.  The appearance of an attorney on behalf of a client is regulated according to rules of the Connecticut Practice book Chapter 3. 

Once an attorney has filed an appearance on your behalf, he is obligated to represent you in regard to all legal matters in the Court where he filed an appearance.  If an attorney is  sick and tired of you, and your case, he can't just get rid of you.  He is obligated to request the permission of the Court in order to step down from your case. 

To do so, he will file a Motion to Withdraw Appearance according to Practice Book 3-10, which means that he has to send a copy of that Motion to you by marshall (thus my little surprise when I was sorting my laundry) and include with that motion a notice of when the hearing on the motion will be held. 

The language of the Practice Book 3-10(a) in this regard is as follows:  "No motion for withdrawal of appearance shall be granted unless good cause is shown and until the judicial authority [the judge] is satisfied that reasonable notice has been given to other attorneys of record and that the party represented by the attorney was served with the motion and the notice required by this section or that the attorney has made reasonable efforts to serve such party.  All motions to withdraw appearance shall be set down for argument and when the attorney files such motion he or she shall obtain such argument date from the clerk."  

Supposedly, a "good cause shown" is not money, i.e. that you haven't paid your bill and there are multiple thousands of dollars due,  because lawyers are supposed to be above such things.  In fact, in one of the hearings on the motions to withdraw in my case, the attorney pointed out that I owed him $30,000; nonetheless, the judge made it clear that he felt that such a sum of money was a laughably small amount to owe and hardly the basis for withdrawing for my case.  Of course, I'm amazed by that because $30,000 is a lot of money to me, but who am I to say anything! 

Usually, the reason given for such a motion to withdraw is that there has been a breakdown of the attorney/client relationship.  The first time I received one of these motions to withdraw--and to be honest, I only had two--I consulted with some highly regarded attorneys in the field of matrimonial law and they assured me that no judge would allow an attorney to withdraw from my case, particularly just before trial. 

When they told me that, these outstanding, highly regarded super lawyers, they were simply lying right to my face.  Any attorney who really wants to wiggle out of a case can simply wiggle out of a case and that's all there is to it. 

And, what is more, if your attorney tells you he wants to get out of your case and does not wish to represent you any further, do not oppose him.  Let him go.  Shall I repeat that for you?  Let him go and do not show up for the hearing on the Motion to Withdraw to oppose him. 

Why? 

Because if you show up for the hearing and attempt to prevent your attorney from leaving your case, that attorney will promptly invent reasons to allow him to leave your case.  He will falsely accuse you of doing terrible things, he will slander your character, and he will drag you through the mud.  Trust me.  I have lived this situation. 

What is more, no matter what you say, in a face off between you and your attorney, the Court will believe all the vicious, nasty lies that your attorney tells, even if there is absolutely no evidence for what that attorney is saying, and even if his accusations make absolutely no sense.  If  you try to say something like, there is no evidence to prove what you just said about me.  The attorney will respond with something like, I do have the evidence but it would be breaking attorney-client privilege for me to reveal it.  Oh no, the Court wouldn't want to do that.  Of course, you say, go ahead, break it!  But the Court won't allow it. 

Of course, this kind of behavior, slandering your reputation in a Court hearing when they still are, at least officially, representing you, breaks all sorts of rules of professional ethics.  But, it happens anyway all the time.  Not only did it happen to me, but I have watched it happen many times in Court to other people.  Of course, this is the worst kind of violation of trust imaginable, that this person whom you have trusted, to whom you have confided all the intimate details of your case, should then turn on you and attack you, but sorry, that's life in a high conflict divorce, baby.  So get used to it. 

Now here is the real problem with a situation like this.  Any of the false accusations which your attorney(s) brought to the Court during his Motion to Withdraw acts as fodder for the opposing attorney.  You can be sure that the next Motion the opposing attorney files in the case will include as an attachment a copy of the transcript including your ex attorney's false accusations.  All future motions in the case will include in their summary of the case references to your ex attorney's false accusations, and these accusations will arise during negotiations in your case, and will be passed on to the therapists who work with your family during and subsequent to these proceedings. 

See what power these attorney's have to destroy your life and your reputation permanently?

Do not get in the way of these attorney's when they decide to withdraw--ever, ever, ever.



Of course, I know that you will want to ask me why you would try to keep an attorney on your case who obviously wants to leave and doesn't have any loyalty.  The answer to that is, of course no one wants an attorney under those circumstances.  But most of the time, once you are in this situation, all your money is gone and you don't have enough money for a retainer to hire a new lawyer.  In addition, if you lose an attorney it will literally take up to $10,000 or more to get the new attorney up to speed.  It is a tremendous financial loss on your investment when you lose an attorney and have to hire a new one. 

Now, getting back to the situation where my friend fired her attorney, but the attorney still kept on coming to hearings and representing her despite her requests that he stop doing so.  Can an attorney actually do that?  The answer is, "yes".  Come on--you knew that!  If following through on an action is nasty and disgusting and unjust, you can be sure that an attorney can do it--goes with the territory, right! 

Legally, you cannot fire your attorney unless you replace him with another attorney.  I am not sure where it is in the Practice Book, but that's the way it works, and the way it works is the law, even if it isn't the law, if you see what I'm saying.  Also, you cannot fire your attorney and replace him with yourself unless you have the permission of a judge, and getting a hearing before a judge for that purpose takes at least two or three weeks. 

Until then, guess what!  For all official business, for all hearings, your attorney is obligated to appear, no matter what you said about how he was fired.  Of course, if you have one of these lovely high conflict divorces, when you file a motion to get rid of your lawyer and replace that lawyer with yourself, you can be sure that the opposing attorney will file an objection to that motion.  And although the opposing attorney is unlikely to win since you have a constitutional right to represent yourself, still, it can make you nervous, because granting what other attorney's may have said about you in Court hearings on their Motions to Withdraw, it is possible that the opposing attorney could argue that you are too incompetent to represent yourself. 

In the kangaroo court atmosphere of the Family Courts where it often appears that anything goes and chaos reigns, it could happen!  You can never tell. 

So, my best advice to you is, if you receive that Motion to Withdraw just don't show up for the hearing.  The judge will then grant the Motion to Withdraw by default, the attorney will be happy, your reputation will not be destroyed, and you will be able to move on and find someone else or sign on to represent yourself.  Here is a situation where, without a doubt, no action is the best course of action.

RELATED ARTICLES:

http://divorceinconnecticut.blogspot.com/2012/07/pro-hac-vice-getting-attorney-from-out.html

http://divorceinconnecticut.blogspot.com/2013/01/why-am-i-not-surprised-study-reveals.html

http://divorceinconnecticut.blogspot.com/2013/04/oconnell-flaherty-and-attmore-now.html

http://divorceinconnecticut.blogspot.com/2011/09/multiple-complaints-against-attorney.html

http://divorceinconnecticut.blogspot.com/2011/01/ct-statute-sec-46b-62-formerly-sec-46.html

http://divorceinconnecticut.blogspot.com/2011/10/bad-attorneys-bad-bills.html

http://divorceinconnecticut.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-parties-will-divide-gal-fees.html

60 comments:

  1. Hi Cathy,

    I was served with a motion to terminate from my attorney, to be honest I felt that I, she and her other associates were not on the same page and caused a break down in communication. She used up the retainer and I'm left with a bill under $1,000. I don't care for her to represent me, although her billing coordinator had no problem sending me a bill. She and the others didn't call me regarding my case but sent letters.

    There was an error caused by my ex's attorney and even though she didn't charge me for the work she had to do regarding his error, she didn't care to call. Not to mention when you do call, you get charged up the ass for that and I was already in a hole financially and didn't want to dig myself deeper.

    I received the notice and I wish it was me who filed cause deep inside I really felt like she was too busy with other stuff. Oh, and on one court date the other associate got back from vacation and she didn't know shit!!!

    Do I have the right to get my file from her or will she charge me for that too?

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  2. I believe you have a legal right to obtain your file from an attorney who stops representing you. I do not believe that the attorney can hold onto the file stating you have to pay for it first. You may be presented with a statement to sign when you pick up your file which states that you agree that when you picked the file up it was complete. Be sure that before you sign any such paper that you are sure that the file is, indeed, complete. I don't believe you can be forced to sign such a paper, but they could hassle you if you don't sign it. I would definitely check with an attorney to be sure that what I'm saying is correct. Because, as you know, I am not an attorney. It is pretty saddening when an attorney you have hired, whom you have confided in, pretty much blows off your case and then charges major sums of money for doing so. That is what embitters average citizens regarding the legal profession and makes them vulnerable to the kinds of vicious jokes I publish on this website. I wish you the best of luck in moving forwardin your case.

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  3. Hi Cathy,
    Reading through your legal post and you have some good information here. From my own experience in the State of ME, I would add that all rules are local. Similar to the great post about common law and law of equity ... however my research has shown to me nothing of the sort. In family/divorce court I have never read a court opinion -in any state - where the law of equity was introduced. Equitable and equity are not the same animal. If you are aware of such a case where an opinion was issued, I would love to read it and would ask if you could add the link to that post.
    This is my opinion only (and not 1/2 cocked or smarty) but family law has no rules, laws, or precedent that anyone can reasonable count on when there is money involved. Period. Yes, there are court rules (civ pro) but all morph into the local and unwritten rules. Including attorney conduct and representation. They exist within the legal professional specifically for the legal profession.

    Last, I can only speak for myself from my experience and research ... whatever decision you make going forward (having read your recent post), I would try to familiarize myself with the 1st circuit Federal Court of Appeal Opinions. ALL of them - not just family matters. As I think you are already well aware of how and why that happens ...

    Good Luck!

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    1. The laws that govern the family courts in any state are found in the 1988 Family Act and the 1997 Social Security Act. These are the rules and regulations in which a state must remain in compliance of. There is a 10% error allotment. But primarily, a direct violation of the federal mandates found within these acts will constitute noncompliance by the state department. Be the whistle blower if you detect a violation of compliance. To do so you will have to file your complaint in the federal court. Because the state judges will review the case before trial and dismiss the complaint in order to protect their interests. Because state judges, police and lawyers get paid out of the very same fund "General Fund" and them admitting to violating federal law would decrease that fund. Plain and simple......FEDERAL COURT is where these errors are handled and documented for compliance review reports..

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    2. I am sure there is a way, from what you are saying, of evading the domestic relations exception if you file under those statutes. However, federal court is even more corrupt than the state courts and so you are not gaining much by going to federal court. I've seen absolutely outrageous actions happen in federal court. Plus, when you are self represented they will get you on a motion to dismiss, even though that is most often a violation of the law. Granting all that, the approach seems quite intriguing and I'll definitely look it up!

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  4. I read your post and I wanted to know if there is an email address I can contact you. I am having the same issue with my attorney and it is a legal mal practice he is trying to avoid I will provide my email address if I am able to do. I have never blogged I do not do the internet much especially now since my medical condition prevents me doing much with my body physically which is another reason why my attorney wants to M t W frommy case since he ignored my medical condition with doctors reports and requests that he ignored I landed in the hospital for over 5 days requiring surgery. wont get into it unable to type much from spinal cord injury I have please respond if i am able to atleast leave you my email address.
    Thanks

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  5. Hey, no problem. My email address is:

    Slopercathy@gmail.com

    Be well.

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  6. Wow! Upon receiving an order to show cause that my attny wants to withdraw from my divorce case, I surfed on the web to research what to do next. I came across your blog and then re-read the order; the action was stayed until the 20th, which is the day my case goes before the judge!!! Although, my attny clearly let me know I had used up my retainer and that she can no longer work for free - she states in the order that I went against her advice, made her employment difficult, and owe her a great sum of money, however, she will not disclose the details of what I actually did so as not to adversely affect my case - the fact the judge presiding is saying no until the court finds I have been able to obtain substitute counsel!!! As a matter of fact, I have orders pending for my spouse to pay the rest of my legal fees, as per the summons in our little uncontested divorce. Believe me, I am not divorcing Rockefeller, in fact, he's more like Mr. Magoo!!! Thank you for your straight up blog!!!! from, a new devoted follower!!

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  7. The fact that your attorney accuses you of nonsense to get out of representing you is typical of what so many of us have experienced in family court. It would be interesting if the court orders your ex to pay the rest of your legal fees. I believe that would be a good result and encourage settlement, but many judges will not grant such an order. Nice to have you on board!

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    1. its not just in family court that this happens

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  8. I continue to be amazed at how much interest this particular blog has generated about when attorneys choose to withdraw. This blog is above and beyond any of my blogs in terms of people who look at this blog and comment on it. The second most read blog has to do with the GALs. I wonder what this says about how people experience their representation in family court.

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  9. My.lawyer is filing motion.to.with draw after sending me a bill for.almost 800.00 an I told him I wouldn't pay him..I gave him.1500.00 retainer he.was.supposed to let me.k.ow if.I was.getting close to exceeding it an.never did..just sent.me.a.bill is there anything u think I could do.about it? If so please email me at kowis2010@Gmail.com

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  10. I am not really an attorney, so I am not sure I can add that much. If he was supposed to let you know when you were getting close to exceeding it, did you get a written agreement to that effect? If not, verbal understandings are not very strong. But I do think you should review your bill to see whether the charges were reasonable. I'll bet he or she charged quite a lot simply for filing that motion to withdraw!!!! They do that. I believe that Statewide Grievance has an attorney fee arbitration unit which you could access. Otherwise, maybe a reasonable conversation with this person could resolve the issue.

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  11. Hello,
    I was intrigued when I read this article. I am a Florida Attorney and it is very surprising to hear these horror stories regarding your attorneys withdrawing from the case. It is awful that clients do not want to call their attorneys because they get billed and therefore remain in the dark. As a general practice I do not bill my clients for simple telephone calls under 15 minutes and I always mail or email them a copy of any court documents I receive or I file on their behalf to keep them abreast of the situation. These are basic rules we learn in law school as attorneys. Although I am not a Connecticut Attorney, I know that in Florida which I presume should be the law in most states if not all, the client has a right to a copy of their file. Also, if you want to fire your attorney you are welcome to at any time. Either contract another attorney or just simply mail a letter to your attorney that you are not satisfied with his services and you do not want them to perform any more work on your behalf, then fill out a motion in court stating that you want your attorney to withdraw from the case. At least with the letter stating that you do not want your attorney to represent you anymore you can cover yourself when your attorney tries to bill you later on because you have already put him or her on notice that you do not want their services anymore. You can also sign an agreed motion to withdraw that your attorney signs as well so that the judge can sign it at the hearing and your attorney will no longer represent you. Also, if your attorney states at the hearing that he or she cannot give proof of his allegations against you because of the attorney client privilege, remember that privilege belongs to the client and not to him or her (attorney-client privilege is meant to protect only the client), therefore, you may order the attorney to state his reasons because you are waiving the attorney client privilege regarding that particular matter that he or she is alleging. Always remember if things do not go well with your attorney you should always document what happens with a letter to your attorney so that you do have evidence to defend yourself. Furthermore, you can file a complaint with the State Bar Association for your particular state. This is the entity that licenses attorneys and can take away their licenses if they are breaking the rules of professional conduct. We attorneys are here to represent people and to help them through the legal process. We are supposed to be ethical professionals that do not mislead the court. At least that is what our oath of attorney states. Best of Luck! www.jimenezlawyer.com

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  12. One of the points I think anyone should keep in mind is that family law is different than other areas of law. So while you can hire and fire at will in say criminal court, you cannot in family court. Family court is a whole different kind of arena. I would not follow Attorney Jimenez advice here because while it might work in Florida, it is not legal to do it that way in Connecticut. There are very specific rules here in Connecticut about withdrawing as an attorney from family court and if you do not follow them, you'll get in trouble. Here in CT there are no jointly signed motions to withdraw--none--nada. A client can waive attorney client privilege all he wants, a judge is unlikely to accept that--at least here in CT. If you are interested in more of the nonsense that goes on in terms of Statewide Grievance and how attorneys evade accountability for their misdeeds, read my blog on this at:
    http://divorceinconnecticut.blogspot.com/2012/03/statewide-grievance-does-it-again-more.html

    Yes, attorneys should be honest, but they are not. This blog on dishonest attorneys receives that greatest endorsement among my readers, greater than any other blog. The endursing appeal of this particular blog, head and shoulders beyond any other blog I have written says more clearly and more definitely that its contents ring true with thousands of readers. Attorneys make comments on my blogs making statements like "we are here to represent people" as if just saying them makes the sentiment true. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Among professions, comments about attorneys about their dirty business dealings, their manipulations and lies, their outright violation of their professional ethics and the law, and how attorneys cover up for one another, this is what the average citizen knows, this is what the average citizen comments about to me more frequently than anything else. So ultimately what counts are not aspirational statements, but what real attorneys are doing every day of their week to their own clients, i.e. harming them and robbing them blind in the name of the law. Something desperately needs to be done about this. But I am not holding my breath that it will be done any time soon.

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  13. Hi Cathy,
    I am reading with interest all of the comments here. I am in CA and just received a letter from my attorney (a year has since passed that I last utilized her services). Behind my attorney’s letter was a simple change of address notification from my ex’s counsel stating their office was moving just a few blocks away from the current office. The cover letter from my attorney explaining what this was seemed rather unnecessary to me. She is also asking me to tell her whether or not I want her to withdraw from my case. This is probably the 5th or 6th time she has asked this over the last 2-3 years. I honestly have no clue why she continually asks - is this a typical thing to ask after a court hearing is over - even though you know your client keeps getting taken back? I have always paid my bills on time, so that is not an issue. I need to keep an attorney on hand because I never know when my ex is going to take me back to court again on visitation (sometimes it's months in between, sometime years in between – it’s a very unfortunate hobby). I have already explained this to her. I feel like not even responding to this letter because it would only generate more bills (although it probably would not be a good idea to do this). If I do in fact receive a bill for this latest letter (and I will), is it unreasonable to simply ask why I would have to pay (what will be probably amount to $300) for this? The one time I had a question on a bill with this attorney, I pointed it out extremely politely to the legal assistant. The attorney then fired off a seething letter (and charged me for writing it!) basically making it sound as though I was questioning her ethics and that she would withdraw if I didn’t agree with what she had charged me for. On that occasion, I had been charged for the same document mailed to me twice, just with different cover letters. Am I in the wrong for feeling as though I did not need to be sent this most recent letter/document? Honestly, I am at the point I would go ahead and request her to withdraw, but then I would be billed for her sending that paperwork out as well. :/ It feels as though I am in a Lose-Lose situation. If you have any advice, I would be grateful.

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  14. I believe that it is an ethical matter if the opposing attorney in your case moves nearby your current attorney. So that, I believe, is marginally legitimate. In CT where I live, if there is no action in a case after 180 days the attorney is automatically released from the case and you reengage the attorney with a new retainer and engagement agreement if you then request the attorney to handle another matter. I would inquire of anyone knowledgeable regarding California law as to what is the standard in CT for releasing an attorney from a case. If the attorney sends a letter to you about her reaction to representing you, then it is her business and you should not be charged for it. Discussions over your bill shouldn't incur a charge, routine business letters about whether your attorney will continue to represent you are the cost of doing business and shouldn't be charged to you. There is a website which you can google under "The Devil's Advocate" and variants which has some articles on billing practices which are really helpful. I also think I put a blog up on that topic under the label "attorney's fees". You might want to check that. The bottom line, though ,is if your attorney is acting like an entitled jerk, and you feel uncomfortable, you should get rid of that person. That's my gut reaction. On the other hand, this attorney has the history of the case, the court is used to that attorney, you only have to go back every once in a while, so maybe it makes to put up with the situation. The other option is to be straightforward and ask the attorney to please give you a break. You are the client, and you would be the best person to know how to handle this situation.

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  15. Hi! Back again. Here is the link to the blog I wrote about attorney's fees and it includes the link to the website I mentioned in my comment above. I wish you luck in this situation. It sounds unpleasant.

    http://divorceinconnecticut.blogspot.com/2011/10/bad-attorneys-bad-bills.html

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  16. Cathy, Thank you so much for all of your valuable insight and the link which I will certainly read this evening. And exactly as you described, it is one of those situations where I do only go back every once in awhile, there's years of history already in place already, etc. vs. do I start all over again. My gut reaction does want to move on, however, my wallet.. is another story. I just don't understand the part about always being asked if I want to withdraw. Thanks again so very much! :)

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  17. Hey, no problem. If you want to hold onto these people, I would send them a letter saying that unless you send them a letter stating otherwise, you want them to remain on your case, and please stop sending the letters. Never hurts!

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  18. I really like your article. It's evident that you have a lot knowledge about divorce attorney.

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  19. I have read all of these posts.. and I am petrified.. my divorce attorney fired me this morning!!! I cant breathe.. I felt after she had moved into her own office and was being very vague about my case.. that I was losing her.. I drove over 400 miles to a court date and appt with my attorney.. and a sixth sense told me to call that morning before I left.. I got her legal secretary, who I normally speak with anyway, and specifically asked if anything had changed with my appt and the court date... and she informed that no.. everything is ON !! wooo hooo.. emergency spousal support hearing!! finally after 10 months of no maintenance!! I get there, get a room (gas and room were borrowed money I am on disability due to a stroke when I was a cop)... so I am getting ready for the court the following morning and I get a phone call from the legal aide... She says "oh did you get the letter I sent you 3 days ago in regards to your court hearing TOMORROW ??? WHAT??? I told her I was sitting in a hotel room in town waiting for my time in the morning.. and told her I called her not 5 hours ago and asked about this.. she just blew me off and had nothing to say.. "oh well you should get the letter today or tomorrow"... I was in another state!! and I got billed alright!! it went down hill from there.. and all I have been requesting this whole time was a hearing for emergency spousal support! I make $800 a month on disability and he lives in our brand new brick home and makes over a 100 grand a year.. nope.. I just kept getting more bills from this attorney!! I am completely in the dark and now she fired me!! I am praying that the new attorney that I am meeting with next week will take some payments.. I sold my wedding ring to pay for the first attorney.. !! Everything I own in the house in another state.. and yes I signed papers when I moved out.. but his attorney never filed them for spousal support.. so he stopped paying my vehicle insurance and never paid an ounce of alimony!! I cant even buy toilet paper..! So now my old attorney will make a court hearing to drop my case???? why couldnt she make a hearing for emergency spousal support?? When I asked her in my last letter she stated that I more than anyone she knew, did deserve the support and would probably be given it.. I am so confused!!! that should be unethical practice to do to someone!!

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  20. Attorneys do this kind of thing to people all the time. That is why this particular blog speaks to so many people. The profession is left to regulate itself and does so very badly.

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  21. First of all, the attorney works for you. At the time I hired my attorney, I had him sign an acknowledgement that he did not have settlement authority on any matters without my express written permission. This meant that my attorney could not agree to anything without my knowing about it and agreeing to it. If he did, depending on the circumstances, this could raise an issue of legal malpractice and also form the basis of a complaint to the bar for attorney discipline. This agreement/ acknowledgement was signed BEFORE I handed over any money. In my case, I have a very strong grasp of legal issues as I have been a paralegal for 15+ years. I wanted some control over the issues and wanted to prevent any side deals made with opposing counsel, which happens a lot more than people realize. I'm sure there were times that I drove the attorney a little crazy, but I was paying for it and I was reasonable most of the time. When he made a suggestion to opposing counsel without my knowledge or consent regarding my daughter (who's father had not seen her in three years) in a custody action (oh yes, he tried twice to obtain custody in a four year period despite not seeing her) I fired him and filed my own motion with the court for his withdrawal and requested a continuance to find new counsel. Remember, YOU are the client and if you act rationally and can separate the emotionalism of going through a divorce, you will get a much better result. Your attorney is not your friend, your therapist or your protector. So, don't become a victim of the legal system.

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  22. The agreement that I had with my attorney up front said that he had no settlement authority. But that doesn't mean anything if the attorney goes ahead and acts like he has settlement authority anyway. Sure, you can go to Statewide Grievance, as I did, and I can assure you I had solid evidence when it came to my complaint, but Statewide won't do anything about it. There have been multiple complaints about this attorney and they simply get dismissed. My agreement also stated that the attorney would not invest any of my financial resources without advanced permission, then when he withdrew from my case he charged $25,000 in one month. Since you are a paralegal and probably well known within the legal community, you had some pull. But for most people when they choose to represent themselves, the court will not find them credible. It has taken me six years to get a full grasp of court procedure, and I am still learning more information. With 15 years in the field as a paralegal, I am sure you are right on top of what happens in a court hearing and so you can intervene immediately if something heads in the wrong direction. The vast majority of litigants do not have that information and they are babes in the woods when it comes to what is going on in court. Attorneys run circles around most of us with their inside information and relationships. I don't think your experience is standard for most litigants that end up in court. Plus, I will say, we don't get overly emotional until we see the court taking our life savings and our children from us leaving us broken and in despair. No amount of signed agreements in a contract with an attorney, and I will say it again, signed agreements with an attorney, and I will say it again--are you listening????--no agreement with an attorney is worth the paper it is written on. Attorneys can get out of those agreements at will and get away with it. Don't be lulled into a false sense of safety thinking you've got an agreement and so you are good, because you are not. Unless you are the person above who has insight ties with important people in the legal community.

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  23. I had a little typo there so I will repeat what I said--Unless you are a person with inside ties to important people in the legal community you will be mincemeat for any attorney in family court agreement or no agreement!

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  24. I am in Illinois and I must say although I am sad to read these posts I am relieved that there are others that can relate. We have a hearing set to determine parenting time and our lawyer sent us a motion to withdrawal set for the same date and time! When we met with him initially he gave us a great used car salesman pitch and was fantastic the first week. Then stopped returning calls and telling us when court cases where postponed so we sat in court taking time off work for nothing. Initially he would sent all correspondence from the GAL and other lawyer within a day or two then a couple weeks now there are some that his office took three weeks to forward giving us little time to respond. The documents contained very serious unfounded and untrue accusations from his ex-wife's lawyer. We started calling the office and emailing as for a month we got not call or response to our emails. Now get ready for this, we finally get a letter in the mail from him exciting right, wrong it was a bill (the first bill ever received) with a letter that said make payment within 10 days or we will be forced to file a motion to withdrawal. There was No itemized bill just an amount due. I sent an email requesting an itemized bill as I do not understand how my retainer can possibly be used up by an attorney that doesn't even return a call or email. (Of course I did not tell him that is why I was requesting the bill) I did however put in the email request that I am sure as an attorney you would not pay a bill that was not itemized. Days later received the request to withdraw again set for the same day time and courtroom as the motion to hear the petition to hear the motion (to determine custody and parenting time) keeping in mind that date and time my husbands ex-wife, attorney, and Gal will be in the courtroom to hear his request. Its not bad enough that they received a copy of his request to withdraw. I will say I have found out that the GAL our lawyer requested is currently representing his brother in a custody case and the GAL is great friends and fishing buddy's with the opposing lawyer. Best part is the GAL did not visit our home but did visit her home. Now sit down as I swear this part is true ( I would put my hand on the bible) he did not interview the kids. In fact the youngest came over and told us the GAL (I won't use his name) came over today. We stayed downstairs and they met in the bedroom so we could not hear what they were talking about. We are so frustrated and can not afford another lawyer as I am unable to work since my cancer so my husband will have to represent himself. They all no he is very intimidated by the courtroom and gets flustered easy. I wish I had time to get my law degree as I would rip these lawyers apart in court with the evidence. I will be spending a lot of time in the law library of the court house. I would love to hear any advise. Thanks

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    1. That's just amazing! Not surprising, however. And the used salesman's pitch is typical! If you are in Madison County, Illinois, be aware that Madison County is the 5th most corrupt county in the United States of American. Under those circumstances, I can't imagine Cook County is that far behind. Illinois is a national judicial disgrace! Annyywwaay, I would definitely file a motion in regard to conflicts of interest because that is a matter of professional ethics and also include in the motion the observation that he did not itemize his bill. You don't want to go any further and imply you might pay it, because I'd be hesitant to and there are numerous ways to avoid paying a bad attorney's bill. But I am not an attorney and so I cannot give legal advice. Going to a law library and looking up the subject sounds good, and you might connect with more cases and ask other people what their experience has been.

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    2. Ok I received a motion to withdraw. My divorce is very interesting. My husband is trying to hide jobs a lot of abuse on me and my kids. I stressed this with physical proof to my attorney when hiring her. I really expressed that I wanted a uncontested divorce. We'll it looked as if I would get it. $3000 I paid her. She told me she would file like clockwork a default motion and a hearing. She didn't. A month I tried contacting her nothing. Finally she calls to say I'm filling a default. I attended now I'm waiting on a hearing date. She gives me a date. The day before the hearing she calls to say the complaint was written wrong. We had to start over. I'm pissed. We start over. I guess you know my luck. She gave him time to find an attorney pro bono. Someone calls her they didn't file anything with the courts. She gives this caller a whole month. After I goes off on my attorney she files a default. Then my husbands attorney files with the answer. I went to the bar assoc. I couldn't understand how an attorney could be so incompetent. A complaint is the brains of her job. She could have found the mistake befor 4 months in. She waited for the courts to tell her. So then I get a bill for her mistakes. 2 complaints at $250. $75 phone calls to someone who was not filed with the courts as being my husbands attorney. 2 default motions $150. All of this is a piece. Needless to say after I went to the bar I had to file a complaint.she filed a motion to withdraw. I have given her $3000. I didn't go to the hearing. But today I get a letter saying the motion was granted. I have 15 days to hire an attorney. I can't. She took all my money. She has some nerve.

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    3. This is the kind of nonsense attorneys get up to all the time. I seriously seriously don't see how an attorney could make these mistakes. Definitely go online and find out whatever information you can find on do it yourself CT divorces, go to the Court Service Center and look at the information they have available there. If your divorce is fairly straightforward, you should be able to get it done by yourself. Why not go with whatever you ex is willing to pay re support. Otherwise, if you are going to demand what you deserve, you will start edging into the area of an adversarial divorce, which, if you read my blog, you can tell is one heck of a pain in the ass.

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  25. That's just it he wants to pay nothing. My attorney was a piece of crap. If all you do is family law. You've been doing this 30 years. How do you not know how to write a complaint. Then she calls me and I quote says there was some legal jumbo jumbo missing in the complaint we have to start over. I'm like are you serious. She acted as if it was the courts fault. But she had 4 months to find her mistakes. She waited until trial time to say this. I'm finding out now the 2nd complaint was wrong. And she had the nerve to send me a bill for everything. I'm still at the filling stage basically. I filled in March. My husband is arguing he's disabled he can't pay child support. I have proof he works. The records was subpoenaed . Now he is contesting stupid things that want fly. But I have to pay an attorney he don't. I don't know what will happen if I don't have an attorney within 15 days. The legal system is some crap.

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    1. Ok, well definitely can't be to helpful if you are in TN because I am more familiar with CT law. However, you are right in all you are saying--absolutely. Yes, the law is crap because the court just doesn't care to uphold the law and neither do attorneys. Still, do you what you can to educate yourself about how the system works because the more you know the better!

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    2. I am in Nashville TN as well and I think we may have hired the dame attorney lol...They are all snakes out here!!! ESP in Sumner County... I had to hold a fundrasier to come up with the funds to fight for my children that were parentally kidnapped from me by thier father in FL and brought to TN. I never knew I didn't have custody of my kids till months after the judge in TN changed our entire FL court order again without me having any knowledge. I finally got the retainer from 2 months of holding an online fundraiser and my attonrey got a one hour hearing to be heard within 2 weeks with only me on the stand (thats's right not my ex husband, witnesses, my children who are 12 and 14...NOBODY...JUST ME) and the judge postponed everything pending a final trial (Judge was tired and ready to go home for the day). After that hearing I called and emailed the attorney to find out what was going on and when the next hearing will be etc. and I get one email stating that his case load is way to big (Only been a little over a month since he took my retainer and gave me that great saleman speech after seeing me sob in his office about the years of pain I have been through) and for me to find a new attorney and he will just sit back and wait until I can find one. My attorney knew that it took me months to raise the funds with a fundraiser and that my children were being abused and neglected not to mention my daughter was hurting herself with a previous suicide attempt due to missing me and none of this was mentioned in the first hearing as I guess my attorney didn't think it was important and I told him several times in that hearing to mention what was occuring and why I needed emergency temporary custody but th attorney never mentioned any of this so the judge was not aware in our one hour hearing...My attorney hurt me more than help me and it has been 2 months since I received his email and he finally jut put in a motion to withdraw a week ago and no hearing has been set nor has a judge answered it so I am stuck in limbo without any answers on what this paperwork means or what I am supposed to do and a couter petition was filed by my ex husbands attorney which needs to be responded to in 5 days or the entire case will be dismissed and my ex will be granted everything in his petition. As if I havn't been through enough.... I now have media involved and no attorney. I don't know how these attorneys even sleep at night. My children were taken to this state and my ex defrauded the court system to get a favorable custody outcome since he didn't like the one in the home state of Florida already in place and everyone in this state turns a blind eye and praises my ex husband while my children and I have been through hell and back ten times over. My little girls have seen how crooked our justice system is and whoever has the money for the best attorney wins. It's very sad!!!

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  27. I have heard about this before, this business of state hopping in order to get the kind of favorable outcome a parent wants! Everyone needs to read the above comment and be warned!

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    1. Catherine, u rock!!! After reading this blog and all other comments, our legal system is a mess. Thank u soo much and keep empowering us.

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  28. We'll I wanna say my heart weeps for you. No one knows this feeling unless they are going threw it. 1st I want to say if I only had 5 days to respond. Respond. I know your not an attorney. Me neither. It amazes me if I rob a bank I can't afford council the judge appoints me one. If I get hit by a tractor trailer Bart Durham is by my hospital bed not asking for a dime because he knows he will get paid. But this you get no help. I'm going to tell you what I've heard. There's a place called CASA. They represent children rights. They act as children attorneys. Call juvenile. My husband tried to file here with juvenile but couldn't only because we were still legally married. Me personally before I found anyway or any help. I would type a letter file it with the courts. It will be put in your file so I'm told. I really am starting to have no faith in the legal system but the clerks office told me if I wrote a letter it would be placed in my file. I have never appeared in front of a judge for my case. I am holding on to the hopes of if I do he would not allow this. Also if you or your kids were ever abused go to domestic violence counseling with the police department. They may be able to help. There's a place called victims funds. We're you can get financial help for lost money because you are a victim. Legal aid hahaha! And I laugh because ok I'm trying to be positive right now., your in a different county I think sumner county may have a different legal aid. They help you for this in certain situations. I called the courts I actually spoke to someone in the judges chambers not the clerk. She gave me 3 attorneys. 1 I spoke to and if I ever had to sale everything I own and hire another 1 it would be him. His name is attorney Brian Jenkins. I tell you he's expensive he want reduce his fees but he was honest and I hear and from the sounds of it he's good. Tn justice answer questions for people like us. I actually was being responded to by an attorney in Hendersonville. Her rates are fairly decent she seem to be ok. I'll find her name. But the most important thing is to file something within 5 days. I am holding on to the thought of my case is this way because my judge have never heard anything. Now my case is interesting. I've known my husband since I was small. My 1st boyfriend we lost touch came in touch years later when he was incarcerated. Attempted criminal homicide the man was paralyzed. He said he didn't do it I believed him. I wrote letters got him out. We'll within 1 year a lot of him cheating. Staying gone for days coming back like nothing's wrong a lot of verbal and emotional abuse. After my 1st son that's when he started hitting me. 1day I found out after his mother called with someone on the phone. He robbed someone for a lot of drugs and it was in my freezer. About 2-3 years in the beatings were bad I wanted to get away but was scared. He begged to see our son I finally gave in and he raped me. Now pregnant from this 6 months in this was the worst. He tied me up with duct tape and a cable chord. Choked me until I passed out twice I jumped out a window he was arrested. I'm still scared because if I tell he's going to get me. He then beat me so bad with a glade scent stories in front of my kids. I finally got him away I thought. I told myself I didn't have the

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  29. Money to divorce him he had been beating the kids. I started pacifying him. Taking things day by day. I have 5 kids ages 19,16,12,10 and 9. He would get them and hit my son in his chest. Leave them at good time houses and cook crack around them. My kids and I started counseling. They actually told everything. DCS is involved. No word of them talking to him. I've given my attorney all I had. She screwed me. I've been to legal aid I don't know how many times for them not to help me. He gets a pro bono attorney. I'm telling you when I say I can't believe this I can't. A convicted fellow 2 attempted murder Convictions numerous drug convictions incarcerated half his life beats on his kids and wife beats his kids cooks crack cocaine and have them in the car salting drugs. Have them with him and there shot at. Never helped financially while we were together or apart. Gets food stamps work and social security. Gets a pro bono attorney who have a non profit organization to help inner city youth who don't have positive role models and no father figures in their life make something out of themselves helps him pro bono. I take care of the kids have been raped beaten my kids have been threw so much. And to top it all off. I've been sued 3 times because they can't get anything from him. A car he refused to give me back he said it was stolen it couldn't be it was blowed up. 2 lawsuits from him I had to file bankruptcy and then wait for this one 5 months ago he have twins and I'm sued to pay child support why because wre legally married they can't get anything from him. Now this is some carp. I got life insurance and I'm just waiting on him to come because he's coming and our legal system does nothing until someone gets hurt.

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  30. Im sorry ism sorry the attorney's name is brad Jenkins. Also Board of professional responsibility is who you go to to file a complaint on an attorney. Their part of the nashville bar assoc. I know that your not an attorney. I'm not either. But me personally I am not going to count my blessings praying nothing happens. If his attorney files something or I get something stating I have only so many days to respond right away it might not be the right thing legally I write a letter to the courts. Defending myself. At least I know I did all I could and I just didn't sit here doing nothing. I have to haha! Seriously try to keep faith that someone as high up as a judge would not allow kids to be put in harms way it's unethical. If he doesn't know he doesn't know that's different. At least type a letter of the situation and make a copy of the order from the previous situation in Florida. With no money that's all you can do. I'll pray for you. I don't go to church much but I believe in god and I pray alot

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  31. This is just a terribly difficult situation and you are showing so much courage to keep on going. I think it is amazing they don't provide you with a proper attorney.

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  32. Yes it is. I've learned why people are scared to get out of situations
    Ike this. Why you see women and children killed. The system waits on the bad to happen. Then it's such a tragedy that a man like this the government feeds. I have 5 children they want give me nothing to feed them. I ask for help I call and beg legal aid I call attorneys and beg for pro bono or even reduced fees nothing. You have people in the community that stands for helping children who are in bad situations poverty no positive role models or father figures help this stupidity and I sit here and wonder how. This is why the kids are in bad situations because you have to many people having children and not being parents. We are in such a bad situation. Dcs is involved enough to make him mad but not doing anything to protect them. We are legally married he have the right to just take them away whenever he gets ready and my kids are scared. It saddens me that for 7 years I've tried to get away asking for help to be turned down. I still try today although it seems I'll always be married going threw this crap.

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  33. I wish I could disagree with anything you are saying, but I am not. Too often the State and DCF support the offenders and give the abuser all the assistance while the person who is truly responsible and truly love the children ends up under attack. It is a truly messed up situation for all of us.

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  34. Hello, Im In New Haven CT. One day last week i received a notice from the court house about a motion for orders. Im going on a year in my divorce process and as many of you know you get lots of paperwork from the courts so I put it aside and opened it over the weekend. I did not understand what orders it was refrence as there were no details so I checked out the judicial site for my case and after a bit of research it is my attorney filing to withdraw from my case. Now a bit of backgroud. We had a an issue at my last court date in Sept. by the dates on the jud site it looks like he filed this the very next day. I was never notfied via state marshal or even from my attorney. I only rcvd the court date notice last week. My husbands atttorney obisouly knows what is going on from the Jud site and file for an uncontested trial on 10/31. I am with out an attorney and have no clue what to do. any suggestions. I understand why I should not show up to contest his withdrawal(thanks to this posting, thxs so much!) on Thursday, but what do I do about my divorce on 10/31. Will this impact the agreement that was worked out prior for me and my husband and does anyone have advice on how to obtain my "file" from my attorney if by some miracle I find new counsel in the next week? Are there any pro bono divorce attorneys in CT? Any help would be great, thanks for having a wonderful blog that speaks to this dirty matter of divorce.

    akmh@outlook.com

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    1. You would have to look for legal advice here and I am not an attorney. However, I would file for an extension of time so that you can obtain new counsel. Further, there are very specific documents that must be submitted prior to any trial proceedings usually called "compliances" (check Standing Orders on the judicial website), and if those haven't been submitted that's an additional reason for an extension of time. I'll bet they weren't filed 10 to 1!

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    2. Tough break, but not the end of the world! You have a legal right to your entire legal file and should just call your attorney and request it. I believe I have a whole blog on getting your file somewhere!

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    3. Thank you so much for this information. Im going to look on the blog now for the legal file info. Do you think its strange that I received an email from his legal aid confirming court on 10/31 after 2 weeks of silence this morning.?

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    4. They are covering their butts! Withdrawing to close to the trial date is a real violation of professional ethics and I am sure they know it. And if they have not filed the required trial compliances, this would be even worse.

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  35. I live in Florida, but this is so interesting to read. My attorney was great the first week or 2, but then turned into a rude bi**h. She wanted things done HER way and didn't care about me, my case, or the fact that there were children involved. She had that whole "i'm an attorney, so you should kiss my ass" attitude. She didn't like it very much when I finally stood up for myself and gave her a piece of my mind

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  36. I want my attorney to withdraw from my case. I can't hire a new attorney to fire her and I'm dealing with a corrupt judge so I'm pretty sure I wont be approved to represent myself. the last court date I had she lied to me telling me it was cancelled but I still went to make sure and there was still a hearing. the judge wouldn't listen to a thing I said and refused to give me a continuation. and my exs attorney said that my attorney signed a agreement to give my ex temporary custody of our daughter, so she signed over custody of my daughter without approval from me, right now I'm reporting her and I hope she'll withdraw from my case after I do that.

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    1. I am not sure how she can sign over custody unless she has a GAL relationship with you. Only if she is your GAL can she sign a legally binding document on your behalf. Send me an email at: Slopercathy@gmail.com and we can talk about this more!

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  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Although I think this is an advertisement, I would agree with the comment. Also, it doesn't have to be a matter of experience. A so called lower priced attorney can pad and run up fees well beyond that of a higher priced attorney, which is a somewhat dishonest practice. So don't be deterred by an attorney who has higher fees per hour. In the end, that attorney's fees could be lower than the other one who appears to be charging less. Appearances can sometimes be deceiving.

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  38. I believe in the personalized practice of law. My success is based on the relationships developed with my clients. The foundation of my relationships is open communication with my clients throughout each step of the legal process.



    <a href="NJ Attorney

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  39. IS A TESTIMONY, I NEVER BELIEVED IN LOVE SPELLS UNTIL I MET THIS SPELL CASTER CALLED DR UNITY. HE IS REALLY POWERFUL AND COULD HELP CAST SPELLS TO BRING BACK ONE'S GONE,LOST,MISBEHAVING LOVER AND MAGIC MONEY SPELL OR SPELL FOR A GOOD JOB.I'M NOW HAPPY & A LIVING TESTIMONY COS THE WOMAN I HAD WANTED TO MARRY LEFT ME 3 WEEKS BEFORE OUR WEDDING AND MY LIFE WAS UPSIDE DOWN COS OUR RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN ON FOR 3YEARS... I REALLY LOVED HER, BUT HER MOTHER WAS AGAINST US AND I HAD NO GOOD PAYING JOB. SO WHEN I MET THIS SPELL CASTER, I TOLD HIM WHAT HAPPENED AND EXPLAINED THE SITUATION OF THINGS TO HIM..AT FIRST I WAS UNDECIDED,SKEPTICAL AND DOUBTFUL, BUT I JUST GAVE IT A TRY. AND IN 48HOURS WHEN I WAS IN MY HOUSE IN USA,SHE CALLED ME BY HERSELF AND CAME TO ME, APOLOGIZING THAT EVERYTHING HAD BEEN SETTLED WITH HER MOM AND FAMILY AND SHE GOT A NEW JOB INTERVIEW SO WE SHOULD GET MARRIED..I DIDN'T BELIEVE IT COS THE SPELL CASTER ONLY ASKED FOR MY NAME AND MY GIRLFRIENDS NAME AND ALL I WANTED HIM TO DO... WELL WE ARE HAPPILY MARRIED NOW AND WE ARE EXPECTING OUR LITTLE KID,AND MY WIFE ALSO GOT THE NEW JOB AND OUR LIVES BECAME MUCH BETTER. IN CASE ANYONE NEEDS THE SPELL CASTER FOR SOME HELP, HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS;unitylovetemple@gmail.com THANKS DR UNITY FOR YOUR GOOD WORK. ONCE AGAIN HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS unitylovetemple@gmail.com

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  40. Oh dear lord. I just got a withdrawal letter from my attorney after he told me he would do it, pd $2,000 estate issue. This attorney told me himself without a will mom gets one third of estate, children get 2/3 of the estate to split four ways. Attorney and his assistant called me in friday and you would have thought I was a criminal they were mean to me. So I left after almost two hours of that. So today he is sending this because he will not do the job per Tennessee law. What on earth should I do now?

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  41. Catherine is dead-on right about the lawyer-wins-every-time in the cases of Appearances (and so-called attorney-client retainer Agreements...which, btw, is a Legal Contract and by definition are, or at least should be, covered under contract law in a addition to the Rules of Professional Conduct as well as the CT Practice Book).
    That said, I do not believe it's true that You (as a Party Litigant) require the "permission of the Court" to File Your Own Appearance (while simultaneously firing your present attorney, or which de facto does so, for the sheer all-important procedural and substantive Due Process of receiving any and all required Court Notices). There is in fact (or at least was when I was a pro se, whether interim or not, a line that allows you to File Your Constitutionally Protected Right to make a pro se Appearance to represent yourself - it's the "in-lieu of" presently Appeared Attorney box, as opposed to "in addition to" box.
    Point being also the 'clerks office' manipulations of these Appearances under which purposely-faulty Timely Notices are received by a Party, are of legitimate issue as well...and pro-se's need to protect themselves at all times by getting clerk-side Time Stamps on EVERYTHING filed....Legal (and timely) Notice is as critical as Jurisdictional (standing) issues in every Court of Law.

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    1. Ha ha ha ha--what did you say, "constitutionally protected right"??? Are you kidding me? Seriously? Are you kidding me? You think the judge in family court gives a hoot about your constitutionally protected rights. Ok, let me wipe the tears from my eyes. I'm seriously going to pee in my pants if folks like you keep it up with the constitutional arguments. Ok. This is how you as judge get around that argument. You do have the constitutional right to represent yourself, but that applies only if you are mentally competent to do so or show evidence that you have the capacity to do an adequate job. If you are so deranged as to not get along with your excellent attorney and do what he says, how can you be expected to represent yourself. It is a serious issue here. Attorneys are wonderful, highly ethical, perfectly reasonable human beings and you, you ridiculous litigant, had the audacity to not get along with that wonderful attorney. Worse quite possibly you showed the extremely poor judgment of not paying him or her. Seriously, what more could be expected of you? The next thing you know, for all the judge knows, you'll be out there robbing banks or stripping naked and accosting passersby on the streets. Yes, of course, it may violate your constitutional rights, but four years from now when it finally gets considered on appeal, you will have lost your case, your family, your home, your job, long ago, and the clerks in the appellate office will probably lose your case file as well, so you basically have no recourse.

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    2. Totally agree, and make no argument with you on all your points there - I am, in fact, one of those very same victims of which you accurately portray having had the 'audacity' to have gone pro se at varying stages in the process, and at alternate times, chosen either to let a withdrawal motion go through, argued it (unsuccessfully, but good for practice nonetheless) and 'fired' some too. My only point, particularly to the newly slammed and first timer initiate when presented with such a Motion - the many caught-off-guard posters above - that the first order of business is to File one's own Appearance immediately lest one gets further slammed by opposing counsel (who absolutely adores such Withdrawal Motions) and JDNO's (Notices) don't at least get to you in order to at least attempt to file any necessary Continuances in one's matter. As for the tears I brought you via the who-are-you-kidding Substantive and Procedural Due Process pleas in this essentially lawless forum, I share in them too. Only, I hate to admit it, mine are no longer tears of even cynical laughter but of despair. My question is thus - primarily to the Legislature - why then bother writing any Domestic Law State Statutes to begin with when the Family Court ignores, and will continue to ignore, them in the first place??

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    3. I am not a big one for changing the statutes, for this very reason. The automatic orders, for instance, are a complete joke. The judges and attorneys couldn't care less about them. What needs to be done is corrections right within the system itself. For instance, the current judicial evaluations do not include feedback from self represented parties who are about 80% of the litigants currently in family court. I would definitely change that. I have other ideas, but that is just one which I think would make a difference, particularly if good evaluations were considered central to judicial reappointments and the judiciary committee recognized their responsibility to stop rubber stamping judicial reappointments. But as you can see, there are still problems that would arise and we are all aware of them.

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    4. Definitely, audio recordings are the property of the public and litigants in family court should be handed copies of the DVDs of their court hearings on the way out the door. This would immediately eliminate the rampant judicial verbal abuse of self represented and other litigants. It would also eliminate the problem of transcripts whose contents have been tampered with which we have all had trouble with. I also think it should be automatically allowed that litigants can make their own audio recordings for note taking purposes just in case the court monitors choose to tamper with the DVDs. Safeguards of this kind will begin to have a beneficial and healthy impact on court proceedings if we can get them implemented and that is a big if. I have many more thoughts on this subject.

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