Independence, MO asked in Civil Litigation, Construction Law, Family Law and Divorce for Missouri

Q: Can I be sued for bad work my ex husband did while married that I had no involvement in?

We are now divorced, but we're married when he did a bad remodeling job. They are now sueing me because we were married at the time. I had no involvement in the job, business, or contract. We have always had separate bank accounts, no joint assets, and I received no money for this work. I knew nothing about it until it went bad. Can they do this? Will I have to pay for an attorney to defend me even though the suit is wrongful?

1 Lawyer Answer

Kevin Webb

Answered
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: It can be frustrating, but it is a common frustration that one can be innocent, yet still must spend money on an attorney to prove that innocence. Fortunately, you are not wrongly accused of a criminal accusation; I know that doesn't make this any less painful, but it is also a clear example of people in similar situations. They must also pay for an attorney when they did nothing wrong.

Now, you have presented a compelling story. But if you want to present it to the judge without the added expense of an attorney, are you well versed enough to present it in a format that will be accepted by the court? For instance, if you have already been sued, then it is very important to consider how long ago you received the complaint. Did you file answers and counterclaims within thirty days? If this is not associate court, which is a level of court where (among other differences) less money is at stake, then you may already be deeply in trouble.

Have they also filed Certificates of Service of Interrogatories, Requests for Production, and/or Requests for Admissions? Have you responded within thirty days? Have you presented your own on important facts? If some, but not all, of these things have already happened, then the attorney you're hiring may have a lot of catching up to do. You may even face the possibility of a summary judgment!

What you describe may be conveyed to the court in something as simple as a "Motion To Dismiss." I'm not saying you should require this of your attorney--I don't know all of the facts. But, if your attorney determines the law and the facts justify filing a motion to dismiss, and she successfully argues that motion, then you may be out of this lawsuit very quickly. That's a lot of ifs.

Your attorney is used to dealing with all of those ifs. And your attorney will be able to equip you to respond to those ifs. Please, reach out to any attorney close to you today.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.