Bellefontaine, OH asked in Legal Malpractice for Ohio

Q: Can a lawyer get away with it?

I just got done with a custody battle with my boys dad. His lawyer and I have to go sign papers at court on friday. She has been texting me trying to get me to sign so we dont have to go Friday. She added things that were not talked about or agreed to, so I will not sign. Now she stating she going to get me for fees and she almost always gets it. Also stating I have to pay her for something she paid for. I did not ask her to, she did not ask me if I wanted her to and she is not my lawyer. There are other statements I have in text also. I feel kind of bullied or like shes blackmailing me into signing something I did not agree to. Can she do that? I did not have a lawyer. I won custody but did not agree to some of things she put in the papers.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Anthony C. Satariano
Anthony C. Satariano

A: In Ohio, it is not uncommon for custody battles to end in this ways: 1) the parties come to an agreement that is read into the record in court, 2) the judge then orders an attorney to write up the agreement matching those terms before a specific date in the future and 3) the court set a hearing date down the road that they will cancel so long as the completed agreement is filed by then.

So, the timeline you are describing sounds correct under the law. It sounds like you are approaching the future hearing date that would be cancelled if the agreement is submitted.

In terms of the things added to the agreement, that would depend on what was added. Orders/Agreements in Ohio that deal with minor children have VERY strict requirements regarding what has to be included. During hearings, parties may agree to the major points (i.e. who gets custody, what visitation is, etc.) but they almost never address every single little point that needs to go into a final order.

So, whether or not the attorney will be able to pursue you for fees depends on the additions. If she has added things that are required by law (i.e. health insurance language for instance) or if you have changed your mind and won't sign what you agreed to in court, then she potentially could try to pursue you. If she has made changes to things you specifically didn't agree to in court (i.e. visitation changes for instance) then she won't be able to complain to the court.

I HIGHLY suggest speaking with an attorney ASAP to go over the specifics of your case given your timeline.

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