Smyrna, TN asked in Divorce for New York

Q: My divorce lawyer doesn't respond to my emails for weeks, then doesn't voice my concerns in court. What are my options?

My wife left our house with our 18 yr old daughter and filed for divorce. My lawyer is simply conveying messages back to me on what my wife is demanding. My lawyer isn't answering my questions or voicing my concerns/needs. My retainer is being bled dry while I only seem to get more homework. What can I do?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Peter Christopher Lomtevas
Peter Christopher Lomtevas pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Dallas, TX
  • Licensed in New York

A: Court policy places undue pressure on the man to surrender his money and property and future earnings to the woman. Typically, the first to go are the children which the man loses followed immediately by child support. Then come the real and personal property awards. In some courts, for example in Queens, the judges sit table-side and make decisions off the record based on attorney colloquy and compel agreements that seriously impact outcomes.

The asker here lacks the insight into this process and zeroes in on his attorney as all such litigants do. Somehow, not responding to emails causes the asker’s case to come crashing down which is not correct. Then, in the courtroom, the asker complains that his lawyer is not “speaking up” and letting the court know the asker’s concerns. Unfortunately for the asker, he has no idea what moves the court or not. The asker is averse to “homework” which is probably all the writings the lawyer needs to make a written record in the court file. which is how a court proceeding is supposed to take place.

Further, lawyers are compelled by their ethical code to provide settlement offers to their clients. That accounts for the asker’s complaint that the lawyer informs the asker of the wife’s demands.

The asker wants options. One option is to fire the lawyer and utterly lose the case. A similar result will happen if the asker changes lawyers. Perhaps a better option is to come to the realization that the court, by way of state statutes, encourages a “win” for the woman, and that outmaneuvering the statutes is the better approach. That leaves the question of the lawyer’s devotion to the client and to the skill needed to do the outmaneuvering.

Lawrence Allen Weinreich
Lawrence Allen Weinreich
  • Garden City, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Your question is better posted in TN where you reside than in NY where the rules are different. In any event, you should sit down with your attorney and discuss this issue with him and get a full expalination as to his behavior. It that meeting doesn't satisfy you or there is no change in what is going on, you should RUN to another attorneys and discuss your situation and see how they would handle that matter so that you can switch attorneys if that is the only solution.

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