Question #129:My husband filed for divorce after 21 yrs. of marriage after meeting someone a month before. We live in NY. At this time my 3 boys were 21, 18,16. I never worked.There were 4 properties to be divided, laundromats, contracting businesses, my x hadn’t filed taxes since 96, and much more. My lawyer was horrible. I wrote her letters numerous times. I had consults with other lawyers to see if they would take over my case. They wanted a lot of money because of the mess and I didn’t have the money to give them. I had no cash. On the day of the inquest, we were in the halls of the courts trying to split properties based on a “draft” settelement. My lawyer never went over it with me or discused with me my life style and that of my boys or the cost of living for me and my boys. My boys were the biggest concern to me and she repeatedly told me the two oldest are not my problem. It was very unprofesssional. To make a long and complicated story short, I went befor a judge for an inquest – I did not know what this was. I was tired and disgusted. Never thinking or knowing this was my final contract. My x was in contempt for all other pende- lite motions – never returned furniture, didn’t have art work appraised that he stole out of the house (over $100,000), didn’t give me maintenance and child support for two months, didn’t do repairs on the home, etc. My lawyer did nothing even though I was angry – she told me to stop worrying about the little things. and since all the court orders that were ordered in the previous months were ignored I thought initialing the papers was just temporary – my divorce settlement is only 7 pages, a lot of cross outs – a disgrace. Medical was never mentioned but in the papers sent to the judge to be filed my sweetheart of a lawyer added that I would be fully responsible for medical for myself and my youngest son. Regarding my youngest son’s education – she wrote that we would go to court if we could not agree. Since we don’t speak – we didn’t agree. I could not afford it, I can not get loans. My father helped out the first semester. The judge did not sign the papers until last month so now I can go to court and have the judge decide who has to pay. My x can afford it. My x is also suing me because I have not transferred deed. After the inquest, I asked my lawyer to do a title seach on the two properties I was awarded, she did it on the matriamonal property. With the transfer of deed papers she sent me a judgment or lien. There is a $200,000 lien on my property so I refused to transfer the deeds because no one can tell me if the lien will come off with his name. Another property I received has a satisfaction. At the day of the inquest I was told I would have to pay a man $2300 a month cash, because my x said he used the builiding for collataral but didn’t explain for what. I wanted to see the note – still haven’t. So next week I am going to court. My x is suing me for legal fees,want’s to get sherriffs to take baseball cards out of the house, force me to transfer deeds and to pay a loan shark. I am going to court alone – can’t afford a lawyer. Like I said this divorce was a disgrace and handled very unprofessional. Any advice for me would be appreciated? Do you think I have grounds to sue my lawyer and if you do can you recommend anyone?

I cannot overemphasize the need to find experienced, competent, matrimonial counsel
when searching for legal representation in a divorce situation. From your description it is apparent
that your lawyer neglected to inform you of the terms of the proposed settlement as they were being discussed and deliberated and to properly investigate the property that was being offered to you in settlement, to see if there were any claims or liens against such property.
At this stage, you must employ experienced, legal counsel to review all of the documents you have signed and to advise you how to proceed. Do not, under any circumstances, sign any more papers until you have read them and have reviewed them with legal counsel.
These matters are too important to proceed without proper legal advice and you must do whatever you must to get the money necessary to hire an attorney who can represent you, especially in such a situation. Failure to do so will impact you and your children for the rest of your lives.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions