Penney Wise and Dollar Foolish!

I have been seeing too many divorces wherein a spouse used a lawyer who was a relative (who never handled a divorce before) and paid nearly nothing for it.  The case may have settled as the now ex-spouse wanted fro very little cost, but the settlement agreement lacked the provisions and terms that could have protected that’s spouse against being brought back into court now.  But now that he or she is back in court, to save money once again, that person went to other relatives who are lawyers (and do not handle divorces) and the right things were NOT done in that person’s defense, who should have mounted an offense as well as provided better documentation in their defense.   Read more

If You Have Children But Were Never Married.

I recently took over a child custody case shortly before trial in Family Court of an out of wedlock child and no acknowledgment of paternity.  The prior attorney filed for custody on behalf of the client, but not for paternity.  The mother and child had gone on vacation to another state but never returned and this was filed two months after they left New York State.  The mother’s lawyer ignored the defect until she and the child were in the other state long enough so that the father could not re-file in New York State.  Read more

If Your Lawyer Tells You Do Not Pay It or Stop Paying It.

Too often I have taken over a divorce and or custody case to find my new client stopped paying a legal obligation, such as court ordered support or mortgage or rent payments.  When I ask why, the answer is my prior lawyer told me to stop, that I do not have to it.  I ask did your lawyer tell you this in writing? No is always the answer.  I guarantee that even if the prior lawyer said this, he or she would deny it.  Remember, the Courts expect you to try to blame the prior lawyer.  Here are a few examples I have encountered. Read more

Have You Heard Both Sides Before you Formed Your Opinion and Took Sides? It Always Takes Two.

Seems too often in breakups, including divorce and child custody disputes, we hear only person’s side of the breakup and blindly believe that person, especially the woman (I believe this is due to sexism thinking the woman is the weaker one needing greater protection).  During consultations, I tell people I can only access their case based on the facts he or she tells me that day, but as the case unfolds and proofs are had, my legal opinion/analysis may change.  In every break up, there is his story and her story, or his story and his story, or her story and her story, and then the truth that we may never know.  And just because what one person did on the surface may seem horrible, does not mean the other person was without fault.  Let’s look at a few hypothetical situations (this does not include all situations and there are always exceptions, “ifs,” “ands” and “buts”): Read more

A Side Deal is No Deal

In any type of court case, the only provisions and terms of a settlement deal that are enforceable are those expressly set forth in the written contract.  In divorce, child custody, child visitation and spousal or child support the contract is usually referred to as a stipulation of settlement or separation agreement.  I have had clients who have told me they were willing to sign deals that gave them little to nothing because he or she trusts his or her spouse to take care of him or her for life.  If your spouse intends to do right by you, why wouldn’t your spouse be willing to put in it in writing? Exactly, because he or she plans on screwing you over sooner or later without being held accountable, and there is nothing you can do after signing the agreement giving up everything you may otherwise be entitled to. Read more