Attorney fees during dissolution of assets

I have been trying to find info on this situation I was advised to do. I don’t understand if Ive been tricked or if there is a bigger picture here…

My husbands attorney filed for an interim dissolution of assets and I was to pay a set $ amount to him. I complied and wrote the check to my husband and gave the check to my attorney.
It was to be given to my husband within 10 days. Over the next 3 weeks, I called my attorney 6 or 7 times and asked why the check had not cleared my account. I told him repeatedly to give him the check. My attorney always had an excuse. He was trying to catch up with the other attorney, he was going to meet him around 5 pm that day, etc.

In the fourth week, my attorney called me and said he was advising me not to give him the check because he thought it was being used to pay my husbands attorney fees. I asked him how he knew this and he said it was his gut instinct. I argued with him, Said I had told him to give my husband the check repeatedly. My attorney said if you don’t give it to him, understand you will be held in contempt of court. I said…Ive told you repeatedly to give him the check and now you wont do it and what choice do I have ? The check is already past due.

Also know that my husbands attorney used to work for my attorney and my attorney fired him for presenting evidence in a case that was damaging to the client.

My questions are :

1.Why am I being held in contempt? I did not agree to this. I was coerced by my attorney to do this.

2.What will happened to me ? It is a criminal charge. Will I be arrested and go to jail ?

3.What are the implications if my husbands attorney took money that I paid my husband for dissolution of assets for his attorney fees. Is it a major breach of ethics ? Will the attorney be forced to recuse himself ?

I believe it was with this knowledge that my own attorney recused himself and now I have no attorney in the middle of the worst divorce you’ve ever heard of. Believe me . My divorce involves so much most cant even comprehend it. It even involves voluntary manslaughter.

So if it is a breach of ethics, how does my new appointed attorney go about proving that my husband attorneys was paid with funds from the check I wrote ? It was written to my husband, in his name. Not to the attorney or his law firm.

I would assume my new attorney could subpoena my husbands new bank account and if my check was deposited, and there wasn’t enough money in the account prior to pay his attorney, and he wrote a check immediately after to his attorney, then my husband used the funds to pay his attorney fees and not pay for half of the bills he is being required to pay in the order. He hasn’t paid any bills at all.

  1. You can only be held in contempt for a willful violation of a court order. If it is stated in a valid court order that you are to pay your husband a certain amount by a certain date, then you must comply. If you complied but your attorney did not hand over the check, then you would have an argument that this is not a willful violation.

  2. When being held in contempt you could face jail time and/or a fine.

  3. Unless the court order specifies differently, it does not matter what your husband used the money for. What matters is that the court determined that an interim distribution of marital assets was necessary and the order specifies how that interim distribution is to be accomplished.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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