I was served with a complaint by my ex-husband in June, 2010, asking for Writ of Possession and Equitable Distribution. To make a long story short, his attorney attended a few calendar calls, asked for several continuances due to health reasons, did not meet any deadlines that were ordered by the court for filing an ED affidavit and the ADR hearing that were set in August, 2011 with my ex-husband’s attorney present so he was aware of the deadlines (I filed my ED Affidavit several weeks before the deadline). His attorney did not attend the last several calendar calls before the hearing was set for January 2012.
At the hearing, neither my ex-husband nor his attorney were present, but I presented my evidence and the judge ordered my ex-husband to refinance the marital home to remove my name from the mortgage or it must be sold, with him covering any deficiency due to the house being worth less than what is owed; awarded me $10,000 to cover credit card debt and equity in a lawn mower; divided the vehicles (of equal value), but refused to award me attorney fees. He works full-time (allowed to make at least $1100 while receiving SS retirement) and is receiving SS retirement in excess of $1400 per month; I work part-time (approximately $800 mo. gross) and receive approximately $600 a month for disability, which indicates his gross is almost twice as much as mine (evidence of this was not produced in court).
After receiving a copy of the final judgment in February 2012 (I text my ex-husband and told him about the judgment), he hired a new attorney and filed an Affidavit stating he was not aware of the hearing in January, that the had received a letter from his initial attorney in NOVEMBER that he was/had retired (yet did nothing to get another attorney until he found out about the final judgment) and also filed a Motion to set aside the Judgment. According to my attorney, she and his new attorney met with the judge and the judge “in a limited fashion set it aside predicated on the interests of justice, but cautioned his new attorney that it was unlikely that the terms of the Judgment would change”. The judge also told his attorney that the court and my attorney had done everything possible to notify the other side.
Is it possible to sue ex-husband in civil court for the attorney fees or will I be able to once again ask for attorney fees at the hearing in June based on the fact that I am still paying legal fees and the case is still not settled? I have paid over $6,000 and my attorney wants another $2500 retainer!