Attorney Threatening My Daughter


#1

Although I am not an attorney myself, this may be a violation of state ethical standards, even if the actions of the attorney are not technically illegal. I would not think twice about contacting the State Bar about it. I would have been on the phone to them already.


#2

First thing that I would do is find out what exactly is being objected to and why. The attorney sent the agreement to her to review and revise so why the attitude when she does exactly that…? I would fire the attorney. You daughter has paid this attorney to represent her best interest and therefore is working for your daughter. I would not allow someone to treat me the way that you described and pay them for it too. Drop her. Either find someone else to represent her or help your daughter draw up an agreement on your own.
Those are exactly the things that NEED to be in a custody agreement. Visitation schedule, who pays for clothing and school supplies or if the paying party gets reimbursed by 1/2, who covers child(ren) on insurance, holiday schedule, who will take the child to the doctor and decide on school matters. Any detail that could possibly come up in the future can be put into an agreement. If the other party doesn’t agree to it then they are free to make changes or send a counter offer prior to signing. That’s what makes it an agreement. A custody agreement is a contract between the parents. It does not have the enforceability that a court order does but it is still enforceable.
If this is going before a judge to be signed making it a court order then there may be some differences but my husband and his ex had this same situation and there are specific dates, times, and amounts listed in their agreement/court order.
The attorney may be threatening to have the order rescinded because the agreement was drawn up by her and maybe there’s something legal about the wording of the agreement…I don’t know why she would threaten that otherwise.


#3
quote:
[i]Originally posted by stepmother[/i] [br]First thing that I would do is find out what exactly is being objected to and why. The attorney sent the agreement to her to review and revise so why the attitude when she does exactly that....? I would fire the attorney. You daughter has paid this attorney to represent her best interest and therefore is working for your daughter. I would not allow someone to treat me the way that you described and pay them for it too. Drop her. Either find someone else to represent her or help your daughter draw up an agreement on your own. Those are exactly the things that NEED to be in a custody agreement. Visitation schedule, who pays for clothing and school supplies or if the paying party gets reimbursed by 1/2, who covers child(ren) on insurance, holiday schedule, who will take the child to the doctor and decide on school matters. Any detail that could possibly come up in the future can be put into an agreement. If the other party doesn't agree to it then they are free to make changes or send a counter offer prior to signing. That's what makes it an agreement. A custody agreement is a contract between the parents. It does not have the enforceability that a court order does but it is still enforceable. If this is going before a judge to be signed making it a court order then there may be some differences but my husband and his ex had this same situation and there are specific dates, times, and amounts listed in their agreement/court order. The attorney may be threatening to have the order rescinded because the agreement was drawn up by her and maybe there's something legal about the wording of the agreement....I don't know why she would threaten that otherwise.

That’s what has me so shocked as well! She told her to review/revise it but then she got all pissy about it. I spoke with my daughter today and she has sent an e-mail to the attorney telling her to proceed with filing a motion to withdraw as counsel and that she’ll find another attorney. I told her that’s exactly what she needed to do and to be sure to hire another attorney; if nothing else at least find an attorney that will review the consent order and tell her it’s OK for filing. Hopefully that will keep this other attorney from filing her mortion to rescind.

Like I said in my initial post, I added provisions into my daughter’s agreement that are also in my husband’s agreement (and the agreement my daughter will have more teeth in it than my husband’s does). As for drafting something for my daughter, I believe that may be considered unauthorized practice of law. I was on the Bar Association website last night and from what I read, based on the little I’ve done to the agreement, there’s a distinct possibility that the Bar may look at it that way. Quite frankly that scares the crap out of me as this could jeopardize my career. When I first started out I don’t remember the provisions against drafting of documents unless under the supervision of an attorney. May be the rules have changed since then.

I agree about putting in any detail that may come up in the future; although it’s impossible to know EVERY detail that may come up! That’s what I told my daughter…a custody agreement is a living document…it needs to be drafted in a way that it grows with the child. Otherwise, she and her ex will be fussing an fighting all the time over what the order says. That’s ridiculous and unnecessary. But do you know the attorney told her she should have it as vague as possible!!! And the reason for that was to keep going back to court!!! With attitudes like that no wonder family law attorneys get bad reps. Like I told my daughter…get it as specific as you can and if something comes up that you didn’t anticipate at the time THEN you go back to get it modified. Why make it more adversarial than it needs to be!!!

This will go before the judge to be entered as an order of the court for enforceability reasons. Because the ex is agreeing to sign it, the agreement is a stipulated agreement so there will not have to be any kind of hearing. I guess it just needs to be filed and given to the judge to issue the order.


#4

When I suggested that you assist her in drawing up an agreement I did not mean that you draft a legal document. My husband wrote his own separation agreement and then sent it to the lawyer to write up with all the legal jargon. There is a sample agreement on the home site and there are do-it-yourself divorce kits with (I believe) separation agreement samples in them.
If you know about legal matters then it’s all the better for you to help your daughter with this. My husband and his ex have “modified” their final agreement to suit their needs as the children have grown and jobs and needs changed. Your daughter and the father need to be able to work together to raise their daughter separately otherwise, they will be arguing constantly. Put in things like insurance, splitting the cost of clothes, and visitation dates and times but be prepared and inform the ex that he should be able and willing to be flexable about this stuff. If he agrees to cover for insurance but your daughter can get better insurance cheaper, then he could pay her. Ultimately, keeping this out of court is the best solution and working together to get something on paper legally protects both of them.


#5

The attorney should not be yelling at your daughter, however if a client is not following an attorney’s advice is is acceptable for an attorney to withdraw from representation. I cannot tell you if the attorney’s actions are reasonable in this case because I have not reviewed the consent order or been involved in the negotiation.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

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301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
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(919) 321.0780

ROSEN.COM

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#6

My daughter and her Ex were never married. They have a 3 year old daughter. Child support has been established. They went to Mediation for custody and visitation but mediation was unsuccessful. The Ex is now agreeing to sign a stipulated custody agreement. My daughter has an attorney in Guilford County that has been representing her.

The attorney prepared the stipulated agreement and sent it to my daughter for review and any revisions she may have. Because I’m a paralegal (and her Mom!) my daughter sent the draft to me for review. The order the attorney prepared was very vague and there were other provisions my daughter said she wanted in the agreement. Mainly it was just pinning down when visitation began and putting a specific time on when the Ex was to return the minor child, that holidays are to be alternated on an even/odd schedule, etc. The provisions I put in my daughter’s agreement are things that are in my husband’s agreement with his Ex.

The attorney went ballistic on my daughter! She told her that the changes that were made didn’t belong in a custody agreement; that they were more suited for a contract and that if she wanted her to she could draw up a contract but it wouldn’t have the same enforceability as a custody agreement. Ummm…I thought a custody agreement WAS a contract of sorts!!!

My daughter removed some provisions but kept others in that she really felt should stay in. Although I’m not an attorney, there was nothing illegegal, immoral or unethical in the agreement and in my layman’s opinion I don’t think there’s anything in there a judge would object to. Some of the provisions my daughter had in the agreement are in the Parenting Guidelines of the 18th Judicial District! Although the attorney is strenously objecting to the changes my daughter has made, she’s never really told her specifically what she objects to!

My daughter sent the second revision to her attorney and she again went ballistic on my daughter. She left her a nasty voicemail on her cell phone and sent her a nasty e-mail (in all capital letters!) “screaming” at her that it was not a proper consent order and that her name must be removed from the order if she intended to go forward with it. She also told my daughter that if she got the order signed and entered by a judge she would file a motion with the court to have it rescinded! She told my daughter this was her final comment, that my daughter is not an attorney and if she won’t listen to her then she will withdraw from her representation.

I have never in my life encountered an attorney like this!!! She seems to be the type that it’s her way or no way at all.

My daughter has taken the attorneys name off of the order and intends to file it with the court.

Why would an attorney threaten a client with filing a motion to rescind if her name is not associated with the pleading?

What does this process involve?

I don’t normally advocate this course of action but should my daughter contact the Bar Association about this behavior/threat?