Husband had affair with divorce attorney before divorce


#1

My husband ended up “finding his true love” (#4) in his divorce attorney. The first time I heard her name was as his legal representative in response to my attorney seeking Temporary Support and Custody and post- separation support. That was the first of April 2007 after I left Feb 2007. By July 2007 she was withdrawing from the case as his attorney, though there is not a formal filing with the courts. Our teenage sons, who left with me, saw a woman leaving his house every morning on their way to school (6:30AM). They did not tell me at the time. Then on Christmas Day he calls me from Florida where he is vacationing using “a friend’s” cell phone; he wants to say Merry Christmas to the kids (3). I save the phone number that shows up on my cell phone. In early January I take picture of the car in the driveway that is there most every night and leaves in the morning. Get the license tag, but don’t do anything to find out who it is. A day or two later as school is starting back up, I am passing the house (no way to miss it on my way to work) and I see the woman coming out of his house and getting into her car. (same one that has been there all this time at night) Then about a week after that I was scrolling through attorney info online and I see her picture! I made a shocked utterance and my kids come running and want to know what has happened. I replied that I thought I was looking at the picture of their dad’s girlfriend and his attorney. The boys confirmed that I was. They recognized her as the woman they had seen in the fall and they confirmed that there were love notes all over the house with her initials.
My ex filed for divorce one day and one year after I left. She immediately made references to my attorney that "now they could come out of the closet."
I find her presence and behavior in court during the child support issues that are still being argued over, unethical.
Who can and how can I report this behavior? Or does it not really matter…legally!


#2

Legally your husband’s attorney’s behavior is within the bounds of professional conduct. From the facts it appears as though she withdrew from the case prior to becoming intimately involved in the case.
You can of course call the state bar and express your concerns; however, they will likely tell you that there was no breach of the rules of ethics based on her withdrawal.


#3

When I go through the papers that are filed at the court house with this case, there is no “motion to withdraw as his attorney” from her.
In fact, there is a filing in March 2008 where the second attorney notified the court that he was representing my ex and he sent a copy to her as well. But March 2008 was 9 months after she supposedly was no longer his attorney.
Regardless of what is “ok” legally… their behavior was “trashy” and continues to be.
He spent time developing this new relationship instead of trying to heal old relationship or help his strained relationship with his children.


#4

A substitution of counsel (filed by the other attorney) is sufficient to release a former attorney. You stated earlier that this woman was out of the case in July 2007, had a court action been filed at that point?


#5

Yes. She wrote and filed the original complaint, so my ex has been the plaintiff through all of this and me the defendant.


#6

It is a violation of the North Carolina Professional Rules of Conduct for an attorney to have sex with an existing client.