Posted by Roy
I hired Ms Halbreich in late June to dispute and hopefully change my ex-wife's custody of my 2 young children. I was told that she thought I had a good chance as my ex's behavior with my children was neglectful. She told me that if I took the time to write out my 'case' in my own words I would save her time, and myself money, and after spending a good number of hours I supplied her with my entire written version on July 6th. I was told that it was an excellent description and the petition used my words to a large degree in almost 'cut & paste' form.
I had urged Ms Halbreich to file the petition as soon as possible (on at least 4 occasions) so that I will receive a hearing date BEFORE the start of the school year as there was a dispute over where my daughter would go to school this year. Ms Halbreich promised me she would file the petition before July 15th, when she was due to leave on vacation.
In actuality, she started the work, was hard to get a hold of or hear back from in the days leading up to her departure, and left the task to be finished by her partner, Douglas Amo (who she told me would be covering for her while she was on vacation). The petition was only filed on July 27th. This resulted in a court date being set for September 9th, the 2nd day of the school year, resulting in incredible stress for my family and my daughter being registered (and attending) 2 different schools this past first week of school.
No one in Ms Halbreich's firm cared enough to inform me that we still had the right to request the court expedite our case because of the pressing matter of school enrollment and I did not have the knowledge that it was within my rights to request it.
To add insult to injury when I received my copy of the petition on July 29th I had immediately noticed that the box for 'change of custody' was NOT checked and called Mr Amo immediately. He reassured me that it was alright and I accepted his claim, not having any legal knowledge myself.
In reality, after 6 long weeks of stress and anticipation my day in court finally arrived this past Wednesday, Sept 9th, and my case was tossed out immediately by the judge for the 'change of custody' box having been left unchecked.
I have never felt more helpless and defeated as those moments in court when the judge said she wouldn't hear my case because the paperwork wasn't filed correctly!
Fortunately, I had fired Ms Halbreich a week before the hearing and hired a new attorney who managed to get the court to give us an extension of time to re-file our petition. This case will now drag on for a few more unnecessary weeks (or months) and the $5700 that I had paid Ms Halbreich's firm have gotten me nothing but stress and frustration. I was subsequently told by a few other attorneys that filing a petition for a change of custody should not have cost me more than $2500.
I have detailed my case here because I have read lawyer's replies on this website that use big words to crush the clients' complaints, dismissing them as total nonsense. I have stated nothing but the events as they occurred and strongly urge anyone to NOT HIRE THIS ATTORNEY!!!