As a pro se litigant can I email my ex's lawyer and tell him he is a dumb ass? Do I leave myself open to libel or defamation?

Asked 3 months ago - San Antonio, TX

I have been dealing with my ex's attorney for 3 years. The answers I receive from the attorney are always late and really don't make a lot of sense. I'm at the end of my rope and really just want to email back and tell the attorney what I really think? Will I leave myself open to libel or defamation?

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Christopher Richard Pothoven

    Contributor Level 7

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . Don't do it. Pro se litigants are treated as attorneys under the law. If I did that, I'd be sanctioned by the Court and disciplined by the Bar. The fact that you are even considering it proves to show that you really need an attorney. Pro se litigants are oftentimes their own worst enemy. Would you perform surgery on yourself? Of course not. Litigating on your own behalf is no different, except that you're operating on your family relationship.

  2. Orsen E. Paxton III

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    3

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . Seriously? That's your question. If you hired a lawyer to represent you, you would not have to deal with your ex's lawyer. I'm sure it would make his/her day to know that he/she has aggravated you this much. Why give him/her the satisfaction?

    DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.
  3. Dorothea Elaine Laster

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    1

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . You are operating as your own attorney. You need to write every email as if it were going to be shown to the Judge. And if you call him a DA it probably will be. It is possible that you could be subject to sanctions (fines) by the Judge. And you could also lose the right to email the attorney which could be expensive for you to have to mail everything.
    You can write the email--but just don't send it. OR try writing it in a way that does contain any insults or curse words but actually conveys information. People shut down and don't listen when you use those words anyway--which is strange since they are used for emphasis. If you feel that his late and incomplete responses to your questions, cost his client, delayed resolution, and harmed all concerned-say that. Note however, that a lot of things that you are blaming on him may be as a result of his client. That is more common than you might imagine.

    Ms. Laster practices in Dallas, Denton, Collin and Tarrant Coun
  4. William Tyler Moore Jr

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    2

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . Doing so will tell him he's getting to you and may encourage him. Secondly, it's bad form. You may end up explaining your actions to the judge. Go hire a professional who won't get so personally involved in the litigation. You don't have the training and education to do this type work.

    I am not intending this to be legal advice, because I don't know the particulars of your situation. Call me if you... more
  5. Richard Kurt Arbuckle

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    2

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . Sometimes I want to do that myself. I have even written the email. But then I ask myself, is this in MY (or in my case, MY CLIENT"S) best interest. Is it going to help me get what I want. Will the other side just laugh at me. Then I don't send it.

    This is not legal advice. You should always discuss the specifics of your issue in person with an attorney. Be... more
  6. Harold Ralph Burke

    Contributor Level 8

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I'm an attorney and have been often tempted to do the same. It isn't defamation to make an inflammatory statement directly to someone. It is however stupid to do it in the context of litigation. Even a dumb attorney can figure out that citing back to such an email will explain much if what he is seeking to prove you may have done during the marriage. Get a thicker skin or get your own lawyer.

  7. John Hatchett McFarland

    Contributor Level 8

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I do not see any exposure for libel or defamation in sending a communication to the lawyer (and only the lawyer). That exposure would come from posting comments about the lawyer in an online or public forum. But I still don't recommend it.

    Remember that every communication passing between you and your ex-spouse's lawyer could be something reviewed by the judge or the jury. Conduct yourself accordingly. The small window of satisfaction gained by making your feelings known is surely outweighed by the potential negative effect on your case or credibility. This is, of course, a two-way street; if opposing counsel wants to start braying at you, don't discourage it and print a copy for the court or your exhibit list.

    I know that divorce is hard and that the opposing lawyer always seems awful. But remember that you are an adult and keep your eyes on your ultimate goal. Which is to come out of the divorce with your dignity intact, your finances in relative order, and your relationships with the humans involved - spouse included - in as good of shape as possible. I wish you the very best in that endeavor.

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“Pro se” means to act as one’s own lawyer. While there are rare cases where it may be cheaper, a pro se divorce is usually not recommended.

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