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What if your divorce lawyer informally offers your spouse a very generous settlement that you never agreed to?

Louisville, KY |

And then, once your spouse accepts, your lawyer writes the agreement, and you discover to your shock that it's a lot more generous than anything you ever agreed to or ever would have agreed to. So your lawyer says you can renege if you want to, but advises against it. And your spouse is unlikely to accept a less generous agreement, after already agreeing to that one.

What can you do? Future settlement attempts would be waste of time, because the spouse is expecting something far more generous than anything that will ever be offered. So your lawyer has effectively forced you to litigate instead of settling, even if you change lawyers.

How common is that? What can be done?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Your lawyer had no business making an offer without your authority. You are correct that your spouse is unlikely to accept less at the end of the day now that this offer is on the table. Now, you need to make an economic decision whether it will cost more to litigate this case and accept a judge's decision a couple years from now, than to settle it on the terms of the agreement your lawyer wrote up. I realize you have lost confidence in your present lawyer, but you should go over the numbers in the offer carefully with him or her and get the lawyer's best estimate of what a judge would do and how much it would cost to get there. Then get another opinion before you decide.

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Posted

I agree with my colleague to always go over the economics but do not stay with an attorney you have lost confidence in and do not settle for something you are not comfortable with. You can always settle for portions and litigate portions as well. Speak to someone else and switch attorneys.

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Posted

I generally advise clients to heed the advice of their lawyer. Most family courts will not accept an "offer and acceptance" unless there is an agreement signed by both parties. You have correctly stated the status of proceedings and likelihood of settlement. The other option is to speak directly to your spouse and explain the problem. Tell her that you did not authorize but do want a fair deal. Explain that you thought ___ was fair but are willing to go higher to keep peace, but not as high as the offer. Best wishes.

Kentucky law does not certify specialty of practice in this area. The advice given herein is informational and should not be considered as creating an attorney/client relationship. Michael Bouldin is an independent attorney located in Northern Kentucky. It is strongly recommended to not give any confidential information on any website.

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