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When I was served with divorce, I tried to work amicably to prevent unnecessary legal expenditures, which I knew I (we) couldn't

Bourbon, IN |

afford. My ex made it clear that he was using the process to destroy me as much as possible; my attorney was aware of that and other threats, having obtained a DV protective order. When the decree was issued, I was horrified because there was no assignment of possession, costs and so on, even though the PO was active and I had discovered evidence of fraud affecting a previous case. My attorney refused to file a motion to have anything done, merely stating the "PO will protect possession". This week the sheriff's sale will eliminate, for good, my settlement. I have no money to move, no money for another attorney and to top all, have a $3k judgment because the (attorney's) lien was changed to judgment against me when the house went to foreclosure. I know this isn't "equitable". What to do?

The attorney withdrew when I insisted something needed to be filed to protect my opportunity to see the settlement actually happen. I was left without any information as to HOW to handle the problems, which started immediately when we plunged into having no heat for four days in mid January (he quit the utilities without notice) and I haven't had a breather since. Oh and I was paying on my account and thought I was caught up, but the trial was about $2k. The other $1k is finance charges. The attorney claimed wouldn't file the post hearing motion because I "wouldn't like what the judge said". What?! If that happened, I could have appealed or at least been better informed rather than sit an additional time and just be further damaged! Do I have ANY options?

Attorney Answers 1

  1. OK. Procedurally: whether or not you can still file a post-judgment motion (motion to reconsider, motion to correct errors, motion to clarify, etc.) is going to depend on how much time has passed since the decree was issued. You need to talk to a lawyer right away to see if any of those motions would be possible for you. The other option is to appeal. In some cases, that's the right thing to do. In most - especially family law, where the judge has a LOT of discretion with how to divide property, what to do with the kids, etc. - it is unlikely to be successful. And appeals can be very, very expensive.

    Use the avvo find-a-lawyer tool to get in touch with a couple of attorneys in your area. Find one you feel comfortable with and ask for a consultation. Often, attorneys will offer a "case review" meeting at no charge. But do it now, because the amount of time to file a motion after the decree is issued is very short.

    Best of luck,

    Kate Flood
    Indianapolis divorce lawyer

    The foregoing is not intended to be specific legal advice, but rather general information. Because of the nature of this online, non-confidential forum, and because each and every family law case is different, it is impossible for any attorney to consider all of the facts of your specific case and provide a concrete answer. If you require specific legal advice, you should retain a qualified attorney in your area.

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