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How long do I have to pay a lawyer's bill, and what can he legally do?

Ranger, GA |

I recently received an uncontested divorce, that my lawyer told me would require my ex to pay all legal expenses. I was led to believe there would be no problem, before I signed on, agreeing to hire the attorney.
After being told that the lawyer would get his fees from a 401-k that he was to do a QDRO on, causing more fees, that I was not aware of, plus penalties for early withdrawal, I fired him. Now he is asking for immediate payment. I have lost my primary insurance in the deal and since I am disabled, need the money to enroll in another plan. Enrollment is time sensitive. What do I do? What can he do? I own a house and my credit is good, but loans are impossible to come by in my situation.

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer
Posted

Read the contract you entered into with him. He can probably file a lawsuit against you and attempt to execute on any judgement received just like any other creditor.

Asker

Posted

Perhaps, but I intend to file first. Please read my review of Jason P. Hood, Calhoun, GA on Avvo

Asker

Posted

I have not chosen either answer as best, as both were informative. However, on this answer, it was news to me that an order of the court does not negate a previous contract, especially when the party contracted asks for a judgement that would revise. That was not explained to me by my lawyer either.

Posted

Something isn't quite adding up here. Most state bars prohibit attorneys from collecting their fees through assets recovered for their clients in a divorce, so the "getting paid out of a 401-k" statement seems odd. That said, there are two sides to every story, and I'm certain your ex-attorney will have a much different version of events. Read your fee agreement. It will state quite clearly how the fees are earned. If he is owed the money, and you haven't paid him, then he certainly can come after you for the money. Frankly, any cash-out on a 401-k will result in tax liabilities and penalties, so that should have been explained to you clearly by several sources, including your attorney and your fund manager. If you believe you've been misled, you can always file a complaint with your state's bar association.

This answer is not to be considered a response to a specific legal issue in a specific jurisdiction - it is to be considered only a general response to a hypothetical scenario posed by the questioner. For specific legal advice, please consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

Asker

Posted

Alot didn't add up. Please read my review re: Jason P. Hood, Calhoun Ga. on Avvo

Asker

Posted

I have not chosen either answer as the best, as both were informative.

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