My wife's attorney is continuing to run up the bill without being paid, knowing that my wife dos not have the financial resources to ever pay them. However, in a mediation, her attorney stated she would get a judgment lien on the house if she was not paid. It is legal for her attorney to run these bills up knowing my wife does not have the resources to pay the mounting legal cost?
If one party in a dissolution of marriage action has the ability to pay both parties' legal fees, that may all happen at the end of the case. There is a difference between "running up the bill" and providing sound and diligent representation. Most judges and magistrates are looking for attorneys to be "problem solvers" rather than head bangers. An attorney who deliberately runs up fees may very well not be paid and if the fees are excessive for the work performed, that attorney may face sanctions. With so many people afraid of unreasonable legal bills in family law cases, the best approach is to have both parties work with attorneys who understand how to help the parties solve problems, rather than escalate the tension. Good luck to you.
Unless you are ordered to pay your wife's attorney fees (which can happen if you make substantially more than your wife) the attorney can only lien your wife's interest in the house. However, since your wife has a claim to an equitable division of the marital property, it sounds like the attorney believes she does ultimately have the ability to pay.
There is nothing wrong with an attorney representing a client with the expectation to be paid later if they want to take that risk. If the attorney is wrong about your wife's ultimate ability to pay and they cannot convince the Court to order you to pay their fees, then they won't get paid.
I'm not certain what you mean by "running up the bill," but if the attorney tries to get an order for you to pay fees or to enforce a lien against your wife's assets, they will have to convince the judge that the fees were reasonable and necessary.
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