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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Litigants Describe Their Frustrations Dealing With Divorce/Custody Attorneys


Two litigants I previously featured say part of their divorce and custody matters stemmed from their own lawyers. 

Bill Sardi, featured here, and Molly Green, featured here, both had similar thoughts about the lawyers they paid to represent them. 

Find the full interview with Sardi here. 

 Find the full interview with Green here.
Sardi believes that his lawyers were colluding with the other side to move money from him, as he was the breadwinner, to his ex-wife, who had far less money. 

By doing this, both attorneys could get paid for years. 

Sardi said numerous violations of court orders by his ex-wife were ignored, "no action was taken against her because she is considered the non-income party. 

He said his attorneys would note her transgressions in declarations, but never file for sanctions. 

"My ex-wife seemed to know she was teflon don; she seemed to know there was going to be no action against her."

Meanwhile, sanctions were filed against him thirty time, he said. 

His attorney also recommended a private judge, a process he was told would speed things up, but instead, after four years in the private judge, the case still had not moved forward much. 

"You keep spinning time and money, and time and money," Sardi said of the process, "You get to a point like when we separated our assets, they frustrate you so that you will give in, give up."

Green said that not only did attorneys give her bad advice, they failed to communicate with her, and they made all sorts of bold promises which never materialized. 

She said her attorneys then quickly withdrew from her case. Another attorney, Green said, withdrew after Green insisted on continuing to speak about the sexual molestation her children had disclosed, ignoring the advice of one attorney. 

In December 2016, her attorneys advised her that she should accept an agreement which would give her ex-husband temporary custody because the judge would otherwise rule that she would lose custody entirely and her kids would wind up in foster care. 

She accepted this deal because her attorneys assured her that this order could be appealed. 

Green was shocked to learn that the judge said the order couldn't be appealed. 

Furthermore, her attorneys told her that within three months she would get custody back, almost five years later she still doesn't have access to her children. 

Sardi further noted that his attorneys never advised him of California laws, his home state, which benefited his situation. 

Working on his own, he learned that once his son turned fourteen, his son could testify in court as to what he wanted. 

"I filed it by myself without any lawyers," Sardi said, referring to provision 3042, "If I had an attorney at the time, none of them would have said there is such a provision which allows this."

Green said that another issue was her attorneys total lack of communication. 

"They're saying we'll fight for you," She said, "Then, your attorney who you trust is either not corresponding with you, is not fighting the fight that they told you they were going to do."

Green said multiple attorneys told her that her child support was way too high, but it remains in place. 

In fact, she said that communication has been so poor that she's not sure if they did not file anything or what they filed has been rejected. 

A recent attorney filed with the Ohio Supreme Court, where her case is, and did not tell her for over a year that they petition had been denied. 

Green suggests that people get in writing exactly what an attorney promises to do. 

This is advice that Malinda Sherwyn also said litigants should follow, 

Hi. Lawyers recuse themselves from cases when the retainer runs out or…. if the verbal promises they have made fall by the way side and they are called out on their failure to fight for their client! Suggestion: Attys. are most hungry at the beginning of the case, that is when you have your attorney put in writing their strategy to win your case. When does any person retain services from a professional without a full understanding of what they plan to do for you? Get it in writing before you pay the first retainer and when they come back for more money…Mr. and Ms. Family Law Atty put your plan/strategy to represent me in your retainer or you don’t get my money. 
Post Script

Find the fundraiser for Orange County, where Sardi's case is from, here. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A parent involved in years of family court litigation, who has endured the devastating loss and forced separation of a child, is vulnerable and often desperately seeking a solution to regain custody and resume a normal life. Predatory attorneys, GALs, ADRs and other family court professionals will take advantage and exploit the situation to their benefit.

Trying to navigate the legal system on your own is exhausting, and a parent is at a disadvantage because most do not have a law degree or any legal knowledge. They may accept a bad attorney because there are no other options for help. Or the case has gone on so long that it's deemed "complex" and no other attorney will represent them. Or they have spent so much money on an attorney that they cannot afford a hefty retainer and fees to obtain new counsel.

The family profit system aka family court is rigged against parents. Children are taken from fit, loving parents and parents extorted out of family, home and finances by the so called professionals who claim to be acting in the "best interest". How is this justice?