This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dissolution and organization

I've been doing some after-hours legal work lately, as personal favors. Two involve divorces, one involves matters of power-of-attorney and a will (which then reminded me that I need to draft wills for us... I have a holographic one, but we've changed our minds about a few things), another two wills, a landlord-tenant issue, and business organizations. I don't mind doing it, it's nice when what I learned in law school is actually useful.

The divorces though... ick. One friend isn't going to file, against my advice. Her husband's abandoned them, and he's not paying anything. But she doesn't want to go through the expense of divorce, so what can you do. I was able to finish settlement negotiations for another friend, who'd been dumped by her last attorney for being too difficult. Getting involved in friends' divorces is bad news, but our grandmothers were best friends, and my Nonna would be rattling chains in my closet if I didn't help her out. Anyway, they were close to settlement except for one condition that her husband refused to agree to, and he thought he could force her to sign without that condition because she didn't have a lawyer anymore. He was a bit surprised when she ended up with free legal counsel; suddenly, he's paying an hourly attorney's rate, and she's not, and going before a judge didn't seem so appealing anymore. So, I negotiated with his attorney to get that condition in there, and got one other thing she wanted. Still not a great deal, but it's the best one she could make, and probably the best one she could get since I don't think she would have done any better before the judge. Her last two attorneys shared that opinion. Regardless, she didn't want to go through the motions (or expense) of retaining another attorney to fight it out in court. Probably a good idea.

But, it was nice to be able to help. Also nice to work with a former classmate, who's with a firm in The City. I do miss the hustle and bustle of practice in The City. It's a lot different there, particularly considering local family court rules. Although the rules in The City are absurdly complicated, they have a better system in place because they have family court judges, they have mandatory co-parenting classes and classes for kids going through divorce, and if there's even an accusation of substance abuse, there is random drug testing. Out here there's none of the classes, and the court has to specifically order drug testing, and it has to be paid by the parties, which is super expensive because it has to be hair follicle testing rather than urine testing, because people here are experts at faking the urine tests. Also, instead of family law judges, we have domestic relations commissioners who hold hearings, and then the circuit court judges will sign off on whatever they decide. Overall though, I enjoy the legal community better here than in The City. Even if you blink and you miss motion hour. Even if I can count on one hand the number of attorneys under 40. (Two hands for 50.)

Anyway, it's been a busy couple weeks and will continue to be busy through the end of the year. Settlements and custody disputes, oh my! I have several appointments over the next couple weeks, including a hearing with a client I'm not actually convinced is lucid. It's rather problematic. I also have a disclosure deadline coming up in a ridiculous custody case, with the final hearing after the new year. It's like the crazy is coming out of the woodwork. Happy holidays! Nothing like plenty of nuts to go with your nutcracker.

1 comment:

Juliet said...

I've been helping out a friend going through a divorce, also involving abandonment (of her and a 2-year old child), and leaving her with zero income, tens of thousands in consumer debt, and apartment rent of $2,500 per month. On top of it all, he abandoned her to a different country. *sigh* It's a mess.