I have a friend in California who is going through a divorce.
For those who do not know, whenever a divorce is filed in California all assets for both the husband and the wife are frozen. No access to money in your checking account. All assets in your home are tagged by law enforcement officers and itemized for ‘equal’ disbursement to both parties when the divorce is finalized.
The person initiating the divorce has an EXTREME advantage. Funding for the attorney and subsequent legal costs can be withdrawn from the joint banking account for the divorce.
The person served the divorce papers does not have this advantage, as the service of the actual divorce papers activates an ATRO – Asset Temporary Restraining Order. This is the order that freezes all assets for both parties in the divorce.
While the law in California states that funds for an attorney for both parties can be withdrawn from the joint checking account, both parties and the judge must agree to the request or it won’t be allowed.
My friend was served the divorce papers. He was totally blind-sided by the divorce petition. The divorce cost him his job. This was over a year ago.
My friend is in his 60’s. There are 4 children – all grown. That said, his soon-to-be ex-wife filed for child support as well as the divorce.
I helped pay for his first attorney, who got him through the initial phase of his divorce – until a child-support payment was levied against him.
He found another attorney who sympathized with him. I had no money to offer support. I had credit on some credit cards, but that was it. The attorney finally agreed to accept the credit card for the retainer. The charge was made and money was dispersed. The new attorney got the child support issue waived, but the judge fined my friend.
Then my credit card was credited 90% of the money dispersed for my friend’s attorney. Apparently, the attorney did not process the transaction properly and the money was debited from his account and then credited to my credit card.
Time went by and I found a way to help with the fine – one week before it was going to be doubled.
The attorney continued to help my friend – up to the point where the fine got paid and the divorce was in its final stages.
Then my friend’s attorney decided he was not going to do anything more for my friend until he got paid his retainer. So he filed a lawsuit against my friend for $6,000.00.
Neither my friend nor I have the money to pay his attorney. Now his attorney is threatening to have my friend put in jail while he tries to find a legal way to get his retainer – even if it means mortgaging my friend’s house to get it. AND THE JUDGE AGREED WITH MY FRIEND’S ATTORNEY!
My friend’s house is under BOTH his and his soon-to-be ex-wife, so he cannot get a home-equity loan to pay the attorney with. He has money in his account to pay the attorney – also under both names. The attorney can continue to move forward with releasing the restraining order from my friend’s account thus enabling my friend to pay him -but the attorney won’t do any more until he gets his $6,000.00.
The law states that this action is a violation of the attorney’s code of ethics. The judge probably knows this but won’t do anything to stop it.
The judge has sided with my friend’s ‘wife’ all through these proceedings. I truly don’t believe the judge felt the fine would be paid or that my friend would get to this stage.
I am afraid my friend’s attorney is being set up by the judge as well. That said, all he wants is his retainer and will stop at nothing to get it before any more work is done.
So, here I am. Begging for the $6,000.00 to help my friend.
Thank you for ‘listening’.