Today was the court date for the hearing regarding the divorce. All details have been covered, the property, the money, the retirement, ad infinitum.
Mrs. Translator took a big chunk of her morning to appear before the judge, costing her leave time and the extra money that she makes for running the early morning detention hall at her school. I did my part (although I did not have to appear, since I contested nothing) by signing, having notarized, and mailing back critical documents the same day that I received them without fail.
Mrs. Translator met her attorney at the appointed time this morning just before the hearing was to have been heard. Suddenly her attorney took her to a small “talking room” and dropped this on her: he was missing a critical document, and without it no hearing could be possible.
She asked what document it was, and he indicated to her that it was my waiver of being summoned to court. In my state (which I will change soon), the defendant in a divorce action has the right to be served to force attendance at the hearing. I fully understood that, and waived that right, which is my privilege, and I chose it. However, the law requires a signed, notarized statement to that effect.
When I got the first draft of the final decree for my markup, I found several mistakes in fact, grammar (those of you who read me regularly realize that grammar is a big deal for me), format. I marked up the first draft and emailed it back to the attorney, along with a specific statement that I had not received the release form for being served and that, if it were still required, for him please to send it to me and that I would print, have it notarized, and mail it back with the final draft of the decree. I could copy and paste the text of the email to him, and can if pressed, but rest assured that I brought this up to him on 20 August 2009. I also, of my own volition, identified a retirement plan that was not covered in the draft decree about which I had already informed Mrs. Translator, but that she forgot. I was not required legally to do so, but I thought that is was a moral imperative, so I sent the documentation to the attorney and copied Mrs. Translator.
The next day or so, I got the new, improved decree, and I printed it, took it to my bank (as a customer there, I have access to notary services), then came back here, scanned it, and went straightaway to the Post Office and mailed it, Certified Mail with a return receipt. It went out that day.
Everything was in order, as far as Mrs. Translator and I were concerned. We both decided that the waiver for being served had been eliminated administratively, so gave it not another thought, except that I did ask her about it. She indicated that she would ask her attorney, but evidently did not, or it fell on deaf ears.
So this morning she goes to the hearing, and the hearing had to be postponed until the waiver arrived, the very same one that I mentioned almost a month ago to this attorney. Mrs. Smith indicated to me telephonicly that her attorney blamed his receptionist for failing to send me the document for printing and notarization. Perhaps she was guilty of failing to follow instructions (although I have my doubts), and I maintain that the attorney is ultimately responsible for the failure this morning.
He is the one with the law degree and the admission to the bar, not the little girl working for him (she can not be much over 22 and is not even a paralegal). He failed in an epic manner, and he should be responsible for that failure.
I sort of look on this as malpractice. I told him that I did not have that document, and all records of email (and I have kept ALL) of them indicate that he never sent it to me, and Mrs. Translator’s records indicate the same. In addition, his own words to her this morning affirmed that he did not review the “complete” package before hearing time. Situations like this is why it is so important to have legal help, from a law firm like Nathens, Siegel LLP or otherwise during these events.
This divorce is very painful for both Mrs. Translator and for me, and dragging it out another week borders on torture. What I do not want to happen is for the attorney to charge her for today, and for the next time, since today was his fault (she is paying by the fractional hour, even telephone calls as I understand) and I also think that he owes her a discount for her half a day of leave and for the detention hall duty for which she missed pay. I just wish Mrs. Translator had gone with a more professional family law attorney jacksonville fl to ensure she got the justice she deserved in the right way.
If any attorneys are reading this, please let me know your opinion. I promised Mrs. Translator not to get involved with her attorney directly, except for providing documents and statements as required for the action, and I will stand by that promise, but any insight that I could provide to her to minimize the financial impact of his poor actions would be appreciated.
I am sorry to take up valuable blog space here, but I just have to think that this might not be an isolated case. Folks get divorced all of the time, and it seems to me that maximizing assets to the parties and minimizing fees to the attorneys would be in the better interests of what is left of the family. Hopefully, more families will seek advice from a family attorney alike to HTTP://WWW.PETERSMAY.COM/ to seek advice, as they have the best interests at heart.
Please feel free to tell me that I am being too emotional, or not enough, and any other thoughts. But I would really appreciate information from attorneys who are experienced in this area. I promise that I will not rat any one out, but this is a public forum, so if you choose not to respond, I certainly understand.
By the way, the attorney still has not sent me a release form. Should I be worried that a process server will call on me? All that does is cause unnecessary expense for Mrs. Translator.
Any expertise is appreciated.
By the way, I am still intent on the Water installment for Pique the Geek at 9:00 PM Sunday, and it will be a good one. You never have imagined what a unique material it actually is.
Crossposted at Dailykos.com