Legal Question in Family Law in Missouri

Motion to Modify original Divorce Decree

In November of 96, my attorney filed a motion to modify of my original divorce decree. (my ex-husband graduated from medical school and got a great paying job, my child support check did not reflect the change, he then counter sued for custody of our daughter). After several months of no word from my attorney I started calling on a monthly basis to find out if a court date had been established. I would in turn receive a bill in the mail reflecting my calls, but no court date. After 15 months of this, I received a bill in the mail showing that he (my atty) had filed an appeal on a motion to dismiss. Do I have any recourse on this? I have invested a substancial amount of money into my attorney's fees with virtually nothing to show for it. Can they drop the case without it even being heard? Do you have any suggestions for me on how I can possibly expedite my case. As of today, a year and three months later I still don't have a court date established. I would like to call my attorney but he will just tell me to be patient and charge me for .25 hour for the call. It is very frustrating! Should it take this long?

Asked on 2/17/98, 2:21 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Barbara C. Johnson Law Office of Barbara C. Johnson
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No modification, no mollification?

You have several problems:(1) to get the modification, (2) to learn what your atty has done thus far, (3) to learn on what basis the court allowed your husband's motion to dismiss the complaint for modification, and (4) what to do from here.(1) Ask your atty for a copy of the entire file. I suspect you have not received any copies of the pleasdings in it -- from the lack of info in your quesry.(2) Ask your atty to explain what has taken place? What he/she did? Dis he/she depose (ask in person) any questions of your husband? Did he/she ask any written questions of your husband?(3) If he/she does not answer your questions satisfactily and/or does not send the entire file to you, get a copy from court (albeit, more expensive way to go).(4) Go to another atty and have him/her review what happened.That new attorney, after reviewing the file, will be able to explain to you what happened and what now has to be done. I suspect many alternatives exist! Good luck!

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2/23/98, 9:04 pm
Ken Koury Kenneth P. Koury, Esq.
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Attorney At Law

I have seen this kind of thing before. it seems very clear that your attorney has fucked up the case and is lying to you about it. i would get another attorney to pull the court file right away and review it for you.

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2/23/98, 9:59 pm
Jonathan Schiff Self employed
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Waiting for Court date

I agree with Mr. Koury, but would like to add one thing. I am reluctant to say this because without knowing all the facts, I don't know all the facts. But it appears that you also might have a malpractice action resulting from the attorney's failure to process your case. You also might have grounds to file a complaint with the Bar Association.In any event, I would contact him one last time to see if he has a reasonable explanation for all of this and if not to please refund your money.

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2/24/98, 12:24 pm
Robert Friend Robert H. Friend, Attorney at Law
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Delinquent attorney

Sounds like an unresponsive attorney to me. And that's BAD! It may be time to (1) hire a new attorney (2) request a full refund of all fees paid to the other attorney and (3) file a complaint with the State Bar of his/her state. Two of the biggest complaints about us attorneys is that we (1) don't follow up and (2) don't let clients know what is going on. Now, if you've been a jerk to this attorney from the beginning, maybe he/she just doesn't have the nerve to fire YOU. But that still doesn't excuse unresponsiveness on the part of the attorney. Also, are you sure that you have been responsive to everything the attorney has asked you to do? I recently arbitrated a lawsuit where an attorney's former client complained that she had not stopped a foreclosure action against his office building. She (the attorney) countered that he, after numerous requests, had failed to give her even the name of the mortgage company so that she could do what he (the jerk client) wanted. I sincerly hope that you are not such a client (probably you aren't, you probably just have a dilatory lawyer who'd rather do something else - that's my guess - and that's VERY BAD!) Good luck!

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2/26/98, 10:00 am

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