How to fight paying ex's attorney's fees when going pro se

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Latest post 12-13-2008 3:32 PM by chloezoe. 18 replies.
  • 12-09-2008 12:52 AM

    Question [=?] How to fight paying ex's attorney's fees when going pro se

    As some may know, my ex is taking me back to court for modification of child support. OK. No problem.

    She is asking for her attorney fees based on the disparity between our incomes (her $0, me $120K). OK. Problem. Big problem.

    I am going pro se, and am wondering if anyone has any thoughts on how I can effectively argue NOT paying for her attorney fees to modify support?

    It's not my fault I'm working and make a living and she would rather stay at home with our kid- so why should I have to pay when it is her CHOICE not to work? I don't want to come across in court like a jerk, but I also don't want to pay the $4K for her attorney when I'm not paying for my own attorney- which pretty much seals the deal on that. I do not want to pay an attorney to fight a modification she will most likely get and then have to pay for her attorney fees as well. Big fat waste of 10K (my attorney is asking for 6K) in my opinion.

    Thoughts?


  • 12-09-2008 2:57 AM In reply to

    re: How to fight paying ex's attorney's fees when going pro se

    I would argue that she brought this motion to court not you. So you shouldnt be obligated as you hae done everything asked of you. (if thats the case)

    If you were in contempt and she had to file a motion to enforce judgment then I can see her arguement. but that seems not to be the case?

    I had "attorneys fees can only be requested if opposing party is forced to file a motion to enforce judgement" put in my marital settlement agreement to ensure this didnt happen to me. I knew my ex would continue to take me to court.
  • 12-09-2008 7:09 AM In reply to

    More [=+=] Supplemental Declaration by ex has new info....


    My ex has stated more issues in her declaration that because of my kid's recent medical issues she can't work and now needs guideline support AND her attorney fees paid.

    It's just getting and more and more ridiculous the amount of money she wants from me or for me to pay!
  • 12-09-2008 12:44 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Supplemental Declaration by ex has new info....

    I would remind the courts that she is voluntarily underemployed, she brought this motion on, and that you do not have an attorney and it was the ex's choice to pay for an attorney therefore she should be responsible for her own legal fees.

    good luck with this, she sounds greedy. Wants you to support the child 100% and her. Do you at least get to claim the kid on taxes? Please keep us updatd on your success. As fas as her saying she has to stay home with the child, offer to babysit the child part time and see if mom can go find some part time work with flexible hours. That may show the courts that mom just is not interested in holding a job. Hopefully an income is being put in for her.
  • 12-09-2008 1:24 PM In reply to

    re: Supplemental Declaration by ex has new info....

    "good luck with this, she sounds greedy"

    Does anyone remember the poster's endless complaints that Mom accepted LESS than guideline amounts IF the poster would come and visit the baby? But poster reneged time and time again on the deal? Hardly greedy.

    I'm afraid the court is not going to have any sympathy as it was your own reneging that brought you back to court with lawyer's fees. Your large salary won't get you any empathy either. You can afford it. Pay the guideline and visit when you can.
  • 12-10-2008 9:43 AM In reply to

    re: Supplemental Declaration by ex has new info....

    If she has no job and still wants an increase in CS, that is greedy. She files the motions and wants him to pay for her attorney fees when he has no counsel, does not make sense. If she needs more money she is free to get a job again.
  • 12-10-2008 12:38 PM In reply to

    Please READ the post

    "If she has no job"

    ...had you read poster's previous posts, you would know Mom's income has ALREADY been IMPUTED in this mess.

    "and still wants an increase in CS, that is greedy"

    What in the world is "greedy" about guideline support?! That is the law. She isn't asking for support herself; just GUIDELINE amounts the law has prescribed. AND she asked for LESS than guideline just to make him happy if he'd promise to see the child. That was STIPULATED in the order. NOT an increase.

    "She files the motions and wants him to pay for her attorney fees when he has no counsel, does not make sense" He reneged AND has counsel.

    If you READ the post, you will notice poster contradicts himself (again!) by claiming he has no attorney, then claims HIS attorney wants $4000!
    Obviously there is an issue with veracity here.

    "If she needs more money she is free to get a job again."

    REPEAT: her income has already been IMPUTED to her.

    MOM followed the existing order accepting UNDER guideline support; it was the poster who reneged on the order...that's why he has to pay. It's very simple.

    It would really help alot if responders would actually read the postings; some seem to go off on a tangent totally unrelated to the issue ignoring the specific details, while addressing a different issue seemingly all in their imagination.

    This must be disheartening to many posters; it is understandable when they post their version of "War and Peace" (in one paragraph!), but there is no excuse when the post is a few sentences long.

    No excuses for non-compliance.

  • 12-10-2008 3:05 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 48,908

    re: Please READ the post

    I think you have two big problems NOT well suite to pro se arguements.

    1. Yo apparently do not visit but got offset for CS for visitations--this I suspect will run against you unless you assertively visit on par with order well before court time.

    2. Her inability or unwillingness to work may get a sympathy vote if the child needs expensive care.
    I thought theyimputedan incometo Mom--be careful it doesn't get argued to zero under some sort of chaild care offset logic.

    3. Based on all your posts there seems to be pleanty of dirty linen to go around--which is not unusaul for an adversary situation---but keep in mind court may decide on basis of providing what child needs--so you best clean up portions of your act and keep it clean.



  • 12-10-2008 3:14 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Please READ the post


    As the father, why complain about guideline support? It is your responsibility no matter how much $$ is ordered to support your kids. Period.

    You loose credibility on the board, and come across as not wanting to support your kids when you complain about guideline.


    Trust me, I learned VERY quickly when first posting on this site, that the senior members will be more inclined to help answer your questions if they feel you are an upstanding law abiding father.

    Although you may not agree, you have no basis to complain about guideline.



  • 12-12-2008 3:01 PM In reply to

    I'm visiting now..thanks for the help!

    I'm visiting my kid this weekend and will visit every month until we go to court. I am working on my schedule with work and have got it worked out to come out monthly and work from home. So, again, I have effectively taken my ex's arguement of me not visiting monthly away.

    The off-set for my child support was a verbal agreement- it is not written in the stipulated order; therefore I am not in contempt. Why is this so hard for everyone to understand. It is my word against hers if it comes down to it.

    Some people on these boards are obviously man-haters. I didn't ask anything other than thoughts on how to go about defending myself against paying attorney fees.

    Thanks again for all the opinions.
  • 12-12-2008 3:06 PM In reply to

    Agree [=|=] re: Please READ the post

    Thanks for your insight.

    I understand that I may earn more respect from others or they will answer my posts if I say the right thing. Well, I don't always say the right thing, but I still appreciate the responses and the "schooling" as to what I SHOULD be saying or doing.

    I do have a hard time understanding how a kid that's not even 2 years old needs $1700 a month, just because I'm a make a good living. That's insane. I can't help but want to argue with that because I do not want to support my ex sitting at home living off my income when it's for my kid.

    I won't go to court with that attitude. I understand. I will go to court and accept guidelines, but will ask for reimbursement (half) of my travel expenses each month (which is about $1200) that I visit.

    Thanks again.




  • 12-12-2008 3:14 PM In reply to

    re: I'm visiting now..thanks for the help!

    "I'm visiting my kid this weekend and will visit every month until we go to court." "So, again, I have effectively taken my ex's arguement of me not visiting monthly away."

    Hardly. Do you really think no one but you notices you only followed the agreement when hit with a lawsuit and will drop the visits if you were to "win" (which won't happen)?

    I'd love to know what kind of job pays 120k with so little gray matter involved.

    "Some people on these boards are obviously man-haters." Sorry, we give the same responses to everyone who reneges on their agreements. Gender is irrelevant.

    "I didn't ask anything other than thoughts on how to go about defending myself against paying attorney fees."

    There really is no defense; you clearly have the funds.

    When one reneges on an agreement - forcing the other party into litigation- the attorney fees are paid by the reneging party...it's basic law.



  • 12-12-2008 4:58 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: I'm visiting now..thanks for the help!

    [There really is no defense; you clearly have the funds. ]

    I just want to comment on this statement. Income is not the only factor that determines one's ability to pay attorney fees.

    Just because someone is working (and earning $120k no less) does NOT mean that they make enough money to pay all their expenses and it does NOT show whether or not they own any assets of any disposable value.

    I am not too far from this poster's income and my ex does not work (at least according to her declarations). Our child has an attorney, she has an attorney and I cannot afford one - yet I am the only one working! Go figure.

    I will add that I have NEVER been ordered to pay her attorney fees despite her many requests. I am hoping that somehow I will be able to convince the court that SHE should share some of her mysterious legal funds (or sell some Persian rugs) so that I can retain counsel according to the policy of law.

    On the other hand, I have been ordered, from time to time, to advance costs of various court ordered services and evaluations, subject to reallocation. That is the price (temporary price, one hopes) one pays for being honest when reporting how much is left in the bank.

    In other respects I am sure that my case is quite different. I have no advice for the poster other than to say that a large income disparity does not automatically ensure that one party's request for attorney fees will be granted.
  • 12-12-2008 5:04 PM In reply to

    Question [=?] Scare tactics regarding attorney fees...

    Thanks for your post. I keep getting scare tactics on the board and it seems that getting attorney fees paid is relatively hard to do- especially if this is the first time. At least that's the other side of the story I've heard, so I'm not too worried about it. I feel confident she won't get it.

    "On the other hand, I have been ordered, from time to time, to advance costs of various court ordered services and evaluations, subject to reallocation."

    Can you explain this a little better- what types of services/evaluations would you have to pay for in advance? Does your ex pay in advance? Or is it completely on you since you have the "income"? Doesn't seem fair that those of us that work for a living have to come up with the all the money first.


  • 12-12-2008 5:18 PM In reply to

    re: Scare tactics regarding attorney fees...

    Last year I asked for her to undergo a vocational evaluation. My request was granted but I was ordered to advance the full cost (I had the money at the time). Ex did not undergo the evaluation but used a doctor's excuse to violate the court's order. Recent trial resulted in her being ordered again to begin such an evaluation by a certain deadline. This time we were ordered to pay equally and separately.

    This is one example.

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