What to do if the threat of criminal charges is being used to obtain a favorable divorce settlement?

I am going through a divorce, where my ex has filed false criminal charges against me. In a meeting with her attorney today, the attorney stated that if I signed their current settlement, my wife will not testify at trial and will drop the criminal charges against me so I can keep my job. Is this legal? I consider this a form of coercion/extortion/bribery, and completely unethical on the lawyers part.

Asked on September 6, 2011 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

Stan Helinski / McKinley Law Group

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Completely innapropriate but happens all the time unfortunately. The divorce lawyer can't get the results his or her client is requesting through competent means so must resort to more effective means.  The reason they do it is because it works.  Ask the lawyer to commit that offer in writing and you will consider it.  

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are correct that it is illegal and unethical for an attorney to attempt to gain an advantage in a civil case by threatening criminal charges.

You should contact the MA State Bar and file a complaint about this attorney.


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