If my lawyer stinks andI don’t have much money, what should Ido?

My husband of 20 years wants a divorce. I don’t know anything about our finances (bills or bank accounts). He has a business and sole ownership of the house. I have no employable skills but my mother loaned me $2000 to retain a lawyer who filed for the divorce. This lawyer also sat through a mediation where a temporary spousal maintenance agreement was drawn up but never signed. Now my lawyer (hired out of the phone book) wants a second retainer and my mother only has $5000 more to loan me. What do I do? Hire a PI? He’s hired a lawyer and is saying he’s broke though he had $400,00.

Asked on December 5, 2010 under Family Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your position as it is and that the attorney that you hired did not do anything for you.  You may want to consider asking him for an accounting of his services based upon the retainer and if it sounds like it is not right, look in to what you can do about it with another attorney.  In the meantime, you sound as if you may qualify for legal aid or a legal services in your area.  Go and check it out.  Also, see if any of the local bar associations have pro bono programs (free legal services) or a reduced fee program.  Also try clinic programs at local law schools.  Good luck.

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