How long can a former attorney of mine hold my documents?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How long can a former attorney of mine hold my documents?

I was divorced June 2012 in Westchester county. It turns out that my ex-husband didn’t report all his income and I’m now going to go after it. My former lawyer will not release the documents she has and I no longer have the 20 boxes of documents at my disposal. The last time I emailed her she replied, go to the county court. I inquired. They do not have the documents. How can I retreive them?

Asked on December 3, 2018 under Family Law, Texas


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your former attorney is violating the rules of professional responsibility by failing to release the documents to you. Your recourse is to file a complaint with the NY State Bar. No attorney wants problems with the State Bar, and a phone call or letter from the State Bar may prompt the attorney to release your documents. A client has a right to obtain his/her file from an attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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