What happens if someone doesn’t show up for court because they never paid their lawyer, so he never informed them they had a court date for contempt?

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What happens if someone doesn’t show up for court because they never paid their lawyer, so he never informed them they had a court date for contempt?

Our son-in-law is in contempt of separation papers and being sued for not paying support and cancelling special-needs child ins. Atty told our daughter he informed x’s attorney and never heard back (papers weren’t served to x). Atty told us that x probably never paid his attorney and would be served a bench warrant if he doesnt show up for court. Will the court enforce this if the x wasn’t notified by his attorney, because he never PAID his attorney from past stuff? it is out of state and expensive for her to go to court..if nothing will happen in her favor. Our atty is terrible and slow 🙁

Asked on April 29, 2009 under Family Law, North Carolina


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 14 years ago | Contributor

Then you need a new attorney, plain and simple if your atty is terrible and slow.  Further, you should report your lawyer to the bar.  In terms of what happens with the other attorney/son-in-law situation:

1. What states is the proceeding -- i.e., where is the exe's lawyer?

2. What does the ethics rules of lawyers state in that situation?

3. In most family law cases, if he has a reason he was in contempt, he would/should hire another lawyer to have the contempt charges.warrants dropped.

4. In terms of lawyer not showing up because he never paid his lawyer: first, in most states, that cannot be a sufficient reason to effectively withdraw from representation and leave the client hanging and SECOND, in most states, payments are made in family law cases so that this sort of thing doesn't happen. 


For a new lawyer for you: www.attorneypages.com and/or the North Carolina state bar.  In terms of reporting your lawyer, in many states, some of the fees you paid out may be recoverable under some sort of fund.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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