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Peas of the Pod 3: The Divorce Lawyer

Posted Jul 22 2008 8:22pm
Here is one of the early DivorcingDaze columns that led to our podcast, this one about the high cost of divorce, paying for my divorce lawyer's vacation, and how I learned to be REALLY, REALLY cranky...

I donât think you can write a divorce column and not have one piece focus on The Divorce Lawyer. Theyâre a breed unto their own.  Iâm gonna come clean: I donât like mine.


She just called to ask me why Iâve been cranky recently?  I swear.  Those were her exact words.  CRANKY!     As if itâs not bad enough that X resorts to name calling on occasion, but my lawyer? I now feel a special bond with my 4year old â it IS frustrating when the person of power asks why you are cranky.

Isnât it obvious why?

Ok. So she wants to know why Iâm cranky? Take a deep breath.  At 400 dollars an hour she needs that question answered?  Iâm going through a divorce, after all. Of course Iâm cranky!  Doesnât she get it? The only person who seems to be getting anything they want in this divorce -- is my lawyer!  My life savings have been drained down to less than what I had when I was the 15-year-old neighborhood babysitter!   And my lawyer has it all.   Did she really just ask me that question??? 

I wonder if she is going to bill me for posing, âWHY AM I CRANKY?â?  After all, she billed me 40 bucks when she went on her Aspen ski vacation because she chose to tell her firmâs partner that âshould  my clientâs husbandâs lawyer call while Iâm away, tell her that Iâll be back in two weeks.â?  Really â I was charged for that inner office conversation.  For her vacation.   But I guess it was all worth it because I got to see a picture of my lawyer slash ski bunny on the Aspen slopes at a later meeting.   It looked like it was a lot of fun.

Then there was that 40 buck charge for the voicemail I left.  I think I said, âmy husband is giving his lawyer his offer letter from his new job today and youâll be getting it shortly.â?

I was also charged 900 bucks for a letter that never went out because â we changed tactics.â?  I was charged 500 dollars for a memo I was not allowed to see.   Apparently a law student poorly wrote a summary regarding a legal question I had about the charge of adultery.  Only I was not allowed to see the memo because my lawyer didnât like the quality of the writing. In fact, my attorney told me she was aghast at the low level of writing. That cost 40 bucks.  So she gave me the option to either spend more money for a more experienced attorney to clean up the memo or spend 200 dollars for her to verbally summarize the poorly written document. I opted for curtain number two.

In the last three months, Iâve been charged about 5K for miscellaneous lawyerly things like postage, fax, poorly written memos, etc. etc.  Yet nothing in my case has transpired.  Not one proposal has actually been sent out to opposing counsel. Just one lonely letter sent out to say we were working on things, please be patient. 120 bucks. 

No sense of closure on the horizon.  No light at the end of my tunnel.   Just more double digit charges for stamps, phone messages and emails.  The black hole in process only leads me to invent more legal questions for my attorney  -- and more charges.  The lack of definition concerning visitation and financials bombards my cranky home.  And then more questions. At an average of 250 a pop.

Iâm actually a little surprised I havenât been charged for all the tissues Iâve cried upon during the âtacticalâ? meetings between blubbering client and attorney.  Maybe thereâs hope.

But if I find out that on my next invoice, Iâve been charged the minimum 40 bucks (or probably more, because this phone conversation might have squeaked past the six minute mark) for my attorney to call and ask the oh-so-obvious question of why I AM CRANKY...Iâm gonna, well Iâm gonnaâ.stomp my foot, join my daughterâs brigade and get â.reallyâ.REALLYâ..  REALLY â.CRANKY!

And then Iâll call my therapist for help -- only 150 bucks for 50 minutes.  A New York City bargain.

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