Just In: Why It?!

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The attorney on a divorce case was schmoozing some female-staff and paralegals at the end of the hall during most of the mediation, and smelled faintly of Bourbon. Sounded normal when speaking though. But when he came back from the kitchen area, he was encouraging the divorce settlement that ignored *really* vast amounts of documentation (and very substantial cash-assets) and the divorce-plaintiff’s question was: “Really? Sign this? Is it all good? Is it fair and complete?”
Him: “Yes, it’s a great deal, it’s all legit, just trust me.”
Plaintiff: “But there’s a $1.2M retirement account that shows one penny in it now. Five other accounts with unknown balances. A stock portfolio with twenty years worth of different tech and Blue Chip stocks that’s empty now. And you’re not going to mention any of that?”
Him: “Nahhhh, that’s not worth fighting over.”
True story….in case you’re waiting for the punchline, there isn’t one.
The next day, he’s sober and VERY apologetic, and admits that he might have let $300,000+ get away AND he didn’t know it was a $3.2M estate being mediated* – AND – he didn’t know why she was divorcing Mr. Silk Suit to begin with. Truthfully, he never even looked at the documentation. The attorney I’m talking about, never looked, didn’t notice any of this.
*He took a verbal DRFA from opposing counsel who presented the estate division at 1.2M TOTAL, not $3.2M
So here’s the problem: It’s that when you sign a settlement in mediation; even before mediation is really finished, if you sign anything at all, the document is binding. It would be (and this is true!) even if your attorney is drunk and ADMITS it – *that* document; which he advised you to sign: Is incontrovertibly, enforceable and legally binding too.
There’s no way for the sold-out divorce-plaintiff to talk to the judge, either. Even if there was, the drunk attorney stays in the way trying to prevent a conversation with the judge where she explains he advised her to take a pass on all of their estate equity probably because he was high.
So there’s no way out. Your opponent crushes it.
Well, there *IS* one way. Filing a ‘motion to set aside’ which means that the Settlement was signed with one spouse acting in bad faith, misrepresentation or other malfeasance WHICH RESULTS IN A DOCUMENT NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF CHILDREN IN THE EQUATION.
So, two things: This drunk attorney who mediated a document that has her moving from East Cobb, down to Oakland City (if she wants to stay in Georgia at all), or spending her entire retirement to stay in this school district, and now, she needs advice on another attorney who will stay sober *AND* not drag this out for another year. AND pick up the case before (or after) the Motion to Set Aside. And that’s only if the Motion is allowed.
There are a couple things I *cannot* tell you about the participants in this case, but your blood would effing boil if I did. Like the fact that she’s leaving the marriage because he is an abuser, and she is only a five-figure earner; a school teacher. He wears a silk suit to the Country Club and works for Wells-Fargo at $250,000/year.
She doesn’t think so: But I think Mr. Silk Suit, our financially-gifted defendant gave plaintiff’s attorney a substantial bribe to torpedo her settlement. It’s the only way I could explain why the attorney wouldn’t even review the documents in the case and encouraged her to sign such a very bad deal.
I also think saying “I was drunk” is better for the career and/or jail than: “I was paid off.”
SO THIS: If you know a divorce attorney who is good at ‘moving cases’, experienced in Cobb courts, pretty-much-truthful, SOBER, THOROUGH, and as ethical as lawyers can be: I’d like to know about him or her.
Or if you’re ‘Besties’ with the judge on the case, Judge Childs…. hahaha