In many cases, hiring an attorney can pay for itself, making us extremely affordable. I’ll give you an example.
A couple of months ago, a client came to me to talk about a contempt action his ex-wife had filed against him. She was seeking $8,000.00 in medical expenses incurred for treating their oldest son about a year before.
I quickly resolved that the client did not need to pay the $8,000.00. First, his son had become the age of majority about two years before, so the client was not responsible for any medical expenses, past the age of majority. Second, the parties divorce agreement specified that the parties had to agree on incurring any medical expense for their children and, if they didn’t, they were to submit the issue to an aribitrator. The ex-wife had followed none of this protocol; she had just sent the boy off to the facility. And three, the expenses were not really related to any medical treatment at all. The facility was really a hyped up summer camp. So we saved the client the $8,000.00.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
As I discussed the case with the client, I learned that his divorce agreement imposed $2,500.00 per month in child support for the parties’ two children. The oldest one had “timed out” about two years ago. That entitled the client to a modification of his child support. But even more importantly, the younger child had moved in with the client about two years ago. That is another reason to modify the client’s child support. The client had continued paying child support because the parties’ divorce agreement simply stated that child support would continue until both children were of age. One had not yet come of age, so the client thought he was probably still obligated. He was because a court had yet to say otherwise, but that would soon change.
But that is only a bit more of the iceberg.
Next, I learned that the client was paying lifetime alimony. He and his ex-wife had been married for quite some time and, when they divorced, he was making a significant sum of money and the ex had been a stay at home mom. The parties agreed upon $4,500 each month until either died or the ex-wife remarried.
About two years ago, the ex-wife moved a boyfriend into her house. (This was the reason the younger child had moved out.) According to the children, both of whom were now living with the client, the ex-wife and her boyfriend often referred to each other as fiance’s and sometimes referred to each other as wife and husband. They were not getting married because the ex-wife knew that would cease her alimony.
What she didn’t know, and the client didn’t know, is that Georgia provides that living in a meretricious relationship is a statutory grounds to terminate alimony. But I knew that.
We were off to the races.
First, we stopped child support. That saved the client $60,000.00.
Next, we filed a suit for modification/termination of the alimony. We engaged in discovery with the ex-wife, her “fiance” and their bankers. Without going into too much detail about all that we uncovered (including a lovely picture of the ex-wife taken by her “fiance'” as she wore her lovely wedding ring, suffice it to say that we had goods to stop alimony. End of story.
This saved the client approximately $1,620,000.00.
The client was understandably quite thankful of our firm’s work. For our attentiveness and diligence we had saved him a huge sum of money that he could spend on much better things, like his children.
The client was also quite thankful to his ex-wife for having the audacity to sue him for $8,000 he never owed. Oops.
You see, we attorneys can be quite worthwhile, and extremely affordable!