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The Overzealous Advocate: Case Closed

Five years of litigation. Five Temporary and/or Motions Hearings. Three mediations. And a one-day Trial.

Finding himself recounting his grueling divorce after receiving an e-mail from his attorney with one last Court Order attached, T.J. leaned back in his office chair and reflected a bit before he opened the attachment.

He never thought he’d see the light at the end of the tunnel. By year three of his divorce, he wanted off the merry-go-round that his estranged wife was co-creating with her attorney—the third one she hired since the beginning of litigation. The incessant, stubborn litigiousness was enough for T.J. to heavily contemplate walking away and giving in to his estranged wife’s demands; almost being the operative word.

Invigorated by a successful Motions Hearing and Trial, and as they waited for the Court to issue its final order declaring T.J. and his wife divorced, T.J. and his attorney formulated a plan to recuperate all of the attorney’s fees T.J. had expended in contending with the abusive litigation tactics of the opposing side. Giving his attorney the green light to file a Motion for Attorney’s Fees under O.C.G.A. § 9-15-14, T.J. decided he was finally going to follow through on his threats to seek attorney’s fees for his soon-to-be ex-wife’s frivolous claims and unjustified delay.

The Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce came down from the Superior Court in the Fall and by the end of the season, T.J.’s attorney had filed his Motion for Attorney’s Fees. T.J. recalls reading through a copy of the Motion and feeling the frustration that he continuously pushed down for five years boil to the surface. It wasn’t until this trip down memory lane when T.J. recognized the shift from frustration to empowerment.

At the Post-judgment Hearing on T.J.’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees, T.J. listened as his attorney laid out the grounds for the fee request to the Court and introduced detailed invoices chronicling the battles T.J. was forced to fight due to his insatiable wife and her overzealous advocate. His ex-wife’s nonsensical pleadings and positions taken during litigation sounded even more ridiculous when read aloud.

With the Post-judgment Hearing in T.J.’s rearview mirror, the time for the merry-go-round to shut down had come. T.J. sat up in his chair, opened the e-mail from his attorney and clicked on the PDF file. As he deciphered the words in the Order, T.J. felt his tense body relax. The Court had granted his request for a reimbursement of thousands of dollars in fees as recompense for his ex-wife’s abusive litigation practices. Further, not only was his ex-wife found liable for these fees but also her attorney was required to share in the repayment.

T.J. sat back in his office chair, buried his head in his hands, and let out an audible sigh of relief. Suddenly, T.J.’s life seemed a bit brighter, a bit clearer. In this moment, T.J. experienced a feeling that had for so long seemed out of reach.

Ah, closure.

Kourtney Bernard-Rance