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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? AZ

As you can well read from my previous posts, I had begun trying to domesticate my case from California to Arizona. I hired a lawyer in June, and paid him $1,200 -- a flat fee for that practice.

My ex husband ended up going back to California and reopening the 5 year old file there. He was a resident of Arizona at the time, and I told the judge that. The judge said that he doesn't think he has jurisdiction of this case, and I informed him of my already in motion plans to have it moved to the state the child lives in. He said great.

I came back to Arizona with that information, and an extra $1,000 as a good faith payment if it indeed needed to go to court, we were prepared.

Now, my lawyer filed the paperwork here. My ex husband filed a response in October (I know, what took so long...), and my lawyer called me up and told me what an expensive lawyer he had. I told him that it didn't make the things they said true, it just means he had the money to hire them. He has always seemed rather bully-ish, but I thought that it would be a good trait to have against my ex husband, because this lawyer barely lets you speak. I should have reconsidered.

I asked him to file a response to this, as it had many untruths to it. I didn't know my ex husband was planning on moving to California -- in fact, my ex husband told me he was moving to Colorado...and that we were being deceitful. I asked my lawyer to rebut all the accusations, and he agreed. He didn't ask for any more money, and this is still part of the domestication proceedings. As far as his payment contract, anything having to do with domestication was part of his flat fee. And, he had the extra $1,000. Do what we ask, right? Do what is expected.

We left several messages and never received a call back. We received a letter from my lawyer in late December, stating we had a Resolution Management Conference for January 26. I had not received anything else. No filings, no phone calls, no return messages returning our messages -- nothing. We thought we were prepared, because he obviously didn't need anything and believed in our case.

Well, Tuesday morning we receive a call from my lawyers secretary stating that the motion was dismissed. I asked how could it have been seen without stating our case, and she was polite and said she didn't know. I asked to keep our original appointment (the next morning was when we would have gone to court to appear), and she agreed. My mother, husband and I went into the office yesterday morning to find out how this could have occured, having all the documentation to back our claims. We thought that maybe we were missing something, maybe we didn't do enough. We entered his office and, without even speaking, he got defensive. I had my 4 year old daughter with me and am absolutely not confrontational. He started saying that it wasn't his fault, that the courts sometimes do this. I said ok, and asked why I didn't get a copy of the response that we filed so that I could read it and he said that I never asked for one. I told him that we have left many messages and he stated that he only could blame his office staff.
I asked to see the response he filed, and he said passively that it was this two page three paragraph response. It didn't even cover the issues that we spoke about over the phone, so I could understand why the courts would see it their way. He told me that the 6 page response that my ex husbands lawyer wrote cost my ex $10,000 and that we just didn't have that kind of money. Well, he never asked, and I certainly know full well that the response didn't cost that much to file.

We have $14,000 set aside to fight this matter. He never stated that it would be more than $1,200 to domesticate it, and never even told us that he required more to respond in the matter. If we would have been told this, we would have made sure our case was heard, not just dismissed because this lawyer only thought we didn't have any money.

After he berated me, my mother (to the point of tears and in front of my daughter), and my husband, we stood up to leave feeling like we had just wasted 7 months of our lives. We have the resources, we have the documentation, we have the right to be heard. We feel like we were cast aside, because we were judged as un wealthy, deeming us (in his eyes), not important enough to put an effort forth.

What is our course of recourse? We understand that the court was just not given enough information to make their decision, and don't blame them and we aren't thinking this is a defeat. We are truly flabbergasted that we were treated like mere scum, talked down to like we were less than human. I strongly feel he did an unethical thing by prejudging our financial situation, and not fully preparing and defending our case because he assumed we didn't have the money to back it up.

Please, if any of you have had a similar experience or know how to handle this one, let me know. I have contacted other lawyers in the area and plan to complain to the State Bar of Arizona. Is there anything else I can do to assure this doesn't happen again to anyone else?


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