Fort Erie, ON
reply to markf
Re: [Excessive/unfair] lawyer [fees].........unreal.
said by markf:$300/hour for a lawyer is pretty normal. Expensive is $800/hour.
Either way, she hired a $300/hour lawyer knowing the rate. She signed the mortgage papers for the bill approaching $100K with no other assets backing it. I'm guessing he didn't have any assets which a legal claim could be brought against at the time before bankruptcy. She could have hired a more affordable lawyer as well.
The issue I see is that the court ordered her former common-law spouse to pay all legal fees. He then went bankrupt. It all comes down to who is owed the legal fees, and I don't quite understand how the lawyer can collect on someone for which the court has ordered is not liable for payments, regardless of who holds the mortgage. Is the debt due to his former common-law wife for those fees, or directly to her lawyer? If they're due directly to her lawyer and the guy went backrupt to get out of paying those fees, too bad so sad for the lawyer. That's what happens when a debtor goes bankrupt.
I would assume that the way things were worded was the lawyer is protected no matter what (especially with the mortgage). I know my agreement was such and that any monies received from any settlement or agreement would pay of the legal bills before I saw a penny of it. My lawyer was smart enough to know she wasn't getting paid $100k plus if I lost (and if I won there were a number of assets worth a few hundred K to pay the bills).
She should have known enough about his financial situation to understand that a $100k settlement would bankrupt him. And knowing that fact as an outsider shows me that he probably would have taken a chunk of cash as "buyout" money to walk away. He may have known all along he was going to lose, but since he felt like a ruined man anyways, he decided to take her down with him.
The key word I think is that she thought she "won". Again, there is no winning unless you are a lawyer or have reams of cash to blow.