Going through a divorce is exhausting. The process is overwhelming and complicated. Naturally, you want to rely upon your divorce lawyer to get through it and ensure that you end up with the best possible outcome. Unfortunately, legal malpractice divorce settlement does happen.

You may feel something is off. You may wonder if your lawyer has done everything they can to get the best possible outcome or if they may not act in your best interest. If that is the case, your lawyer may be involved in legal practice.

What Makes It Actionable Legal Malpractice?

Family law cases can be difficult to assess malpractice. It is essentially a case within a case and proving that a mistake was made in the first place is something difficult on its own.

Something might be a mistake for a law practitioner but a strategy for another. There is always the risk of failure in every strategy and court case.

That being said, when a divorce lawyer made mistake that causes their client loss of potential damages or financial loss, then it could be actionable legal malpractice.

When it comes to custody, child support, or alimony, a person can always petition the court for a modification. Meaning, the damages they suffer as a result of their lawyer’s mistake can be limited.

This, however, might not be the case when it comes to asset division, which is final when the court approves a divorce.

Disagreeing with your divorce lawyer’s practices or being unhappy with your divorce settlement are not grounds for a legal malpractice divorce settlement. To be considered legal practice, your lawyer’s actions must cause you economic harm and they must be negligent or involved in illegal practices.

You Can Sue Your Divorce Attorney, But…

You Can Sue Your Divorce Attorney, But…

Divorce law can be a difficult area for legal malpractice claims. The reason is that in most situations, the alimony, custody, or child support settlements can be modified again by the court.

If you are not happy with your lawyer or you believe that they have made a mistake, it is wise to get a second opinion on the matter or hire another domestic lawyer. The new lawyer may be able to fix the problem.

If that is the case, then there is probably no ground for a legal malpractice claim as there would be no damages caused by the first lawyer’s alleged mistake.

Note that even if the mistake can be corrected by the second lawyer, you might still have a claim for the attorney’s fees and expenses which could have been avoided had the first not made the mistake.

If you want to sue your divorce lawyer, you would want to hire another domestic lawyer for a legal malpractice divorce settlement or at least consult with them.

The new lawyer should be able to determine if something is not fixable or modifiable or if the first lawyer may have breached a fiduciary duty.

If It Can’t Be Fixed or Modified

If It Can’t Be Fixed or Modified

If the second divorce lawyer determines that something can’t be fixed or modified, you may have a legal malpractice divorce settlement claim to discuss. Compensatory damages would be the value of the mistake caused by the first lawyer.

Ideally, you want to show damages in quantifiable terms i.e. dollars and cents. The damages, however, could be something hard to define or quantify.

If the issue can be modified, any divorce malpractice attorney will recommend that the client consult with another divorce lawyer to try to fix the issue and mitigate the damage. While you can sue your divorce lawyer, it is wise to consult with another divorce lawyer to discuss your situation first.

How to Win a Legal Malpractice Divorce Settlement

To win a malpractice case, you have to prove two things. First, you have to prove that a mistake was made, and second, prove that the mistake made a difference.

If the mistake can be corrected and after the correction, a judge reaches the same conclusion, then that can be seen as evidence that the mistake was inconsequential and it didn’t result in damages.

In most cases, if the mistake doesn’t change the outcome then it won’t amount to malpractice. That being said, in some cases legal fees can be recovered plus the limited damages suffered.

Legal malpractice divorce settlement happens. The above insights should help you to determine whether your divorce lawyer is involved in legal practice or not.  

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