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Family Law Matter - Legal Counsel Duty to Respond

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by GS770, 12 May 2015.

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  1. GS770

    GS770 Member

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    Hi. I am representing myself in a family law matter and my former spouse's legal representatives are refusing to respond to important communications. Is there a statute or rule that compels them to respond?
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, there isn't really anything compelling legal representatives to respond to your correspondence, but it's considered poor form ethically to ignore. In the same token, it may be the case that the other party has directed them not to respond to your communications.

    I suppose the best way to address the situation is to inform the solicitor of your intentions and then indicate a reasonable period of time in which you expect them to respond, following which you will act on your intentions.

    Are you receiving any correspondence directly from your former spouse?
     
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  3. GS770

    GS770 Member

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    Thanks for that! They have been informed that I am representing myself, and have sent me a couple of communications, but having difficulty getting anything out of them. I do also communicate directly with my former spouse on practical matters, however on important legal questions, such as a serious breach of the parenting orders that occurred, dispute over custody on a particular day and a proposal for a settlement, I am dealing with her lawyers. My assumption is that if I am contacting them about an important legal matter, they have as much of a duty to respond to me as they would if they received something from my legal representation. Certainly I would not expect them to respond were I vexatiously contacting them regarding frivolous matters, however this is certainly not the case here.

    The last letter I sent indicated a requested timeline for a response, so hopefully I will get something back.

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    The most effective communication with opposing legal representatives is sometimes not to ask questions, but rather to tell them what the problem is.

    For example, if the other party withholds the child's time with you, contact the other party first and propose a suitable solution, such as make-up time. If the other party is unwilling to negotiate, then contact the solicitor, stating what orders was breached on what date and what action you intend to take the rectify the problem, or what action you want them to take to ensure similar issues do not occur in future.

    Remember, it costs a client money every time their legal representative receives correspondence, and it costs again when they send correspondence back, so since it's not you paying the solicitor to answer your questions, it's somewhat understandable that they may not respond to questions when you send them. This is why I suggest taking a 'don't ask, tell' approach, if that makes sense. :)
     
  5. GS770

    GS770 Member

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    Thanks so much for your help!!
     

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