Posted on: 23 November 2016
Many individuals seeking divorce are advised to geographically lock their spouse out of finding a lawyer in their area. Though this happening to you doesn't preclude you from finding a lawyer eventually, it can be very detrimental to your case. You may not be able to use the best or most popular attorney, and you may lose precious time while searching. But this type of tactic is fairly well known, and there are some things you can do to protect yourself.
Determining Whether You're Geo-Locked
When you call attorneys after being geo-locked, they may respond that they cannot talk to you because there would be a conflict of interests. In general, what has happened is that your spouse has sat down with this attorney and discussed your divorce with them. This may have been either a paid or free consultation, but regardless, this now means that the attorney is aware of the other side of your divorce. Because of this, they cannot legally represent you. If an attorney simply declines your case, it's your right to ask them why they have declined it.
Go Over into the Next County
The challenge with this type of tactic is that many lawyers do not want to go to court in another county. But if you find a city that is right on the border of your county, you may actually find a lawyer that is closer to your courthouse than they would be in a city that's within your county. When people attempt to block their spouses out of lawyers in their area, they usually just search city by city. Moving into a different city could be enough to let you find an attorney that has not yet been involved.
Look for Free Legal Services
Legal-aid services are generally not one of the first places a person looks for a divorce attorney. Because of this, they're actually an excellent resource. A legal-aid service may be aware of divorce attorneys that are not listed or that would not have been the first that your spouse called. They may even be able to offer up counsel on your behalf.
Make Sure Your Attorney Knows You Were Geo-Locked
It's very important that the attorney that you do find knows that your spouse is using these types of tactics. A spouse that has attempted to lock you out of counsel is also likely to be one who is hiding money or otherwise "playing to win." Your attorney can also advise the court that this has been done to you. Courts are well aware of this strategy and have a generally low opinion of those who use it.
As noted, judges do not look favorably upon this type of issue—it's more likely to cost your spouse in the long run than it is to cost you. But that doesn't mean that you don't need to be both aggressive and proactive. Finding an attorney such as one from Garrett & Silvey Law Firm as soon as possible is absolutely critical in a messy divorce, regardless of how many extra steps doing so may take you.Share