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This is one of the rare cases we take involving divorce. It arises out of an attorney’s negligent handling of client’s dissolution of a 30 year marriage. The dissolution was complicated, complex, and involved the tracing of many millions of dollars in community property funds, most of which our client’s ex-husband had misappropriated. Client’s attorney had virtually no family law experience and was not a regular practitioner in Santa Clara County (where the dissolution action was filed).  As a result of attorney’s negligent handling of the dissolution action over the course of four plus years, our client, who was virtually destitute, received no temporary spousal support, and no attorney’s fees. We claimed that when it was clear that client could no longer pay her attorney, the attorney abandoned her and substituted out as client’s attorney leaving client with no option but to enter into a very disadvantageous settlement agreement with her ex-husband.

The settlement resulted in client receiving only a fraction of what she was entitled to receive under California community property laws. This case went to trial before a Santa Clara County jury which found in favor of our client, but awarded only $187,000 in damages, finding that the client was comparatively at fault.  The case was confidentially settled post-trial for a larger amount than the jury awarded.