Is my divorce final if I never fully paid my lawyer?

UPDATED: Oct 21, 2010

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Is my divorce final if I never fully paid my lawyer?

I was married and divorced in CA. My divorce was final in 1999.  I was enlisted in the military both when I got married and when the divorce became final. When I received my honorable discharge in 2000, my focus was on moving back to AZ, so my outstanding lawyer fees went on the back burner. It’s been 10+ years, and neither my attorney of record or my ex have contacted me in any way. I would like to get in front of this matter now, to prevent any complications at a later and less convenient time.

Asked on October 21, 2010 under Family Law, Arizona


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

It is difficult to answer this question.  The finality of the divorce may or may not be related to the filing of the paperwork. If the attorney stopped doing work on the file because he had no retainer left then maybe the answer is yes.  But there is no direct correlation to payment and finality if the paperwork was in.  Am I making myself clear?  What you can do now is to contact the attorney to straighten out the matter.  If you can not locate him or her then contact the state department that licenses attorneys. You can also check with the California Courts (in the county in which the matter was filed) as to the statue and if the final order or decree was signed.   

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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