To refuse to write legal letters for DH as he's too tight to pay a solicitor?

(138 Posts)
Momentumista Fri 25-Nov-16 09:26:22

Dh has been having letters from his ex-wife’s solicitor relating to the payments he’s making her. He has expected me to respond to these letters. I have no legal training and they advised him to get his own legal advice. He then consulted a parent of DS friend who is a solicitor. He agreed to help draft a response, and DH gave me to understand said parent had agreed to help him for free – I was sceptical as I wondered what he (the parent ) was getting form it, but accepted what DH said on face value. I duly wrote a letter based on scribbled notes DH received from this solicitor parent.

When I bumped into said parent I thanked him for helping and he looked surprised and said – oh no, I’m not taking on free advice & assistance, I just said I will have a look at the letter (and any reply DH gets) and advise him if he has a case.

Massive shock for me as I realise DH is up to his old tricks of (a) conning me and (b) expecting something for nothing – I.e. Refusing to pay for proper legal advice. I talked to DH and said I don not want to be responsible for writing his letters.

He promised me he would get an appt with a solicitor and hand the whole thing over to them to take the stress and worry away from me. He duly told me he had an appt. However….. This turned out to be a free family law surgery organised by his union, and he has now come back to me saying that I need to write a letter for him based on what they told him at this free clinic. He claimed they said it would cost £500 if they wrote the letter.

I was so angry. I re-iterated he needs to get his own legal advice and I can’t be writing letters for him. He has money he could use for this, why not use it, or at least give me something for writing the letters (this will be the 3rd I have written for him based on cheap scribbled notes). He then had the cheek to tell me that I was going to New York in January – as if it was some kind of treat he had paid for – when in fact I am funding myself from my savings.

I feel so frustrated he is trying to do the whole thing 'on the cheap', using me and my writing skills - although I know nothing about the subject matter or his legal rights and I have repeatedly told him I don’t want to do it.

I am at a loss as to how to proceed. He is completely inarticulate and unable to convey information on his own in written form.

If I leave him to muddle his own way through it will be a car crash, and potentially impact our family finances if his ex wife gets more than she might if he got proper advice. On the other hand I really don’t want to get involved as writing these letters causes he huge stress and anxiety.

Sorry for long post.

WWYD?

SpotTheDuck Fri 25-Nov-16 09:31:11

Um. I'd always help my DH out with that kind of task, and would expect him to do the same.

I'm not sure I understand the issue? Is it that you're anxious about getting these letters wrong somehow? You won't be liable in any way for that, you're not holding yourself out to be a lawyer you're just helping your DH to articulate what he is telling you he wants to say.

What's bothering you about this?

honeylulu Fri 25-Nov-16 09:33:06

He has money he could use for this, why not use it, or at least give me something for writing the letters

You want your husband to pay you for helping him write a letter???

You can just say no, write your own letter if you want to.

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 25-Nov-16 09:33:21

YANBU. He needs to ensure he seeks professional legal advice. I would leave him to it. Just make sure you have your finances in order.

Gazelda Fri 25-Nov-16 09:34:12

Refuse to write them, not even if he pays you.

Because you're good at boning a chicken, would he let you do root canal treatment on him? Or because you've watched 'snakes on a plane' 17 times, would he confidently get in an aircraft piloted by you?

He should pay for expertise.

Momentumista Fri 25-Nov-16 09:36:02

What is bothering me is his refusal to get proper legal advice!

I don't know what his rights are.

If the situation was reversed. I wouldn't dream of asking him to write letters for me containing legal matters - I would pay for my own legal advice.

Inthenick Fri 25-Nov-16 09:37:15

God, how embarrassing. I can't believe he asked ds's friends dad to do stuff for him.

My DH is a barrister and you would not believe the requests he gets from friends and family, not to mention total strangers.

Momentumista Fri 25-Nov-16 09:37:44

Gazelda - exactly.

I should add that DH and I have our own 'issues'.

I can in one sense totally sympathise with his ex wife.

Momentumista Fri 25-Nov-16 09:39:04

Inthenick - I know; I cringed.

How could DH even expect someone to do something of that expertise for nothing??! He is a prat of the highest order.

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 25-Nov-16 09:39:19

A lot of people try to do stuff on the cheap but if he doesn't protect himself with a qualified solicitor giving advice it could cost him so much more in the long run. Can you say that to him?

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 25-Nov-16 09:40:34

Oh dear - sounds like the letters are the tip of the iceberg. Do you have separate finances or joint?

AndNowItsSeven Fri 25-Nov-16 09:41:00

You want your husband to pay you for your services? You know that's not normal yes?

PaulDacresConscience Fri 25-Nov-16 09:42:02

Read this and am unsurprised you're having other issues with him. He's lying to you, putting pressure on you to do something that you've told him you're not comfortable with nor qualified to do, tight with money and generally behaving like a twat.

Perhaps his EW has the right idea by not being in a relationship with him anymore?

PaulDacresConscience Fri 25-Nov-16 09:43:11

Seven - OP isn't legally qualified. She's not asking for payment; she's asking him to stop pressuring her to write his legal letters to his Ex and hand it over to a solicitor instead.

timelytess Fri 25-Nov-16 09:44:00

Honestly, OP? Review the whole relationship and ditch him. He doesn't sound nice. He cons you in this, so in what else? He's a cheapskate in this, so in what else? He shows you up by asking acquaintances for freebies. While you're writing letters he can pretend to his ex that it is all down to you.
No. Don't like him. Find a better one.

Momentumista Fri 25-Nov-16 09:44:04

ShowmePotato - I have said just that over and over... it just doesn't seem to be sinking in.

I have tried to explain how the outlay now will reap dividends longer term (quite apart from me not being stressed) - but he's just not listening.

He is also the most tight fisted and ... gullible? kind of character that I have ever met. He honestly though the parent would give him free legal advice ! - any sane person would think - hang on - what are they getting from this (=nothing).

PaulDacresConscience Fri 25-Nov-16 09:45:19

Lovey, do you think that perhaps there are bigger issues here? Are you happy with the relationship? From what you have said so far it doesn't sound like a very balanced partnership.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Fri 25-Nov-16 09:46:32

Have they been to mediation yet? Suggest he writes a brief letter saying he will discuss matters at the mediation with a view to reaching agreement there

The mediation agreement can't be signed off until both parties get independent legal advice so that will force the issue then and also act as a control in that the solicitor will advise him if he's agreed a decent deal or not. The mediator will explain all this and he is more likely to listen to them.

I'm a solicitor and help DH out a lot with letter writing etc. It's a pain, but in a mutually helpful relationship, I would expect to do that. I ignore 99% of requests from people to give specific legal advice on the basis that (a) it's not my area, (b) there's very rarely a "simple" legal question and I would need to look at the papers etc and (c) I'm not insured to give ad hoc advice to individuals in person.

NB - basic general advice on internet is OK

expatinscotland Fri 25-Nov-16 09:46:50

I'm not surprised his ex split with him. He's not gullible. He's a cheap fucker trying to scam something for nothing.

Momentumista Fri 25-Nov-16 09:46:55

PaulDacre - thank you. I suspect she did indeed have the right idea.

There is a backstory here which I ca't go into though as I will risk being identified in RL which meant how I ended up with him was something I had to do against my better judgement. Let's just say I knew I was entering an imperfect relationship and was pragmatic about that fact.

Momentumista Fri 25-Nov-16 09:48:12

expat - I agree, and intend to use those very words which pithily sum up my thoughts very well.

honeylulu Fri 25-Nov-16 09:48:19

In that case, refuse. He can either pay for advice or write them himself. You may be good at drafting but it didn't make the letter more "legal" if you're not qualified. If you're feeling generous you could offer to proofread for spelling mistakes etc.

He sounds rather entitled though. I'm annoyed on the school parent's behalf that he badgered for free advice/drafting.I'm a solicitor and people this to me regularly. I used to have to explain that my professional indemnity insurance doesn't cover me for any advice given outside my employment. Also I practice a niche area of the law and don't have much clue about divorce or conveyancing (which I get asked about most). When I was younger I'd try and help by staying late at work to research stuff for people in the law library which was usually just taken for granted. People assume if you're a lawyer you can instantly rattle off a letter on any legal subject in 5 mins (alas not so). Now I'm older and more assertive I just say no. Ain't nobody got time for freeloaders!

Sorry for derailing with that rant.

Momentumista Fri 25-Nov-16 09:50:36

Oh, and 'Andnowitsseven;' - can I just point out that I am not 'expecting to be paid for my services' (I have no services worth paying for anyway) - I just made a throwaway comment to him that is he has this money he is refusing to use for legal advice then why not show me some of it!

honeylulu Fri 25-Nov-16 09:51:24

Gobbolino snap!

PaulDacresConscience Fri 25-Nov-16 09:51:29

OK. Do you have options?

If you want to stay in the relationship can you start to try and re-draw the boundaries so that this is more balanced? Would counselling help?

If you are unhappy and don't want to stay in the relationship (and I really wouldn't blame you because he sounds like a miserable fucker TBH), can you leave or start making plans to detach?

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