Pro Bono Divorce Lawyers in North Carolina

Court Rules in Divorce Pro Bono Case  February 12, 2015 – 08:53 pm
Raleigh Family Lawyer | Gailor Hunt Jenkins Davis & Taylor | North

Carolina Journal News Reports

Spouse not entitled to compensation if lawyer did work at no charge

Dec. 6th, 2006

RALEIGH North Carolina law allows dependent spouses in divorce cases to seek compensation for their legal expenses, but does that extend to the lawyers who agree to help a divorcing spouse free of charge? The answer, according to the N.C. Supreme Court, in a decision handed down last month, is no.

Donald and Carrie Patronelli were wed in 1997. In 2001, they separated and later divorced. Mrs. Patronelli was awarded primary custody of the couples child, child support, postseparation support, and alimony.

North Carolina General Statue 50-16.4 also allows for a judge to award lawyers fees: At any time that a dependent spouse would be entitled to alimony pursuant to G.S. 50-16.3A, or postseparation support pursuant to G.S. 50-16.2A, the court may, upon application of such spouse, enter an order for reasonable counsel fees for the benefit of such spouse, to be paid and secured by the supporting spouse in the same manner as alimony.

Judge Anne B. Salisbury denied Mrs. Patronellis request for lawyers fees, however, finding that the spouse hadnt actually incurred legal fees because her lawyer was representing her pro bono, meaning services provided for the public good, usually without charge. The American Bar Association recommends each lawyer perform 50 hours of pro bono work each year, with the majority being without fee or expectation of fee.

Carrie Patronellis lawyer appealed the ruling, which eventually came before the N.C. Supreme Court. Both the North Carolina Bar Association and a variety of legal aid organizations filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the case.

Before the high court, five of the seven justices voted to uphold the lower court decision on Nov. 17.

We do not decide, as did the Court of Appeals and the trial court, whether a dependent spouse must incur counsel fees before an award would be proper, because in this case we are unpersuaded that any fees ordered would have been for the benefit of defendant, Justice Edward Brady wrote for the high court.

The logic behind the majoritys reasoning was simple enough: Because Mrs. Patronelli didnt actually owe her lawyer anything, the award would not be for her benefit. In addition, the case was almost over, so there was little, if any, additional litigation that the fees would help finance.


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Second Opinion Divorce Pro Bono?

I have a half filed case in the city. I stopped because I had a lawyer who did not secure my money while claiming he can do my case .The x lives in FL. He left me in 95 .He married someone without divorcing me. I was told we were divorced. Ignorant as I am I waited for a decree but when husband #2 came into the picture the notary who married us said it isn't important to prove I am divorced she took me on my word. I thought I was divorced. He since then ,husband # 1 has a child and divided his property between him and his fake second wife. I am told to walk away from this and start new because I wont get alimony

Seeking Pro Bono for Divorce

I was told to report this today . In 1993 I got married in N.C. we moved to FL soon after. Then in 1995 my husband told me he was having an affair with a woman every day at lunch. He then left me and told me that he moved to N.C. with his parents.I waited for a divorce decree but never got one in the mail.I called his parents and got the run around they refused letting me talk to him.Time had gone by and I did re-marry. Later through discovery,looking at clerk records online documents my husband signed for a builder in 1999.Then a document with a womans name after the home was built.I assumed a relative

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